Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, Danville
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Research Campus, Loudoun County
Top companies in the life sciences industry choose to locate in Virginia – and flourish here – because of the state’s top talent, advanced culture of innovation, outstanding logistical advantages, competitive costs, and top-ranked business climate. Virginia’s life science sector has gained significant momentum in recent years, with 20 life sciences industry projects announced in just the past three years, representing over 1,400 jobs and $1.2 billion in investment. Recent announcements include U.S. Pharmacopeia, AMPAC Fine Chemicals, Civica, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Bausch + Lomb, and Virginia-grown biotech firm Grenova.
Why Virginia? 1 America’s Top State for Talent
5 Thriving Life Sciences Industry Ecosystem
9 Dynamic Centers of Innovation
11 An Attractive, Stable, and Predictable Operating Environment
13 Strategic Mid-Atlantic Location with Easy Access to Federal Decision-Makers
15 World-Class Logistics Infrastructure
17 Robust Portfolio of Project-Ready Sites
19 An Exceptional Quality of Life
America’s Top State for Talent Ranked No. 2 in the U.S. for Education and No. 3 for Workforce by CNBC, Virginia is home to over 150,000 people working in the life sciences industry and related occupations. Virginia’s excellent school systems ensure a steady flow of new talent every year. The K-12 schools are ranked No. 1 in the South and No. 4 in the U.S. (WalletHub, 2021) and the higher education system is ranked No. 1 in the U.S. (SmartAsset, 2021). Virginia employers often draw talent from among the 13,800 service members who exit the armed services in Virginia each year. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) ensures that new and expanding life sciences companies can quickly attract and onboard high-quality employees by offering a world-class, customized talent acquisition and training solution, the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program. The program is provided at no cost to qualified companies as an incentive for job creation, as are grants from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, for companies that prefer to manage their own recruitment and training. Recent clients of VEDP’s talent accelerator programs include GSK and Civica. 1
Thermo Fisher Scientific, Frederick County
Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Virginia Facility: A Center of Excellence for Clinical Diagnostics in the United States Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is the world leader in serving science, with a mission to enable its customers to make the world healthier, cleaner, and safer. The company’s operation in Frederick County began as Technicon Instruments in 1978 and now produces in-vitro diagnostic testing instruments used to detect diseases, infections, and other conditions. The Thermo Fisher Middletown facility is one of two Centers of Excellence for Clinical Diagnostics operations in the U.S. The company announced plans in 2017 to invest $9.5 million and create 57 new
jobs to expand its Clinical Diagnostics operations. The company attributes its decades-long success in Virginia to the skilled talent pool of STEM and advanced manufacturing-related graduates in the region. Thermo Fisher recently announced the acquisition of PPD, a leading global provider of clinical research services with an existing location in Greater Richmond. The acquisition further establishes Thermo Fisher as a global leader in the high-growth Clinical Research Services industry.
GSK Consumer Healthcare Joint Venture Expands Richmond Hub GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is a Fortune 500 science-led global healthcare company that offers research, development, and manufacturing of innovative pharmaceutical medicines, vaccines, and consumer healthcare products. In August 2019, the company announced the completion of its transaction with Pfizer to combine consumer healthcare businesses into a world-leading joint venture, becoming one of the largest over-the-counter healthcare companies in the world. The joint venture brings together two complementary portfolios of trusted consumer health brands, including Advil, Caltrate, Centrum, ChapStick, Emergen-C, Excedrin, Flonase, Nexium, Robitussin, Sensodyne, and Theraflu. As part of the joint venture, GSK planned to consolidate the two companies’ existing consumer health facilities. The joint venture evaluated its combined locations worldwide and chose a former Pfizer R&D headquarters in the City of Richmond for a position in the portfolio of the new GSK consumer healthcare division, investing $16.7 million and committing to hiring an additional 150 employees.
The company determined that the overall environment provided by the Commonwealth of Virginia and the City of Richmond was conducive to building leading R&D capabilities, and the location offered access to world-class talent and universities as well as an attractive cost of living and favorable business operating costs. As part of Virginia’s incentive package for the project, GSK worked with the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, a workforce initiative created by Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) in collaboration with the Virginia Community College System (VCCS). The program provides direct delivery of recruitment and training services that are fully customized to a company’s unique products, processes, equipment, standards, and culture. All program services are provided at no cost to qualified new and expanding companies as an incentive for job creation. The VEDP project team provided information and materials about the Richmond region’s attractive lifestyle assets to employees considering relocating to Richmond. The Virginia Talent Accelerator Program team also delivered recruitment assistance to the company to identify and attract specialized talent to meet GSK’s staffing needs.
