Mission & History
The mission of the BioPark is to create a university-associated research park that accelerates biotechnology commercialization and economic development in the surrounding community and throughout the region.
The creation of the BioPark was a first for the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) in that it expanded the campus westward across the wide, busy thoroughfare that is Martin Luther King Boulevard. MLK has served as an effective border cutting off the campus and Baltimore’s central business district from mostly poor neighborhoods like the BioPark’s Poppleton community to the west. Most of the land on which the BioPark sits has been vacant for years or was occupied by vacant commercial properties.
In 2003 the University of Maryland, Baltimore created a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, the University Health Sciences Research Park Corporation (RPC), to direct the Park’s activities. Led by James L. Hughes, Vice President for Research and Development for the University, a small group of UMB Office of Research and Development employees provides staffing to the RPC to manage the project with oversight from a 10-member private sector board of directors.
The Research Park Corporation has committed to meeting the City of Baltimore's Minority Business Enterprise & Women's Business Enterprise goals in the development of the BioPark.
When RPC launched the BioPark initiative in 2003, it seemed to many an unlikely project. Baltimore was not a biotech center and another project, the Science and Technology Park at Johns Hopkins, was already on the drawing board. Also, the proposed location for the BioPark was in one of Baltimore’s more troubled neighborhoods, with a per capita income of $16,000 per annum and a crime rate well above the City’s average.
Despite these obstacles, in the past 15 years the University and RPC, working with the community, developers Wexford Science and Technology, MPTC, and the State of Maryland have:
- Built and maintained strong community support
- Acquired 14 acres of land
- Constructed two commercial research buildings, a State of Maryland Forensic Medical Center, the Maryland Proton Treatment Center, a new innovation space called The Grid and one parking garage with 638 parking spaces
- Created 1,000 jobs
- Generated over $450 million in capital investment, including the Maryland Proton Treatment Center which opened in 2015.
The BioPark is creating tangible benefits for the community. A 24/7 campus police substation has greatly improved security in the immediate area. New landscaping, additional trash pick-up, and the removal of vacant buildings are gradually improving the area’s appearance while adding some much needed green space. The BioPark has also brought the first bank branch, the Harbor Bank of Maryland, to the neighborhood in two decades, providing a full range of banking services to tenants and residents, a much needed café with indoor and outdoor seating. 200 MBA students at the University of Maryland Smith School of Business' Baltimore BioPark location.
The Research Park Corporation is dedicated to supporting community development initiatives. A dedicated fund supported by a small portion of tenant rent payments has provided grants for community projects including the purchase of lab and computer equipment for the nearby Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy, a Baltimore City health sciences magnet high school. An earlier donation supported job training of Poppleton residents through the Poppleton Village Center. Additionally, BioPark tenants have conducted coat and mitten drives, hosted Halloween trick or treating, and several investments in technology related tools for the classrooms for students at the neighboring James McHenry Elementary School.
To foster the BioPark’s economic and community development mission, the BioPark is also supporting education and workforce development initiatives that will train city residents for potential jobs in the BioPark. Students can pursue a two-year Associates degree at the Life Sciences Institute of the Baltimore City Community College . From there, they could go on for two more years at the University to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in medical technology.
Building a Community of Science
The BioPark serves as a launching point for companies that have graduated from area incubators and/or spun-out of local universities. These include University spin-outs Gliknik, Advanced Metrics, and Breethe that are based on technologies from UMB. For the first building, BioPark management was able to leverage Maryland Sunny Day funds that helped new tenant companies pay for the very expensive build-out of their lab space. In 801 West Baltimore Street, the BioInnovation Center offers pre-built wet lab and office space for emerging companies. A $1 million no-interest loan from the Maryland Technology Development Corporation was secured to help finance this initiative. As the BioPark grows, more amenities and programs such as a stable of business advisory providers have been added to further the objective of fostering a growing science community.
