Retiring councilmember Mike Knapp (D-Germantown) said he is working on plans for a company that would connect members of the growing biotechnology industry in Montgomery County. The company, or groups of companies, would serve as liaison between different sectors of the biotech industry. It would enable developments within one company, or college, to be implemented within other biotech companies.
"There is tremendous potential for the life sciences in Montgomery County," Knapp said. "If we don't do it now, we'll have missed out on a big opportunity." Knapp said harnessing the potential for biotech expansion in the county would "create an environment of entrepreneurialism around the life sciences."
During Friday's groundbreaking for the expansion of the QIAGEN biotechnology research corporation, County Executive Isiah (Ike) Leggett spoke of the, "vision of Montgomery County to become the global location of choice for life sciences around the world." Leggett also spoke of the capacity for private and public development initiatives to become a "catalyst for economic growth locally."
Montgomery County's biotechnology resources include biomedical research from John's Hopkins University's Montgomery County campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the University of Maryland, the growing biotechnology program at Montgomery College, proximity to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), MedImmune and QIAGEN.
As a part of his work in supporting life sciences in the county, Knapp also participated in the Great Seneca Science Corridor Plan, approved in May. The plan includes a project with Johns Hopkins University and is expected to create more than 50,000 jobs.
Knapp hopes his company will contribute to attracting biotech companies to the area, increasing development and job opportunities. Knapp expects to have further developments in his plan by January.