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Novavax expands footprint in Montgomery County, plans to hire 850 workers

Montgomery County vaccine development company Novavax Inc. said Wednesday it will triple the size of its staff and add a second site as it grows its pipeline of drug candidates.

The company said it would add 850 positions to its 443-person staff over the next several years. Novavax in May signed a lease for 150,000 square feet of space at 1201 Clopper Rd. in Gaithersburg, where the company plans to set up laboratories and manufacturing operations.

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Novavax specializes in clinical-stage development of drugs for infectious diseases, such as Ebola, respiratory syncytia virus and the flu.

The project is getting incentives from the state, county and city, including a $5 million conditional loan from the Maryland Department of Commerce, a $2.5 million conditional grant from Montgomery County and a $50,000 grant from Gaithersburg. Novavax is also eligible for state and county tax credit programs, including Montgomery County's New Jobs Tax Credit.

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"Supporting the expansion of companies like Novavax helps reinforce Maryland's leadership in the life sciences, and positions the state as an ideal place where companies can develop innovative treatments, diagnostics and cures," Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill said.

Novavax has headquarters in Gaithersburg and offices in Rockville and Sweden. Thirty-three of the company's 443 employees are based in Sweden as of February, according to the company's regulatory filings. New hires will be based at the company's Rockville and Gaithersburg locations.

In 2015, the company reported a net loss of $156.9 million, or 60 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $82.9 million, or 37 cents per share, in 2014.

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