Montgomery County biotechs received nearly $8B in research funding in 2020

GlaxoSmithKline, a multinational company with offices in Montgomery County, is among the companies that received funding for coronavirus research. (Photo by FRANCOIS LO PRESTI/AFP via Getty Images)

COVID-19 vaccine research drove a lot of funding to biotechnology companies in Maryland’s Montgomery County last year, but it didn’t all come from coronavirus research.

Life sciences companies based in, or with a presence in, Maryland’s largest county received nearly $7.7 billion in research and development funding from the federal government, private investors and nonprofit organizations in 2020, according to the Montgomery County Economic Development Corp., a public/private partnership aimed at helping private companies connect with funding, permits and other resources.

The largest chunk of that money — $2.2 billion — went to Gaithersburg-based Novavax Inc.

GlaxoSmithKline in Rockville received $2.1 million, while AstraZeneca and Emergent BioSolutions, both in Gaithersburg, received $1.2 million and $1 million, respectively.

All four companies received federal Operation Warp Speed funding for COVID-19 research.

Another $2 billion in equity and venture capital funding went to other Montgomery County life sciences companies for research and development last year, for everything from lupus to Parkinson’s disease to genetic disorders to rare diseases.

Biotechs in Montgomery County are developing a wide variety of vaccines and gene therapies. They range in size from early-stage, start-up companies to mid- and late-stage biopharmaceutical firms.

Tom Hucker, president of the Montgomery County Council, said the growth “highlights our position as a global life sciences hub and shows why companies are looking to expand their operations in Montgomery County. There is real value in locating here next to the nation’s capital, with nearby access to 18 federal agency headquarters, three major airports and the nation-leading diversity that characterizes our county.”

Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, which includes Montgomery County, leads the nation in the proportion of sciences and engineering jobs to the total workforce.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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