Maryland biotech company Zalgen Labs has moved to Frederick, illustrating the magnetism of the biotech hub for leaders like its own Dr. Luis Branco who want to capitalize on the new sense of collaboration the pandemic has brought about in life sciences companies in the region.
The move to Frederick puts Zalgen closer to the epicenter of what’s known as BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR) that encompasses Maryland, Virginia and DC. Frederick alone is home to over 80 biotech companies, according to the county’s Office of Economic Development.
After eight years at the Germantown Innovation Center in Montgomery County — also in the BHCR along the the vaunted I-270 corridor — Zalgen told Technical.ly he’s thankful for the opportunities there but excited to grow in Frederick, which is home to more biotech companies in their specific niche.
“This is one of the premier places in the world for hemorrhagic fever virus research,” said Branco, Zalgen’s cofounder and managing director, about Frederick. “That’s basically what we do. I think we’ll complement that aspect of the local biotech space.”
As Zalgen continues to develop its own rapid home test for COVID-19 and supply antibody testing kits to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations for a large Lassa fever study in West Africa, the new headquarters will also allow it to expand its immunotherapeutics activities. And as the company brings the Lassa fever study to clinical trials and nearly 7,000 square feet of lab space in the new headquarters, Zalgen is also looking to hire in the new year.
The new Zalgen HQ is located in a 75,400-square-foot building at 7495 New Horizon Way, which was recently renovated by VaLogic, LLC to be a home for biotech companies.
“Going into 2022 we’re looking to push the program forward,” Branco said. Expansion and hiring “will be dictated by where the [Lassa fever study] goes, funding, sources of potential revenue, clinical trial accessibility sites. We’ll grow as we need.”
Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation. -30-