Maryland Has Big Impact on COVID-19 Research Efforts

Maryland Has Big Impact on COVID-19 Research Efforts TrialsiteN

With just over 6 million residents, the State of Maryland ranks 19th in the nation for most populated states while ranking 15th for economic impact with a GDP of 434b.  When it comes to life sciences, the “Old Line State” is among the nation’s leaders. Recently, Governor Larry Hogan has come out to declare that nearly 40 Maryland life sciences companies are involved with the development of COVID-19-based vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics and tests, and other relevant products and services. The Governor reported the University System of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University are investing millions into COVID-19 research, including clinical trials. Moreover, just recently the University of Maryland School of Medicine just initiated a Phase 3 clinical trial targeting COVID-19.

Maryland isn’t a large state but it’s impact is most certainly big. A significant part of the state’s population resides in the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area (covers part of VA, DC and, of course, a good part of Maryland) that has a population approaching 9.5 million making it one of the most concentrated urbanized areas in the United States.

What follows are data points of Maryland’s contribution to the war on COVID-19 as reported recently in Fox 45 Baltimore.

Maryland companies to date have secured over $3 billion for the development of a vaccine targeting SARS-CoV-2

Gaithersburg, MD-based Novavax was awarded $1.6b through the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed to complete clinical development and establish large-scale manufacturing with the goal of distributing 100 million vaccine doses by late 2020. The company also received $388m from CEPI and $60m from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to support vaccine production.

Emergent BioSolutions, also based in Gaithersburg, has three manufacturing facilities in Baltimore and Rockville, and they announced deals with AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax and Vaxart as well as an infusion of $1.5b from Operation Warp Speed to support COVID-19 vaccine development and manufacturing.

Longhorn Vaccines and Diagnostics, based in Bethesda, won a $225 million contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security involving contract transport of samples to various testing labs.

Altimmune is also based in Gaithersburg and recently secured a $4.7m contract from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command while collaborating with Vigene Biosciences for the development of a single-dose intranasal vaccine for SARS-CoV-2.

Johns Hopkins University has committed $6m in funding to aid 260 scientists and researchers targeting about 24 COVID-19 studies. In addition, John Hopkins’ School of Medicine is involved with more than 100 clinical trials to develop COVID-19 diagnostics in addition to receiving $35m from the U.S. DOD and Bloomberg School of Public Health to test the efficacy of convalescent plasma.

University System of Maryland is working on a rapid COVID-19 test in addition to leading a clinical trial testing a stem cell therapy to reduce death rates in the most ill of COVID-19 patents.

University of Maryland School of Medicine is scheduled to receive up to $3.6m during the next year from DARPA for a rapid testing program of drugs, possibly repurposed, targeting COVID-19.

Maryland is a relatively small state with a huge impact, especially in the life sciences sector. That’s because critical life science-focused institutions make the state their headquarters from the private sector, academia and defense, for example. The economy here is booming at least in association to the significant activity there in the war against COVID-19.  With its proximity to Washington DC, Maryland has become a major biotech cluster. Of course, the fact that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are both headquartered in this state long ago established it as a hub of life science research and regulatory matters. Maryland also happens to represent an epicenter of defense-oriented and sponsored research, such as the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID). 

Life Sciences Industry Groups

For companies and researchers interested in connecting in Maryland, a few industry groups can be helpful, including Maryland Tech Council and BioHealth & Life Sciences. Other organizations can be viewed here