Richmond Metro: A Hub for Pharmaceutical Manufacturing The greater Richmond region is rapidly becoming a hub for innovation and production for the life sciences industry. In addition, Virginia Commonwealth University’s doctoral degree program in pharmaceutical engineering – the first of its kind in the nation – is developing a pipeline of talent for the pharmaceutical industry in the region. Recent collaboration between Phlow, the VCU Medicines for All Institute, AMPAC Fine Chemicals (AFC), and nonprofit generic drug company Civica Inc. has put the region on the map as a pharmaceutical manufacturing cluster. In January 2021, Civica announced plans to invest $124.5 million to establish the company’s first inhouse pharmaceutical manufacturing operation in Petersburg, creating 186 new jobs. As part of the collaboration, Civica’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility will be adjacent to Phlow’s future operation and AFC’s existing facility in Petersburg. This new plant will manufacture vials and syringes of injectable medicines to be used in hospitals across the country. Civica’s decision for Virginia centered on Petersburg’s central location along I-95, the region’s growing life sciences workforce, and the Commonwealth’s opportunities for collaboration. Support for Civica’s job creation is provided through the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, a workforce initiative created by VEDP in collaboration with the Virginia Community College System and other higher education partners. Launched in 2019, the program accelerates new facility start-ups and expansions through direct delivery of recruitment and training services that are fully customized to a company’s unique products, processes, equipment, standards, and culture – at no cost to the qualified company.
Thriving Life Sciences Industry Ecosystem Illustrative Examples Virginia’s rich life sciences ecosystem encompasses public and private R&D, medical laboratories, manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, and distribution of health care products – providing a vibrant business community that supports the growth of this fast-growing industry. Industry leaders in Virginia include Abbott Laboratories, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Pharmaceutical Product Development, Inc. (PPD), Owens & Minor, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Companies in the life sciences industry benefit from synergies between industry and specialized supply chains, a strong IT sector with unique capabilities in areas such as bioinformatics, and varied sources of financing.
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Life Sciences Value Chain in Virginia Virginia’s life sciences ecosystem spans the entire value chain, ranging from public and private R&D; laboratories that provide testing and other services; manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment; and distribution of healthcare products. Home to the highest concentration of tech talent in the country, Virginia offers life science companies the talent needed to deliver innovative solutions through artificial intelligence, big data, bioinformatics, telehealth, electronic health records, and more. UNOS, the private, nonprofit that manages the U.S. organ transplant system is headquartered and operates its Organ Center in Virginia, matching donors with potential transplant recipients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. GSK operates one of its three global consumer healthcare R&D laboratories in Virginia, continually expanding thanks to its ability to recruit and hire talented employees.
25% of federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) are in Virginia.
Internationally recognized Abbott Laboratories chose Virginia for continued expansions of its nutritional supplement manufacturing capabilities thanks to the region’s water supply, workforce, and pro-business environment. TemperPack provides sustainable packaging for the perishable food and pharmaceutical industries from its headquarters and manufacturing facility, crediting Virginia’s geographic location as its key decision factor. Bausch + Lomb operates its worldwide distribution center for contact lenses and surgical products in Virginia, and continues to invest in the facility due to the skilled labor, favorable location, and community support the company receives.
There are more than 50 major packaging and packing establishments in Virginia providing services to the life sciences industry. Virginia’s life sciences manufacturing covers a broad swath of the industry including: pharmaceutical and nutritional products, and medical supplies and devices.
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Global logistics companies take advantage of Virginia’s strategic Mid-Atlantic location with 75% of the population within a two-day drive.
