Scientists and entrepreneurs rejoice! Construction is underway for Northern Virginia’s first 30,000 square-foot commercial wet lab space. The facility will soon to be home to companies looking to enter the region’s vibrant bioeconomy.
“By bringing the Northern Virginia Bioscience Center to Innovation Park we are really setting up the next progressive stage for expansion and collaboration,” said Christina Winn, Executive Director, Prince William County Department of Economic Development. “Business owners need access to new ideas, new people and new technology, and George Mason University (GMU) provides that access.”
The center is anchored next to GMU’s Science and Technology campus, the Prince William Science Accelerator, and a cluster of biotech companies, like Serpin Pharma and Ceres Nanosciences. It is one of many investments the county has made to support the areas growing life science community.
“For more than twenty years Prince William County has strategically invested in the bioscience industry,” Winn said. “We expanded on that foundation ten years ago with the Science Accelerator, which fosters growth for life science startups. We also work with life science clusters across the state creating the newly funded program, Viriginia Bio-Connect, a multifaceted collaboration to increase connectivity and awareness of existing programs, resources, infrastructure and communities that support the Commonwealth’s life science industry.”
Through state and county funding, the center secured more than 1.2 million in grants and credits. Holladay Properties, who is leading the design, build and management of the facility, invested $15 million.
“Wet labs are extremely expensive to build,” said Austin Haynes, Sr. Vice President of Development, Holladay Properties. “That is one of the reasons why you don’t see many privately owned research facilities in the area.”
The center will offer companies Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2) laboratories, designed to handle research in pharmaceutical deliveries, immunotherapy, cancer-causing agents and more. The Class A facility will feature 15 labs, all furnished with cutting-edge equipment and collaborative work space.
“It is really designed to promote cooperation in research between the university, researchers, private industry as well as government facilities,” said Haynes.
Prince William County is offering financial incentives for companies looking to relocate to the area and Science Accelerators that are graduating into the facility.
“The Ignite Program offers grants to new and startup companies including research facilities,” said Haynes. “The state of Virginia offers GO Virginia grants as well as other incentives through their economic development department.”
Open-door tours will be available in September and construction is scheduled to be completed by early 2022.
“As we grapple with recovery, the bioscience industry and our life science companies are an anchor to our economy,” said Winn. “We want those companies and the talent they attract to stay here.”
Prince William County offers an affordable lifestyle and a business-friendly environment in close proximity to the nation’s capital, where waterfronts and forests give residents and businesses room to breathe.