The Washington Business Journal printed an article on Friday about Biotech in Montgomery County. It’s an interesting article about how other surrounding counties are trying to take a slice of the pie away from MoCo.
“It begins, as do so many suburban economic development enterprises, with an incubator. And then many, many football fields worth of wet labs. That attracts the startups. Which attract the workers, who mold those startups into permanent fixtures. Next flows serious revenue and scores more workers, some of whom eventually leave and spawn even more startups.
A biotech industry is born.
It’s a scenario that is beginning to appeal to local counties and towns beyond Montgomery County, which has built the biggest biotech corridor in the Washington region over the last two decades.
All of Maryland counts 370 bioscience companies, and Montgomery County claims 250 of them.
Maryland is home to more than 60,000 bioscience workers in corporate, government and academic circles. Montgomery County says it houses 40,000 of them.”
I didn’t know that MoCo had that much of the pie, because so much seems to be happening in Frederick. As I have alluded to before, Hopkins is doing their best to leverage their research programs and take a bite out of that pie, too.
And they also talk about how the counties are cooperating, echoing the rhetoric coming out of Montgomery County-centric TEDCO. Frederick County pays into TEDCO, yet we don’t seem to get nearly the number of programs and services that are granted MoCo. I am sure the guys in Baltimore are saying the same thing.
And while the advantage of have a research facility like the NIH in Bethesda, the workforce demographics and the simple availability of affordable real estate make Frederick the preferred choice for Manufacturing facilities (not to take anything away from the Research at Ft Detrick).
I went to the main campus of the NIH a couple weeks for a seminar. There is barely any open space left the to build on, although there was a lot of construction going on. In another 10 or 15 years, I predict that the NIH will start moving north to Frederick, as evident by the recent proposed building of a new 100,000 sq foot NCI facility off Shookstown Road, just outside the Fort.
And knowing some of the people at NCI-Frederick, there is still this yearning to be on the “Main campus”. There is a certain stature and status this conveys, like NCI-Frederick is a second class facility.
Who knows, maybe some day we’ll be calling ourselves North Bethesda?