The growing biotech sector in Montgomery County, Maryland, will be getting bigger: Novavax on Thursday celebrated what will be an enormous new headquarters complex in Gaithersburg.
The vaccine developer plans to eventually research and manufacture vaccines at its new complex just west of I-270. The Gaithersburg City Council approved a sketch plan for the facility on Monday.
“This is just an incredible company that we’re very proud of,” said Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who was on hand for the festivities.
“Novavax is just a shining example of innovation in the middle of a global crisis, that they’re focused on something that everybody in the world needs, and that they’ve had such success. I’m just very thrilled that they’re a Maryland company and they chose to stay here in Maryland and Montgomery County.”
Novavax is focused solely on vaccines, and it’s hinting at strong results from the third phase of a clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine.
The company’s growth has been quick: A year ago, there were about 100 people working in Montgomery County, and CEO Stan Erck said Thursday that number will be much higher by the end of 2021.
“We’re not stopping,” Erck said. “We hire new people every single week.”
He’s anticipating 700 to 800 people will be working in Gaithersburg in the months to come, with hundreds more working at facilities in Europe.
“It’s impossible to tell how big it will become,” he added. “We’re not even counting building a whole commercial team.”
“Our setting is world class,” said Greg Glenn, who heads research and development for Novavax. “It’s a really great setting for us to be here in Maryland.”
“Our long term outlook is to contribute to public health and vaccines,” he added. “Keep in mind that our partnership will save many lives, not only around the U.S., but around the globe, and that’s what we celebrate today.”
Novavax also announced that Robert Redfield, the former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director who has also been advising Hogan, is working with the company in an advisory role.
“We’re building the headquarters of what will be I think one of the great, great vaccine companies not only of our nation, but the world,” said Redfield. “The vaccine that’s being developed here is going to be one of the most important vaccines in our global fight against COVID-19.”