The University of Maryland BioPark announced July 29 the BioPark’s BioInnovation Center (BIC), which provides pre-built wet lab and office space for emerging companies, is at full capacity and plans to double the space are now under way.
Two existing companies within the BIC are expanding their space and two others have recently signed leases.
Gliknik, the first company to locate in the BIC in 2008 and a spinoff of the University of Maryland, will more than double its initial space with the addition of a fourth lab module.
“We’ve been able to expand based on the great progress that we’ve made in developing drug candidates and the confidence that our investors have shown in us,” said David Block, Gliknik CEO. “The additional space will allow us to do more collaborative work with pharmaceutical partners.”
The BioPark and Wexford Science and Technology, the developer of the 801 W. Baltimore St. building, created the BioInnovation Center in 2007 in response to the lack of laboratory space for the earliest stage life science companies in Baltimore. A $1 million no-interest loan from the Maryland Technology Development Corporation facilitated the build-out of the space. The “missing link” needed to effectively retain and grow the life science cluster in Baltimore was created.
Fyodor Biotechnologies, a Johns Hopkins University spinoff that located in the BioPark at the beginning of the year, is now adding a second lab module.
“We are part of the great story of Maryland investment in small biotech,” said Eddy Agbo, DVM, PhD, Fyodor CEO.
The BioInnovation Center is also a place for companies looking for research or office space to support their development goals.
Washington, D.C.-based InstantLabs Medical Diagnostic Corp. established a research lab in the BIC in April. Most recently, Rockville-based Amplimmune, which is also a Hopkins spinoff, signed a short-term lease in June for an office. Also in 2010, PharmaJet, based in Colorado, established a sales and marketing office in the BIC.
“PharmaJet, Inc. considered many aspects of local, business, and medical support networks as it studied the location for its East Coast operational office,” said Phil Vorwald, vice president for commercial operations. “Upon review of many Virginia and Maryland counties, PharmaJet selected the City of Baltimore and the University of Maryland BioPark in particular as the ideal location to expand their national presence. Beyond infrastructure needs that the BioPark easily met with its new facilities, the combination of the University of Maryland medical campus, the high-quality bioscience clients within the BioPark and the opportunity for cross- fertilization of bioscience ideas, talent, and engineering in the immediate local area swayed the choice for PharmaJet. All of these aspects are directly supported by the concept of the BioInnovation Center itself, being an area within the BioPark to nurture these activities.”
Next generation expansion space is now needed to graduate those companies that have benefited from the state biotech incentives, hired additional employees, and need a larger footprint. These companies, though, are still not at the stage in their development where they can commit scarce financial resources to the expensive build-out of custom space or sign a long-term lease.
The BioInnovation Center will be doubling in size over the next six months to 18,000 square feet to meet the needs of small, but growing companies. Wexford Science and Technology will be investing more than $1.5 million to create the next generation larger lab modules making it the ideal space for companies at various stages of early development to participate in the growing life science cluster in Baltimore. This natural turnover of the smallest lab spaces will make room for more early-stage University spinoffs and thereby expand the cluster in Baltimore.
The University of Maryland BioPark is home to a growing community of translational research centers, venture-backed life science startups, contract research organizations, and focused educational programs. The 10-acre research park will include 1.8 million square feet of wet lab and office space, parking garages, and landscaped parks at final build-out.