Showing posts with label biotech. Show all posts
Showing posts with label biotech. Show all posts

Monday, May 13, 2024

Emergent BioSolutions to lay off employees, shutter Rockville facility

Emergent BioSolutions
of Gaithersburg will lay off 154 workers, and shutter its Rockville manufacturing facility, the company announced as part of a restructuring. It will also eliminate some vacant positions, in an attempt to save $80 million. The biotech firm will scale back its goals to focus on its core businesses: medical countermeasures and NARCAN Nasal Spray. 

"Decisions like these are never easy as they have real impact on many of our dedicated colleagues," Emergent CEO Joe Papa said in a statement. "We are committed to providing resources to those affected as they transition to new opportunities." Emergent will concentrate its operations at sites in Winnipeg, Canada, and Lansing, Michigan.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Maryland Governor Wes Moore visits AstraZeneca lab in Montgomery County

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) traveled to Gaithersburg to visit the AstraZeneca laboratory, and to make a big announcement. AstraZeneca is one of the largest biotech employers in Montgomery County and Maryland, and is located in the I-270 life sciences corridor. Moore chose the location to announce a new partnership between the Maryland Tech Council's Biohub Maryland initiative and Ireland's National Institute of Bioprocessing Research and Training. Ireland is one of the fastest-growing pharmaceutical manufacturing countries in the world, and the agreement makes Biohub Maryland NIBRT's exclusive partner in the Washington, D.C. region.

Moore toured the complex, and greeted AstraZeneca employees and biotech leaders. At one point, the governor donned a white lab coat and safety glasses to enter an actual laboratory in the facility. “Today, we’re not just here to celebrate this new BioHub partnership. We’re here to celebrate a new direction for Maryland’s economy and workforce,” Moore said. “We are ready to win. We are ready to grow and we are ready to show the entire country what we’re made of.”

Photos courtesy Maryland Governor's office

Monday, October 16, 2023

Prime redevelopment site on the auction block in Rockville Town Center

A property with one of the most-desirable and high-traffic locations in Rockville Town Center will be auctioned off in 28 days. 255 Rockville Pike is currently improved with a three-story office building and heavily-used parking garage. While that would provide a steady income for the winning bidder, the site is also directly across from - and connected to via skybridge - the Rockville Metro station. That means the property is also eligible for a transit-oriented redevelopment at much greater height and density than the current structure.

255 Rockville Pike was once part of the now-demolished Rockville Mall. In recent decades, it was home to Montgomery County government offices. Now that those have been moved to the County's new government building in Wheaton, the vacant building is being put on the auction block. This puts a transit-oriented site on the heavily-traveled MD 355 highway corridor into play on the City of Rockville's economic growth chessboard. The Metro station across the street is not only served by WMATA's Red Line subway trains, but also Maryland's MARC commuter rail, and Amtrak's Washington D.C. to Chicago route trains.

Transwestern, which is marketing the Ten-X Commercial auction, notes that the current building's 12-foot ceilings would also make it a prime candidate for conversion to a biotech facility. It could also be redeveloped as a high-visibility corporate headquarters. Of course, as Montgomery County hasn't attracted a major corporate headquarters in a quarter century, there is also the very real probability of the site being redeveloped as a mixed-use residential tower. Some have long touted the need for more residents in the Town Center, to support the businesses in that struggling area, which the latter use would provide, although others have pointed to parking issues as the primary culprit for the area's empty storefronts.

The City of Rockville's 2040 Comprehensive master plan anticipates that 255 Rockville Pike will indeed be demolished and redeveloped. "It is recommended that the City take an active role in the
redevelopment of this area as a prominent site in Rockville’s downtown," the plan states regarding 255 Rockville Pike. "Redevelopment of this property should contribute to the realization of the Town Center downtown L-shaped ‘spine,’ and incorporate an expanded pedestrian promenade over MD-355 to the Rockville Transit Station."

Such recommendations suggest that the City, which is about to elect a new mayor and City Council, will be heavily engaged in any redevelopment of this property. While this could add to the complexity of building something new here, it's also likely that the new property owner could wrangle some benefits or concessions from the City if it presents a project with the amenities and potential to improve the Town Center/Metro station area's environment, business climate, and pedestrian safety. With such a rare opportunity for new construction at the Rockville Metro station, there should be no shortage of bidders. As the auction listing notes, the site's PD-RCI zoning allows for high-rise construction, but also the most Metro-accessible location for a biotech facility in the I-270 life sciences corridor.