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Dynamic Centers of Innovation
Top State for Federal Research and Development Funding Every year billions in federal research dollars are spent in Virginia, which is the fourth-highest recipient nationwide of federal spending on contracts and grants in medical and life sciences fields. Virginia ranked No. 3 in number of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards in 2020, behind California and Massachusetts. Research activity in Virginia encompasses a wide array of disciplines relevant to the life sciences industry, including bioengineering, biomedical engineering, and chemical engineering. Major hubs of public and private research include the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Research Campus, the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, and major centers for medical research at the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Tech, George Mason University, and Hampton University. Virginia Bio, the state’s biotech industry group, works to promote the development of the industry through advocacy and by connecting industry with life sciences resources, including commercialization and entrepreneurship programs, funding mechanisms, and accelerators. 9
Merck & Co. Benefits from Custom Workforce Solution For over 75 years, Merck & Co., Inc. has been manufacturing lifesaving drugs and vaccines at its facility in the Shenandoah Valley. As a publicly held global healthcare leader, the company is dedicated to improving health and wellbeing around the world. Through research, innovation, and a mission to save and improve lives, Merck produces prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and animal health products. Merck & Co. has completed seven expansions in Rockingham County in the last 25 years, demonstrating the company’s confidence in Virginia’s business climate. This growth has resulted in over $1.6 billion in capital investments and more than 250 new jobs, and the company now employs over 1,000 Virginians at its 1.1 million-square-foot facility in Elkton. Most recently, the company announced plans in 2019 to invest up to $1 billion in stages to expand its manufacturing operation, adding 120,000 square feet to increase production of its HPV vaccines. This investment represents the largest capital investment in the Shenandoah Valley region in recent history. To meet workforce demands associated with Merck & Co.’s robust growth, nearby Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC) and James Madison University (JMU) worked with the state, locality, and company to develop a program to address the short- and long-term need for talent with specialized skillsets. The unique partnership with BRCC and JMU ensures a pipeline of biotechnology engineering and computer science talent to benefit Merck and accommodate its future growth, as well as a lasting regional impact for other major area employers in varying industries.
Owens & Minor, Inc., Hanover County
Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Roanoke
An Attractive, Stable, and Predictable Operating Environment In 2021, Virginia was again named America’s Top State for Business by CNBC for its businessfriendly regulations, stable tax environment, and competitive cost of doing business. Virginia is widely recognized as one of the best-run states in the country, ranked No. 2 for governance by U.S. News & World Report. Virginia has the fourth-lowest private-sector unionization rate in the country, competitive costs of doing business, and state and local taxes that are lower than the nationwide average.
Virginia is the northernmost right-to-work state along the I-95 corridor.
Sound economic policy and prudent financial management has earned Virginia a AAA credit rating since 1938 — longer than any other state.
Virginia has had a stable 6% corporate income tax rate, one of the lowest in the nation, since 1972.
Strategic Mid-Atlantic Location with Easy Acc Virginia’s strategic location on the East Coast provides important advantages for the life sciences industry, including a prime position in the center of the Mid-Atlantic’s booming life sciences cluster and ready access to suppliers and major hubs of economic activity along the Northeast corridor and across the Southeast and Midwest. Virginia is located in the BioHealth Capital Region, the fourth-ranked U.S. BioPharma cluster, according to Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News. The Commonwealth provides proximity to the nation’s capital and federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and National Science Foundation.
LifeNet Health, Virginia Beach
LifeNet Health Accesses Markets and Talent in Virginia Beach LifeNet Health is a global leader in regenerative medicine and the world’s largest provider of allograft bio-implants and organs for transplantation. LifeNet Health’s global headquarters campus has been located in Virginia Beach since 1982. The company has grown substantially across U.S. and international markets, and continues to call Virginia Beach home because of the region’s access to domestic and global markets, skilled talent, and world-class higher education and R&D assets. The company has invested more than $12 million in Virginia since 2017 to enhance its research and development capabilities. LifeNet Health’s most recent Virginia expansion occurred in 2019 at one of the company’s tissue graft-processing facilities in Virginia Beach.
ess to Federal Decision-Makers
Virginia has been a great asset in TemperPack’s growth because of its diverse and talented workforce, its pro-business policies, and its geographic location, which allows us to easily service the entire East Coast and beyond. We couldn’t ask for a better partner in business as we continue to expand. BRIAN POWERS Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer, TemperPack
World-Class Logistics Infrastructure
A dense network of roads, railways, ports, and airports provides transport links to supply chain and physical distribution networks, as well as worldwide connectivity for corporate travelers. Six major interstate highways cross through Virginia, including major North-South and East-West trucking routes, strategically positioning Virginia to offer excellent connectivity to key U.S. markets. Virginia is also served by the third-largest port on the East Coast, with a network of six terminals that can handle any type of cargo. For businesses that require or prefer air travel, the state is serviced by 16 commercial airports, collectively providing nonstop flights to 100+ domestic and 50+ international destinations.
