Life Sciences in Virginia

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Life Sciences

Novozymes North America, Salem Cadence, Inc., Staunton Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Research Campus, Loudoun County Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, Danville

Top companies in the life sciences industry choose to locate in Virginia — and flourish here — because of the state’s top talent, renowned higher education and research institutions, outstanding logistical advantages, competitive costs, and top-ranked business climate. Virginia’s life sciences sector has gained significant momentum in recent years, with 62 life sciences industry projects announced in just the past five years, representing over 6,200 jobs and $2.5 billion in investment. Recent announcements include Thermo Fisher Scientific, Granules Pharmaceuticals, U.S. Pharmacopeia, AMPAC Fine Chemicals, Civica, Inc., Merck & Co., Haleon (formerly GSK), Bausch + Lomb, and Virginia-grown biotech firm Grenova Solutions.

5 Thriving Life Sciences Industry Ecosystem Why Virginia? 13 Strategic Mid-Atlantic Location with Easy Access to Federal Decision-Makers 15 World-Class Logistics Infrastructure 17 Robust Portfolio of Project-Ready Sites 11 Attractive, Stable, and Predictable Operating Environment 19 Exceptional Quality of Life 1 America’s Top State for Talent 9 Dynamic Centers of Innovation

America’s Top State for Talent

Ranked No. 1 in the U.S. for Education 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. K-12 schools are ranked No. 1 in the South and No. 5 in the U.S. (WalletHub, 2023) and its higher education system is ranked No. 2 in the U.S. (SmartAsset, 2022). Virginia employers often draw talent from among the thousands of service members who exit the armed services in Virginia each year.

The Virginia Talent Accelerator Program — VEDP’s world-class customized talent acquisition and training solution — is available to new and expanding life sciences companies to ensure they can quickly attract and onboard high-quality employees. The program is offered at no cost to qualified companies as an incentive for job creation. As an alternative, Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP) grants are available for companies that prefer to manage their own recruitment and training.


Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Growing Virginia Footprint

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. In 2021, Thermo Fisher announced an investment of $97 million to expand its bioanalytical laboratory operations into three new Greater Richmond locations with the acquisition of PPD, a leading global provider of clinical research services. The acquisition further establishes Thermo Fisher as a global leader in the high-growth clinical research services industry.

Thermo Fisher Scientific, Frederick County

Haleon Consumer Healthcare Joint Venture Expands Richmond Hub

Haleon (formerly 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, Haleon 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 Haleon 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, Haleon worked with the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, a workforce initiative created by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) in collaboration with the Virginia Community College System. 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 Virginia Talent Accelerator Program team provided information and materials about the Richmond region’s attractive lifestyle assets to employees considering relocating to Richmond. The team also delivered recruitment assistance to the company to identify and attract specialized talent to meet Haleon’s staffing needs.

Civica, Inc., Petersburg Haleon (formerly GSK), Richmond

Richmond-Petersburg: A Hub for Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

The greater Richmond region is rapidly becoming a hub for innovation and production for the life sciences industry. An essential medicines collaboration started to develop in 2020 with the establishment of Phlow Corporation, a public benefit corporation affiliated with the Medicines for All Institute (M4ALL) at Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) College of Engineering. M4ALL, established in 2017 with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, develops techniques and processes to make medicines using continuous manufacturing, a largely automated process that costs more to implement than traditional batch manufacturing processes, but offers significant savings and efficiency benefits over the long run.

In 2021, Phlow secured a $354 million contract from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to manufacture essential medicines for the Strategic National Stockpile and start the first Strategic Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient Reserve to provide a long-term supply of the key ingredients used to manufacture essential medicines.

As a strategic partner in the initiative with Phlow, M4ALL, and AMPAC Fine Chemicals, in January 2021 Civica announced plans to establish a 140,000-square-foot state-ofthe-art facility to manufacture sterile injectable drugs in the city of Petersburg adjacent to Phlow’s future operation and AMPAC’s existing facility. Just a few months later, AMPAC announced a $25 million investment to expand its operation and create 156 new jobs. The Civica plant will convert active pharmaceutical ingredients from AMPAC and Phlow into vials and syringes of finished medications for use in hospitals across the country.

