Given the state of the economy and proximity of Maryland’s biotech corridor, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority’s new incubator in northern Virginia faces an inauspicious future. But the FCEDA is confident that its 7,000-square-foot Bioinformatics Center, launched and managed by UK-based Angle Technology, will succeed.
“Bioinformatics will remain an important component of the drug development and healthcare industries, even though some bioinformatics companies are currently undergoing significant challenges to their business models,” says Gary Evans, CEO of Angle.
“And what’s really driven the growth of our economy over the last decade,” says Gerald Gordon, FCEDA’s president and CEO, “has been the information technology sector.”
Gordon sees opportunities arising from existing scientific resources in the area. “We have NIH just over the Potomac River. We have all this science that has grown up in Montgomery County. We have all the IT support here. And that marriage gives us a great opportunity to attract these companies,” Gordon says.
The FCEDA also hopes to house companies it helped create in the incubator, slated to open by this month. It originally chose the Springfield location because of Northern Virginia Community College’s new medical complex there. NVCC, along with George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, and Inova Health System have partnered with the FCEDA.
The collaboration has produced a variety of educational opportunities in medicine and medical technologies, all based in Springfield. Any company generated from this brainpower can be incubated in the Bioinformatics Center and may then return to the schools to train and hire employees. “You can go from the cradle to the grave, in terms of corporations and career, all right there,” Gordon says.
— Diana Jong