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Monday, December 6th, 2021

Maryland touts COVID-19 R&D efforts among nearly 40 local companies, universities

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Thanks to the efforts of nearly 40 companies and universities in the state of Maryland, millions of dollars have been dedicated to the research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and tests for COVID-19, Gov. Larry Hogan announced this week.

Those efforts include millions in funding dedicated by the University System of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University and more than $3 billion acquired for vaccine development by state-based life sciences companies Novavax, Emergent BioSolutions, Longhorn Vaccines and Diagnostics, and Altimmune. Even better, they have begun to show results on their investments, such as the recently started phase 3 trials of a COVID-19 vaccine by the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

“On the day of our first coronavirus cases, I said that Maryland was home to some of the top health research facilities in the world, and vowed that we would be a part of developing treatments and perhaps even a vaccine for this deadly virus,” Hogan said. “I want to commend our world-class life sciences community, our universities, and federal research labs for working together to fight this unprecedented global pandemic. Our state will continue to lead on the road to recovery.”

Of the funds secured by companies, Novavax was awarded $1.6 billion by Operation Warp Speed to aid late-stage clinical development and large-scale manufacturing efforts that would put it on track to deliver 100 million vaccine doses this year, along with another $388 million from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and $60 million from the U.S. Department of Defense. Emergent signed a series of contracts with other companies and Operation Warp Speed to support its development and manufacturing efforts with $1.5 billion in funding.

Longhorn took in $225 million from a contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to transport clinical samples to testing labs. Altimmune was awarded $4.7 million from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, for joint work with Vigene Biosciences to create a single-dose intranasal vaccine.

“Maryland’s life sciences cluster enhances our ability to partner with pharmaceutical and biotechnology innovators,” Robert Kramer, president and CEO of Emergent BioSolutions, said. “Along with our longstanding partnership with the federal government in support of its efforts to combat public health threats, we are uniquely positioned to work quickly to help advance vaccine and hyperimmune therapeutic candidates.”