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. Additionally, a 15% minority equity stake is required for BioPark developers.
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 ten years the University and RPC, working with the community, developers Wexford Science and Technology, APT, and the State of Maryland have:
- Built and maintained strong community support
- Acquired 12 acres of land
- Constructed two commercial research buildings, and a new State of Maryland Forensic Medical Center totaling 470,000 square feet and one parking garage with 638 parking spaces
- Created 650 jobs
- Generated $204 million in capital investment
In 2014, construction of a third multi-tenant building is expected to begin. A $200 million dollar Proton Cancer Treatment Center is under construction.
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 in the BioPark’s Building Two opened in 2009. Classes began for 200 MBA students at the University of Maryland Smith School of Business' new 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. One of these initiatives is the 4+2+2 program that aims to create a pathway in manageable steps for students coming out of schools like the nearby city public high school, the Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy, who may not have seen college in their future. After obtaining their four-year high school degree, students can pursue a two-year Associates degree a few blocks away at the Life Sciences Institute of the Baltimore City Community College that opened in the BioPark in 2009. From there, they could go on for two more years at the University to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in medical technology.
BioPark tenants already include the largest new Japanese investment in Maryland in 20 years, SNBL Clinical Pharmacology Center, and the two largest faculty recruitments in the 200-year history of the University of Maryland School of Medicine— the Center of Vascular and Inflammatory Diseases from the American Red Cross Holland Labs and the Institute for Genome Sciences from The Institute of Genomic Research (TIGR).
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 and Fyodor Biotechnologies that are based on technologies from UMB and Johns Hopkins. 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 BioPark Two, 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.
At full build-out, the BioPark will consist of 12 buildings totaling 1.8 million square feet, parking garages, landscaped parks, and $1 billion of capital investment concentrated in 12-acres. Approximately 3,000 people will work in the BioPark.
|2005||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.
|2006||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.
|2007||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)
|2009||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.
|2012||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"