Photos courtesy Transwestern

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Emergent BioSolutions to cut jobs at Rockville production facility

Gaithersburg biotech firm Emergent BioSolutions announced this morning that it will lay off 400 employees as part of a restructuring effort to strengthen the company's financial position. Some of the job cuts will be from the firm's Rockville drug production facility, Emergent said in a press release. The company said it will cut back on the services side of its business to focus on its core products, such as medical countermeasures and NARCAN nasal spray. 

“The actions we are taking will further strengthen our core products business and financial foundation,” Emergent interim Chief Executive Officer Haywood Miller said in a statement this morning. “This will better align Emergent’s businesses with a focus on our core products and delivering for the needs of our customers. It will provide us with flexibility to respond to future customer demand while responsibly maintaining manufacturing infrastructure deemed critical to respond to public health threats.”

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Rockville Planning Commission to review site plan for new biotech development along I-270

There's a rare bit of good news on the high-wage employment front in Montgomery County, and not surprisingly, it's coming to us once again from the biotech sector of the economy. 2 Research Place, LLC (a shell company that appears to be an entity of Soltesz) has proposed a seven-story life sciences building for 2 Research Place in Rockville, along I-270. The development would include a six-story above-ground parking garage with 400 parking spaces, and a park. An existing office building and parking lot on the 2.82-acre property would be demolished.

Existing site as seen from I-270

The office building will be placed on the side of the property that fronts I-270, to take advantage of the visibility to the 250,000 cars that pass by the site on the interstate each day. This prominent vista will  "promote Rockville as the center for life science uses," the applicant's attorney, Pat Harris, writes in a letter to planning staff.  The building is being designed as a state-of-the-art research office building, with floorplates and ceiling heights scaled to the ideal measurements for laboratory uses as much as office use. 

I-270 is also figuring prominently in the office building's design. Its long facade facing the highway will be "sheathed in an iconic, high-performance glass and metal façade system with variable panel shapes and spacings that amplify the feeling of movement, making a strong connection to the high-speed passersby," Harris writes. Alas, there are no high-quality renderings of the proposed architectural design available as of this writing, only the totally-uninspiring placeholder diagrams shown here.

Proposed site plan

The applicant is going above-and-beyond on several fronts. 100 more parking spaces than the 300 required by the City will be provided in the garage. And the development would include 12,267 square feet of public use space, essentially double the amount required by the City for a project of this size and use.

Office building rear with lobby entrance at left,
and loading docks at right

Side view of office building

The other side view

A centrally-placed large, central lawn will provide a park-like setting with seating. It will be placed in front of the rear of the office building and the parking garage. Auto traffic will circulate around it between the office, garage and main driveway access. A separate patio space with landscaping is also proposed for an area between the office building and the garage. The applicant is proposing a 4' sidewalk to connect the office building with Research Place, but is seeking a waiver to allow the sidewalk to be a foot narrower than the 5' required by the City.

Parking garage

The applicant is seeking a second waiver regarding the rooftop of the office building. Due to the specialized equipment required for life science research uses, the applicant is seeking permission to have more of the roof area dedicated to such equipment, and for the setback from the roof edge to be less than required under current City code. A 19'-high screen is proposed to hide the equipment from view.

Planning staff are recommending approval of the Site Plan, with conditions. The Rockville Planning Commission will review the plan at its meeting tonight, June 28, 2023 at 7:00 PM.

Monday, June 5, 2023

Rockville biotech clinical advisor receives highest honor from American Society of Clinical Oncology

Dr. Hagop M. Kantarjian, a member of the Clinical Advisory Board of Rockville biotech firm Ascentage Pharma, has received the highest honor bestowed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). The organization presented Kantarjian the David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award "for his lifelong contributions to leukemia clinical research and his dedication to improving the lives of patients" at its annual meeting, which is taking place through tomorrow in Chicago. Those who have received the Karnofsky award since its inception in 1970 have been oncologists who made outstanding contributions to cancer research, diagnosis, or treatment.

"Dr. Kantarjian has dedicated his life to saving and enhancing the lives of patients with leukemia, renewing hope to millions of patients with unmet medical needs," Ascentage Pharma Chairman Dajun Yang, MD, PhD said in a statement this morning. "For decades, he has been at the forefront of the oncology community's efforts to end cancer. We are privileged that Dr. Kantarjian has chosen to share his wise counsel with our organization while serving with honor and distinction on the Ascentage Pharma Clinical Advisory Board."