This critical partnership between Phlow Corporation, Medicines for All Institute, Civica, and AMPAC will further advance the pharmaceutical cluster that has emerged in Richmond-Petersburg and solidifies Virginia as a significant player in domestic drug manufacturing.


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 healthcare 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, Owens & Minor, and Haleon (formerly 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.

Life Sciences Value Chain in Virginia

Virginia’s life sciences ecosystem spans the entire value chain, including 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 sciences 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.

Haleon (formerly GSK) operates one of its three global consumer healthcare R&D laboratories in Virginia, continually expanding thanks to its ability to recruit and retain talented employees.

Internationally recognized Abbott Laboratories chose Virginia for continued expansions of its nutritional supplement manufacturing capabilities thanks to the Commonwealth’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 area’s skilled labor, favorable location, and community support the company receives.

25% of U.S. federally funded research and development centers (FFRDC) are in Virginia.


Virginia’s life sciences manufacturing covers a broad swath of the industry, including pharmaceutical and nutritional products and medical supplies and devices.

There are more than 50 major packaging and packing establishments in Virginia providing services to the life sciences industry.

Global logistics companies take advantage of Virginia’s strategic Mid-Atlantic location with 75% of the U.S. population within a two-day drive.



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 2nd-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 2021, 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.


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 skill sets. 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.

WestRock, Richmond Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Roanoke Owens & Minor, Inc., Hanover County

Attractive, Stable, and Predictable Operating Environment

Ranked as one of the top states for business, Virginia is frequently recognized for its favorable regulatory climate and consistently rated one of the best-run states in the country. Virginia has the 5th-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 an 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, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and the National Science Foundation.

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.

LifeNet Health, 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.


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 five 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.

2 nd

densest roadway and railway networks in the Southeast


nonstop service destinations from Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)

3 rd

largest port on the East Coast by container volume

3,000 miles of railways anchored by Class I railroads CSX and Norfolk Southern

Aditx Therapeutics, Richmond
Veracyte, Inc. (formerly HalioDx), Richmond

Richmond is an ideal location for our first high-capacity AditxtScore™ Center given its skilled workforce, location, and infrastructure.

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.

AMRO ALBANNA Co-founder and Co-CEO, Aditxt, Inc.
STÉPHANE DEBONO Executive VP and General Manager, Veracyte, Inc. (formerly HalioDx)

Robust Portfolio of Project-Ready Sites

With 300+ 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 ample choices among the thousands of existing buildings with space for lease, representing over 20 million square feet of industrial space for lease, including more than 440 industrial buildings with 10,000 or more square feet available. Construction is underway on an additional 14.6 million square feet of industrial space. Virginia’s universities and corporate research parks are ready to assist new and expanding businesses in developing specialized scientific and industrial work space.

40+ sites are certified as project-ready under the Virginia Business Ready Sites Program

12 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

Size and certification status of sites across Virginia

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.

The life sciences industry is bolstered 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 highquality 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.

Medicines for All Institute Virginia Commonwealth University

Exceptional Quality of Life

With a competitive cost of living, a mild four-season climate, and a diverse range of natural and cultural attractions, Virginia offers an exceptional quality of life. Vibrant urban centers and picturesque small towns are alive with arts, culture, history, and stunning landscapes. Outdoor enthusiasts are within easy driving distance to the scenic shorelines of Virginia’s beaches and rivers as well as hiking trails 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 Downtown Mall, Charlottesville
Claytor Lake, Pulaski County Tysons, Fairfax County Oceanfront Concert Series, Virginia Beach Chatham Vineyards, Northampton County
Virginia Creeper Trail, Washington County

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

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s 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 relocations and expansions successful.

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

Solutions © August 2023
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