- Feasibility study completed by Hammer, Siler, George Associates
- University of Maryland Research Park Corporation incorporated as a not-for-profit
- Townsend Capital selected to develop 800 W. Baltimore Street
- $4 million Sunny Day investment approved to provide subsidy to biotech companies for fit-out of research space
- Initial 4.7 acres zoned for biomedical research park
- Initial 4.7 acres acquired from City of Baltimore
- 800 W. Baltimore Street Ground Breaking
- Garage One Ground Breaking
- BioPark public safety substation opens
- Acquired 825 and 829 West Baltimore Street parcels
- 800 W. Baltimore Street Opens
- 120,000 square feet, $36 million capital investment
- Garage One Opens
- 638 parking spaces, $13 million capital investment
- Wexford Science & Technology submits proposal to develop BioPark Two
- 800 W. Baltimore Street 100% leased and occupied
- 801 W. Baltimore Street Ground Breaking
- New Maryland Forensic Medical Center awarded to BioPark
- Additional 4.3 acres of land in 900 block of Baltimore Street acquired from City of Baltimore
- Acquired 873-881 West Baltimore jointly with Wexford
- Acquired 8-14 S. Poppleton properties - BioPark now 10 acres
- TEDCO approved $1 million loan fund for the BioInnovation Center
- New Commercial Building RFP awarded to Wexford Science & Technology, includes $1 million for community project
- 801 W. Baltimore Street opens in July
- 238,000 square feet, $80 million capital investment
- Improved landscaping on city-owned gateway parks at Martin Luther King Boulevard and West Baltimore Street
- Demolition and excavation for BioPark Three
- Groundbreaking for Maryland Forensic Medical Center
- Expanded master plan completed
- Donated $30,000 community fund to Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy
- Rooftop sign installed
- Acquired vacant Poppleton Co-Op properties jointly with Wexford
- Major infrastructure projects for gas, teledata and electric duct bank began
- Demolished 829 W. Baltimore Street
- Created two public park areas
- Forensic Medical Center Opens
- 120,000 square feet, $40 million capital investment
- Rezoned BioPark, expanded master plan
- Groundbreaking New Proton Treatment Center
- 110,000 square feet, $200 million capital investment
- Acquired vacant commercial properties in the 700 block of West Baltimore Street.
- Maryland Proton Treatment Center begins treating patients
- New innovation space called The Grid opened at 875 Hollins Street
- Acquired city-owned parcels in the 700 block of West Baltimore Street.
At full build-out, the BioPark will consist of 12 buildings totaling 2 million square feet, parking garages, landscaped parks, and $1 billion of capital investment concentrated in 14-acres. Approximately 3,000 people will work in the BioPark.
- Townsend Capital and the University of Maryland, Baltimore won the Baltimore Business Journal’s “Heavy Hitters in Commercial Real Estate.”
- 800 W. Baltimore Street received a Silver Level LEED certification for environmental friendliness.
- 800 W. Baltimore Street received a commendation from the City of Baltimore for surpassing the City’s goals with 35% Minority Business Enterprise participation in the design and construction of the building.
- Then Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich declared the BioPark the first “Maryland Priority Place” in recognition of its positive impact on the economic development of the surrounding community.
- Alessio Fasano, Director of the University of Maryland Center for Mucosal Biology was named the University of Maryland “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
- Wexford Science and Technology receives the Daily Record’s award for “Top Green Project” for 801 W. Baltimore Street.
- BioPark named "Emerging University Research Science Park of the Year" by the Association of University Research Parks (AURP)
- David J. Ramsay, DM, DPHil, President University of Maryland, Baltimore received the Greater Baltimore Technology Council’s annual Beta Award recognizing individuals with deep impacts on the local tech community.
- The Association of University Research Parks (AURP) awarded Dr. Ramsay with the Community Leadership Award that recognizes a business, university or governmental leader who has made an outstanding contribution to the success and total community impact of a university research and technology park.
- SNBL Clinical Pharmacology Center received the 13th annual Maryland International Business Leadership Award given by the World Trade Center Institute
- Glknik awarded “Best New Incubator Company for 2009” during the annual Maryland Incubator of the Year awards ceremony.
- Paragon Bioservices, Inc. wins the 2012 CMO Leadership Award for Quality, Reliability and Regulatory Compliance.
- CEO Marco Chacon named as PharmaVoice "100 of the Most Inspiring People"
- Paragon Bioservices, a global leader in the manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals and vaccines, is recipient of BBJ's Fast 50 Award.
- AURP names UM BioPark Research Park of the Year.