Ascentage Pharma was founded in 2009 in Suzhou, China. Its American office is in Three Irvington Centre, at 700 King Farm Boulevard in Rockville. 

Friday, February 24, 2023

Rockville biotech firm to expand with new lab space in Gaithersburg

Rockville-based Shuttle Pharmaceuticals will expand its footprint within Montgomery County this summer. The company announced yesterday that it is leasing additional laboratory and office space at an unspecified property in Gaithersburg. Shuttle Pharmaceuticals was founded by faculty members of Georgetown University Medical Center in 2012, and specializes in improving radiation therapy treatments for cancer, while attempting to reduce their side effects. Among the therapies in development at Shuttle is Ropidoxuridine, its lead clinical sensitizer drug candidate.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Rockville biotech firm Immunocore wins Prix Galien France award

, a biotech firm located at 2273 Research Boulevard in Rockville, has won a prestigious Prix Galien France award. It received the honor for its breakthrough therapeutic, KIMMTRAK, the world's first T cell receptor therapy. Immunocore took home that award in the "Medicine in Innovative Therapeutics" category. KIMMTRAK is the only therapy approved for the treatment of unresectable or metastatic uveal melanoma, and the first bispecific T cell engager to receive regulatory approval to treat a solid tumor.

“We are honored to receive this prestigious award, which is a reflection of the impact of this novel treatment for patients and the innovative technology behind it,” Immunocore CEO Bahija Jallal said in a statement. “This award is also a tribute to the teams at Immunocore who have taken KIMMTRAK from bench to bedside, and those working on our future therapies that could benefit more patients living with cancer, as well as infectious diseases and autoimmune conditions.” KIMMTRAK received FDA approval this past January. Immunocore's press release notes that the Prix Galien France awards are considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in the biopharmaceutical research field.

Photo courtesy Immunocore

Friday, October 7, 2022

Rockville office building owner seeks height exemption for rooftop biotech equipment

Here is some good news from the King Farm area of Rockville. Instead of yet another request to convert office zoning to residential use, an office building landlord is seeking a waiver from the City of Rockville that could instead increase the number of high-wage jobs in King Farm. Banyan Street Capital has requested a height waiver for its existing office building at 805 King Farm Boulevard. It is seeking the waiver to allow additional rooftop equipment for a biotech tenant's needs, and a higher rooftop screen wall to block that equipment from view for aesthetic reasons.

In a letter to the Rockville Planning Commission, Banyan Street's attorney, Pat Harris, says that the waiver and new rooftop equipment are "vital to the Applicant’s intended research and development (“R&D”) uses within the building, and the expansion of life science uses in the greater King Farm community." She adds that the new 12' Envel-paneled rooftop screen wall will be designed to closely match the exterior skin of the office building.

Banyan Street Capital completed its acquisition of four office properties in the King Farm employment zone earlier this year. It is making upgrades and amenity enhancements at all of those properties, in what it has branded as The District at King Farm. In addition to the rooftop equipment, Banyan Street says it will be opening a new cafe in the 805 King Farm Boulevard building.

The Planning Commission will consider the waiver request at its October 26, 2022 meeting. It is likely to approve the request, as it voted to allow a similar exemption for sister building 800 King Farm Boulevard in November 2021. A potentially great opportunity for more King Farm residents to be able to walk to high-paying jobs, which was one of the original visions for the community.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Maryland Gov. Hogan announces Korean firm UNDBIO to establish R&D lab in Rockville

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan meeting with
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol in Seoul 

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced more positive economic developments for his state from his economic development trip to Asia today. Rockville is one of the winners in Hogan's outreach, as the governor reported that South Korean biotech firm UNDBIO has agreed to establish a 25,000 square foot research and development facility here. Twinlabs, a Rockville real estate firm that specializes in life sciences, reached a lease agreement with UNDBIO, who have committed $100,000,000 to the project.

UNDBIO anticipates the new facility will develop and manufacture insulin samples for FDA approval. These approved products will then enter the pharmaceutical market. The company possesses unique proprietary insulin production technology, which will be employed in the Rockville venture.

"Maryland is proud to be home to hundreds of life sciences companies that set the bar for biotechnology innovation and fuel our region’s innovative economy, and we are excited to welcome the life-saving work of UNDBIO to Rockville,” Hogan said in a statement this afternoon. “This is yet another shining example that Maryland is open for business and further evidence of our state’s special bond with the Republic of Korea.”

