The University of Maryland recently signed a $65-million contract with Montgomery County to build a new biotech campus in North Bethesda. Named The University of Maryland 3 – Institute of Health Computing, the new facility will add fuel to the already flourishing life sciences industry in the region. According to the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, there are over 3,000 biotech companies (and still growing) and its economic activity is estimated at around 17 billion dollars.
With the new campus, UMD will deepen the talent pool, making it easier for companies to recruit locally. Also, the new facility will be surrounded by a variety of renowned health organizations such as the National Institute of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Naval Medical Research Center. The close proximity will allow faster and easier communications and collaborations between UMD and organizations/companies as well.
Why Dozens of Biotech Companies are Headed to Montgomery County, MD
As part of Biohealth Capital Region, Maryland has ranked 4th in the nation in Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN)’s annual list of Top 10 U.S. Biopharma Clusters since 2015. For biotech companies to set up headquarters or expand their footprints, Maryland is the place to be. The rapid rise in entrepreneurs and innovators in the life sciences industry led Maryland to open its door to an endless network of professional service incubators and accelerator facilities and help young companies grow.
Three major locations with a high biotech company presence in Maryland are Frederick County, Montgomery County, and Baltimore City. Not only are these top-tier locations filled with highly-educated people and industry-leading companies, but they also have a well-established transportation infrastructure. Surrounded by three major international airports and one of the largest rapidly growing transit systems, Maryland provides companies with a secure home to grow and expand their businesses. And in return, these biotech hubs provide Maryland with an abundance of resources and a diverse culture.
Recently, Montgomery County has been outstandingly attractive to biotech firms in its I-270 corridor. Novavax will soon complete expansions to its campus that started in November 2020. Horizon Therapeutics leased 192,000 SF at Traville Gateway in Rockville which will be completed in 2024, and the only industrial development in the pipeline is a 495,000 SF set of bio-manufacturing buildings in Gaithersburg. These are set to deliver in the first half of 2023. Montgomery County is stable and growing with a diverse population and economy.
Affordable Rent in Maryland also Makes it a One-of-a-Kind Location
Compared to other states with large biotech and life science markets, Maryland offers more affordable space. In comparison to Boston R&D flex space, Suburban Maryland offers space at a 5% discount. Rents for R&D space in San Francisco are almost 45% more expensive. While Raleigh, NC, home of the Research Triangle, has more affordable rents, it does not have the federal agencies that have attracted talent and businesses to Maryland. Maryland is a relative bargain for biotech companies expanding in the U.S. in search of a highly educated workforce and synergies with regulatory organizations.