Emergent BioSolutions plans to separate research, manufacturing businesses in spin-off

Emergent BioSolutions is splitting into two companies, but its Baltimore facilities are staying put.

Emergent BioSolutions plans to separate its biosciences research and manufacturing businesses, but will maintain its growing Baltimore production facility, company officials said Thursday.

Gaithersburg-based Emergent is pursuing a tax-free spin-off of the research business into a standalone public company. The yet-to-be-named new company will work on developing treatments for cancer and blood diseases.

The move will help Emergent to increase profit and free up money for capital projects as company leaders look to grow their foothold in biodefense and preparedness for emerging infectious diseases.

"The proposed spin-off recognizes that our two operating divisions have evolved into distinct business and investment opportunities," CEO Daniel J. Abdun-Nabi said. "We expect the spin-off to enhance business focus, better align resources to achieve strategic priorities, and unlock significant value for both companies."

Emergent has two facilities in Baltimore, among five sites where it develops and produces biodefense agents and other products.

It acquired a contract manufacturing facility in the Carroll-Camden industrial area of Southwest Baltimore when it acquired Cangene Corp. last year. It has also expanded its manufacturing facility near Johns Hopkins Bayview, Emergent's only facility designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to produce vaccines and other medical countermeasures used in public health emergencies such as flu pandemics.

Emergent last month landed a $19.7 million federal contract to manufacture Ebola monoclonal antibodies, a treatment similar to the drug ZMapp used in last year's outbreak of the Ebola virus.

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