“I am happy to establish our relationship with the State of Maryland to undertake the research and development required to produce affordable insulin and insulin analogues for the diabetic population around the globe,” UNDBIO’s Chairman Jun Yong-soo said. “We look forward to developing high paying biotech jobs for Maryland, and would welcome other partners into our global insulin project.”

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Trammell Crow to develop The Labs at Belward life sciences center in Rockville

Developer Trammell Crow announced it plans to build a 757,000 square foot life sciences center on the former Belward Farm property in Rockville. The Labs at Belward will be on the Belward Campus of Johns Hopkins University, and initially include three buildings of trophy laboratory and research space. Future additions will expand that to 1.6 million square feet across seven buildings.

Trammell Crow said it expects to break ground on the project in June of 2023. An early 2025 delivery is anticipated. 

On the professional scientific side, the project facilities will support BSL Category-2 laboratory functions, and have 18-foot deck-to-deck ceiling heights on both the basement and ground floors, with 16-foot heights on all other floors. There will be outdoor terraces and balconies on each building, and a variety of amenities and "supporting retail" for tenants, Trammell Crow said in a press release.

For the public at large, there will be a six-acre public park with an amphitheater, recreational fields, two retail pavilions totaling approximately 6,000 square feet, large wooded buffer areas, several miles of bike and walking trails, and an effort to preserve the site’s natural elements. Preservation of as much of the farmland as possible was the stated goal of the family who sold it to JHU, a decision that led to much controversy in the years after the sale over whether Elizabeth Beall Banks' wishes were being honored by the university.

“We eagerly await the realization of The Labs at Belward as an integral component of the overall vision for the Belward Camus of The Johns Hopkins University,” Mitch Bonanno, Chief Real Estate Officer for The Johns Hopkins University and Medicine Mitch Bonnano said in a statement. 

Trammell Crow officials are optimistic they can finally deliver a major piece of what had long been expected to be the core of the 2010 Great Seneca Science Corridor master plan. “The Labs at Belward is a first-of-its-kind innovation ecosystem within a campus environment akin to a collegiate setting,” Eric Fischer, Managing Director TCC’s MidAtlantic offices said in a statement. "Most importantly, we appreciate the opportunity to work in close alignment with both The Johns Hopkins University and with Montgomery County to activate this critically important site in a manner that advances the University’s and the County’s shared life sciences vision.”

Clark Construction will be the construction contractor for the project. Gensler is the architectural firm, and OJB will design the landscape architecture.

Rendering courtesy Gensler

Friday, April 29, 2022

Horizon Therapeutics-leased life sciences building under construction in Rockville (Photos)

A new 10-story, 200,000 square foot life sciences facility called Alexandria Center is now under construction at 9810 Darnestown Road in Rockville. Delivery of the building is expected in 2023. Horizon Therapeutics, an Irish biotech firm, has signed a full-building lease for the property. It plans to use the new space as its primary U.S. East Coast research & development and technical operations hub. Interior fit-out for Horizon will begin once the building is ready for occupancy next year. 

“I am thrilled that Horizon Therapeutics has decided to call Montgomery County home for their East Coast research and development hub,” Montgomery County Executive, Marc Elrich said in a statement released by Horizon. “The mission and work of Horizon make them a natural fit for Montgomery County, and we stand ready to make them feel welcome in Rockville. Horizon’s move to the county is another point to show that Montgomery County is the home for life sciences in the region, and we are excited to continue our work to bring more companies of Horizon’s caliber to the region.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Rockville biotech firms partner to advance biologic product development, manufacturing

Rockville-based Hibiscus BioVentures has partnered with Chinese firm Innoforce to enhance both companies' development of advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs), biologics derived from cells, tissue or genes. Innoforce, which is headquartered in Hangzhou but also has offices in Rockville, uses partnerships as a business model. It opened a new Advanced Cell and Gene Therapy Development Facility in Hangzhou last year, and will cut the ribbon on a new manufacturing facility there this summer.