densest roadway and railway networks in the Southeast
nonstop service destinations from Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
Aditx Therapeutics, Richmond
most advanced port in the U.S. (The Port of Virginia)
of railways anchored by two of the largest Class I railroads CSX and Norfolk Southern
Richmond is an ideal location for our first high-capacity AditxtScore™ Center given its skilled workforce, location, and infrastructure. AMRO ALBANNA Co-founder and Co-CEO, Aditx Therapeutics
We are very excited to start our activity with our brand new CLIA laboratory based in Richmond. Our location in Virginia will allow us to closely interact with all laboratories and hospitals in the region while benefiting from a quite competitive offering from the local authorities, including the Virginia Bio cluster. STÉPHANE DEBONO CEO, HalioDx
Robust Portfolio of Project-Ready Sites With 450+ fully characterized sites of 25 acres or larger, dozens of certified sites, and a growing inventory of spec buildings and virtual buildings, Virginia is continuously expanding its portfolio of real estate options for the life sciences industry. Companies looking for ready-built options have abundant choices among thousands of buildings with over 29 million square feet of industrial space for lease, including more than 450 vacant industrial buildings of 10,000 square feet or larger. Construction is underway on an additional 8.3 million square feet of industrial space. Virginia’s universities and 12 corporate research parks are ready to assist new and expanding businesses in developing specialized scientific and industrial work space. 77
Total Site Acreage
Certiﬁed Sites Additional Sites in Development
99 and below 100 to 499
500 and above
250 301 220
81 60 460
29 South Boston Mar tinsville
58 South Hill
85 Winston-Salem Knoxville
sites are certified as project-ready under Virginia’s Business Ready Sites Program
of Virginia’s certified parks have graded pad sites available for construction
12-18 mos. for project-ready sites to have utilities on-site and all infrastructure in place
Virginia has almost five million square feet of laboratory space, concentrated in Virginia’s three largest metro areas (Northern Virginia, Richmond, and Hampton Roads), as well as smaller nodes anchored by major research universities.
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)
Medicines for All Institute, VCU’s College of Engineering
The life sciences industry is anchored in the Richmond region by Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), a “Top 100” life sciences research center with over $335 million in externally funded research each year. VCU’s medical school is one of the largest in the United States and houses one of the nation’s oldest transplant programs. The Medicines for All Institute (M4ALL), housed in VCU’s College of Engineering and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is committed to improving access to high-quality medications across the globe by reimagining manufacturing processes. M4ALL’s chemical engineers and chemists optimize active pharmaceutical ingredient production and provide open access to manufacturers around the world to enhance the security of medicine supply chains. In addition, VCU established the first Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Engineering in the United States. The doctoral program, a collaboration between VCU’s School of Pharmacy and College of Engineering, will focus on research and training students in areas of drug product development such as continuous manufacturing and drug-containing nanomaterials. 18
An Exceptional Quality of Life
With a competitive cost of living, a mild, four-season climate, and unrivaled natural and cultural attractions, Virginia offers an exceptional quality of life. Virginia residents enjoy life in vibrant cities and picturesque small towns, within easy driving distance to scenic shorelines and mountain vistas. For these reasons and many others, Forbes ranked Virginia No. 1 in the U.S. for quality of life.
Queen City Mischief & Magic Festival, Staunton
Claytor Lake, Pulaski County
Downtown Mall, Charlottesville
Tysons Corner, Fairfax County
Chatham Vineyards & Winery, Northampton County
Virginia Creeper Trail,Beach Washington County Sandbridge, Virginia
Oceanfront Concert Series, Virginia Beach
The James River is a popular destination for water activities, particularly near the fall line, which passes through downtown Richmond. The rapids there are billed as the only urban Class III-IV rapids in the United States.
Expertise • Collaboration • Innovation • Solutions The Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s (VEDP) team of dedicated and knowledgeable professionals is committed to Virginia’s economic success, and connects industry-leading businesses to the resources they need to make relocation and expansion successful endeavors. From site selection, customized research, cost analysis, and coordination with public and private partners, to discretionary incentives and workforce solutions, VEDP’s services are tailored to companies’ unique requirements. To learn more about VEDP’s expertise and resources, visit VEDP.org.
© January 2022