“Everything it takes to turn cell culture into a business, the history of it all, has its roots here in Maryland,” Rowley said. “Those historical businesses built a culture, a knowledgebase, and a talent pool that is unprecedented elsewhere.”
Rowley pointed to companies like Life Technologies (now Thermo), Cambrex (now Lonza), MedImmune (now AstraZeneca), Paragon (now Catalent) and Human Genome Sciences (now GSK) that built the community. Recently, companies such as Kite Pharma, a Gilead Sciences Company, and Autolos Therapeutics established homes in Maryland because of that established cell culture technology cluster.
Not only does history begat business growth, it has also brought a deep pool of talent to the area. Not only are educated and experienced employees moving to the state to take advantage of available jobs in the private sector, Rowley pointed to the number of seasoned scientists who work for federal institutions like the National Institutes of Health. There is also a strong university system in the state that is producing qualified employees and active in workforce development initiatives.
“There are lots of places to find talent that can help drive business here,” he said.
Government support in the form of incentives has also helped expand biomanufacturing in the state, as has the number of public/private partnerships like TEDCO. Rowley also noted the strong entrepreneurial community and thriving incubator network that have shored up the foundation of the state’s life sciences ecosystem.
Strong logistical supply chain components are also available, including a rail system, the Port of Baltimore and multiple airports that make product transportation easily accessible.
Unlike other biomanufacturing hubs, there is still room to grow in Maryland. There is ample space for new builds.
“All of these, they’re additive and multiplicative. Having so many good pieces for our ecosystem is really important,” he said. “This ecosystem has everything you need.”
On top of all the building blocks that form the foundation of Maryland’s ecosystem, Rowley also noted the state is a wonderful place to call home.
“It’s a great place to live. The quality of life here is tremendous,” he said.