Hibiscus focuses its efforts on identifying unmet needs of patients to develop novel therapies that are commercially viable. "We are excited to partner with Hibiscus, which brings a highly experienced team and unique model to develop new technolgoies that address important unmet medical needs," Innoforce CEO and co-founder Yuling Li Ph.D. said in a statement this morning. "The partnership will leverage our drug development experience with Hibiscus' pipeline initiatives in alignment with Innoforce's mission to enable global development of novel, advanced biotherapeutics." Hibiscus is located at 2277 Research Boulevard in Rockville.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Rockville biotech receives patent for tech that can identify patients at-risk of opioid addiction CEO Ajay Gupta

Rockville-based announced this morning that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a patent for the firm's novel use of geospatial tech, advanced AI models, and sets of social determinants of health data to identify patients at risk of opioid addiction. The technology also can identify patients at risk of having an overdose in the next 12 months. Overall, the purpose is to mitigate these negative outcomes before they happen, the company said. CEO Ajay Gupta said this morning that the issuing of the patent "is an acknowledgement of the uniqueness of our health-focused spatial data infrastructure." The now-patented tech can also be applied to pre-diabetic patients. Other areas of focus for the firm are reducing hospital readmissions, and assisting countries with pandemic response efforts.

Six additional patent applications are now before the USPTO, related to geospatial tech, data and AI models. Montgomery County's biotech sector continues to be the bright spot amid an otherwise-moribund county economy.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Rockville-based Supernus to acquire Adamas Pharmaceuticals

Rockville-based Supernus Pharmaceuticals announced Monday that it is acquiring Adamas Pharmaceuticals, adding to its portfolio of Parkinson's disease treatments. The deal will bring Adamas' GOCOVRI (amantadine) extended release capsules, the first and only U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drug for the treatment of both OFF and dyskinesia in patients with Parkinson’s disease who are receiving levodopa-based therapy; and Osmolex ER® (amantadine) extended release tablets, which is FDA-approved for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, and drug-induced extrapyramidal reactions in adults.

The deal is a financial win for Adamas stockholders, and will expand the revenue base and cash flow of Supernus. “This acquisition represents a significant step to further build a strong and diverse Parkinson’s disease portfolio, and aligns with our focus of acquiring value-enhancing, clinically-differentiated medicines to treat CNS diseases,” Jack Khattar, President and CEO of Supernus Pharmaceuticals said in a statement. “We have a proven track record of strong commercial execution, and look forward to building on GOCOVRI’s growth momentum so that more patients can benefit from access to Adamas’ innovative neurological therapies."

Once again, biotech - along with residential housing construction - remain the only bright spots in an otherwise moribund and stagnant Montgomery County economy. This is largely because the smart decisions that led to the growth of Montgomery's biotech sector were made before those who wrecked the County's economy took office in 2002, 2006 and 2010. Supernus is located at 9715 Key West Avenue in Rockville.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Inotiv to lease space in Rockville after acquiring Biolreliance genetic toxicology unit

, an Indiana-based non-clinical contract research organization, has acquired the genetic toxicology unit of MilliporeSigma’s BioReliance portfolio. While MilliporeSigma 's parent Merck is headquartered in Germany, it has a Bioreliance facility at 14920 Broschart Road in Rockville. As a result, Inotiv announced plans today to lease space in Rockville near that Bioreliance facility "to help boost its new buy," Fierce Biotech's Ben Adams reported this morning.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Pence visits U.S. Public Health Service headquarters in Rockville

Vice-President Mike Pence donned a mask to visit the headquarters of the U.S. Public Health Service in Rockville yesterday. He was joined by members of the Trump administration's Coronavirus Task Force, including U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir, M.D., U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, and Dr. Stephan Hahn of the Food and Drug Administration.

Pence said "it is a particular honor to be here at the headquarters of the United States Public Health Service," and thanked "the women and men who wear the blue uniforms across the country and have served our nation with such distinction and compassion over the past four months." He reported that 28 states currently have rising numbers of coronavirus cases or rising percentages of positive Covid-19 tests. 12 states have both, he added. And four states currently account for half of the total cases in America at the moment.

Admiral Giroir said that self-administered home nasal swab test kits will be the next leap in testing across the country. He predicted that up to 50 million tests will be available by September.

Hahn described himself as "cautiously optimistic" about the timetable for making a Covid-19 vaccine available to the public. Almost all of the speakers stressed the importance of wearing masks until such a vaccine is widely available. 

"If you want the return of college football this year, wear a face covering.  If you want a chance at prom next spring, wear a face covering," urged Dr. Adams, who couldn't resist playing to the home crowd in Rockville - at least to those who remember the pre-Big-10 days of local college basketball. "I had an interview earlier with a North Carolina radio station...if you want to see North Carolina beat Duke in person this year, wear a face covering. And I grew up in Maryland and in Indiana, so, sorry, Duke, but long as somebody beats you, I’m okay with that," he said to laughter from attendees.

