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Maryland-based COVID-19 vaccine developer Novavax, tapped by federal government for 100 million doses, plans expansion

COVID-19 vaccine developer Novavax, which has received $1.6 billion from the federal government to develop its vaccine candidate and make 100 million doses, is expanding in Montgomery County to support vaccine development efforts, Gov. Larry Hogan’s office announced Monday.

The Gaithersburg-based company is adding 122,000 square feet of space for research and development, manufacturing and offices “to accommodate its growing pipeline of vaccine candidates,” Hogan’s office said in a release. The company has said it will add at least 400 local jobs by the end of 2024, according to Hogan’s office.

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“Novavax has been on the forefront in the fight against COVID-19, and we are proud to support this expansion and the new jobs that it will bring,” Hogan said in the release. “The work that Novavax is doing, right here in Maryland, will impact millions around the world as we continue on the road to recovery from this pandemic.”

The state’s commerce department will provide a $2 million loan to help with expansion costs, the release said.

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Novavax has never brought a vaccine to the market before but received a $1.6 billion federal contract to mass produce a coronavirus vaccine as a part of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed. The large federal project aims to bring vaccines and therapeutics to Americans as soon as possible and has reached billion-dollar deals with several vaccine manufacturers.

Citing manufacturing issues, Novavax recently delayed the start of its vaccine clinical trial in the United States and Mexico, which is now slated to begin by the end of November.

In August, preliminary studies on Novavax’s vaccine showed positive results. In one study, a vaccine helped 56 participants develop virus antibodies without significant side effects, and in the other, vaccinated monkeys developed protection from the virus.

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