Photos via Office of the Vice-President

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Gilead's Remdesivir effective in Rockville study of monkeys with coronavirus covid-19

A study at the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases {(NIAID) in Rockville has shown that pharmaceutical firm Gilead's experimental Remdesivir anti-viral treatment slowed the progression of the covid-19 coronavirus in monkeys infected with the virus. It also reduced lung damage.

Early administration of the drug made it more effective, according to a report on the study by The drug did not reduce the monkey's shedding of the virus while infected, however, which means they would remain contagious even while on Remdesivir, if this study's finding holds in further clinical testing.

The NIAID is at 5601 Fishers Lane in the Twinbrook area of Rockville.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Rockville biotech firm begins COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine test

BIOQUAL, a Rockville-based biotech firm, announced Tuesday that it has begun in-vivo testing of coronavirus COVID-19 vaccines. The company, founded in 1981, said that it has been developing animal models for a vaccine since February in partnership with Dr. Dan Barouch at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and the Ragon Institute, both affiliated with Harvard Medical School.

BIOQUAL has previously been active in vaccine development against AIDS, Hepatitis, Zika, and Chikungunya, to name a few. The firm is located at 9600 Medical Center Drive.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Montgomery County fumbles Eli Lilly factory to North Carolina

Indianapolis residents now know what it feels like to live in Montgomery County. Just as moribund MoCo can't get one of its few remaining major companies - Lockheed - to locate its manufacturing facilities here, neither could Indy get hometown pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly to build its new manufacturing facility in the Hoosier capital. Lilly is looking south instead, choosing Durham County, North Carolina's booming Research Triangle Park.

"We continue to grow North Carolina into a worldwide hub for the biotechnology industry," a jubilant North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said in a statement Tuesday.

Biotech and hospitality are the only two economic sectors in Montgomery County that even have a pulse these days, thanks to decisions made by wiser County leaders prior to the Montgomery County political cartel's seizure of the County Council in 2002 (today, the cartel controls all nine Council seats). But just days after the Washington Post reported once again that Montgomery County has fallen behind Prince George's County in job creation (while failing to report MoCo was also behind every other county in the region over the last decade in that department), Montgomery County's elected officials weren't able to score the biggest biotech get of the year so far - the Eli Lilly factory.

Not only did the County Council and economic development officials make no public campaign to attract Lilly, but their fumble also emphasizes how our inept leaders are squandering the biotech advantages their smarter, less corrupt predecessors left them at the turn of the century. North Carolina is catching up, as is Virginia. As MoCo officials continue to drop balls left and right, those and other states will soon surpass us.

North Carolina Commerce Secretary Tony Copeland correctly noted Tuesday that, "North Carolina is one of the nation’s leading centers for innovation in the life sciences." They also have two other things we don't: A friendly business climate, and superior infrastructure.

The Tar Heel state has the Research Triangle Park. Montgomery County was supposed to have a "Science City" in the I-270 corridor. Remember that?

Montgomery County elected officials couldn't even get that done. Of course, they never intended to. "Science City" was a total ruse perpetrated by the Council, and their developer sugar daddies, a decade ago. Sold to you as something like North Carolina's biotech park, that fakeout was merely a Trojan horse for more residential development.

Remember how Clarksburg, Germantown and Shady Grove were going to be booming job centers, with a Corridor Cities Transitway and expanded MARC service? None of that ever happened.

But - the housing all got built.

Jobs continued to divert to Northern Virginia, and I-270 just got more congested with all of the new housing approved by the Council without any new transportation infrastructure to support it. Heckuva job, Brownie!

Now, standing amidst the ashes of a "Science City" ghost town surrounded by stack-and-pack Soviet-style apartment blocs, the Council is saying the whole problem is...there wasn't enough housing built. LOL. [Insert cuckoo clock sound here].

You can't make this stuff up, folks.

What did we lose this week as a result?

462 new pharmaceutical manufacturing jobs, with an average salary above $72,000. 462 jobs are just a drop in the bucket given how stagnant and shrinking Montgomery County's economy is, but we're not in a position to pass any up in such a crisis. We should be, but are not, actively pursuing aerospace, biotech, and defense corporate headquarters, and their related research and manufacturing facilities.

North Carolina's Research Triangle Park's motto is, "Inspiring Bold Ideas."

The Montgomery County Council's is, "Lining our pockets with developer cash."

Our County's should be, "The Bedroom Community for the Booming Job Centers Elsewhere in Our Region."