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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD-Montgomery County officials have announced that two new biotechnology parks accounting for 155 acres are in development at Germantown, MD’s Montgomery College campus and at the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission-owned site in Calverton, MD.

Second only to California’s Silicon Valley in its concentration of biotechnology activity, Montgomery County’s new parks will further solidify its position as a leading research industry designation and will attract more companies to its cache of over 200 of the state’s 300 biotech firms. Speaking to GlobeSt.com, county spokesman Scott Sloat says, “Our eventual hope is we’ll have some sort of activity at one or both of the sites by the end of 2004.”

County and state organizations have committed $6 million to help get the projects started, but officials say it is too early to speculate on the millions that will go into getting the parks to full operational capacity. “At the Montgomery College site we haven’t purchased the property yet, and we haven’t picked a developer for the WSSC site,” Sloat notes.

The Calverton park is expected to occupy 40 acres and will include a new educational training building, a county-operated business incubator, as well as space for private technology firms. At the 115-acre WSSC park, or the East County Center for Science and Technology, plans include educational facilities, a telecommuter center, leasable space for private firms and a daycare facility.

The Department of Economic Development has already issued a Request for Expression of Interest for the East County Center, with a deadline of September 13. “The response has been so strong,” Sloat reveals. “Seventy organizations have been contacted or have expressed interest, so it could be October when we make a decision on a developer.”

Montgomery County’s 288-acre Shady Grove Life Sciences Center in Rockville–home to high-profile biotech firms Human Genome Sciences, BioReliance and EntreMed–serves as the archetype for both new centers. “Shady Grove has been hugely successful in establishing Montgomery County as an international biotechnology leader,” county executive Douglas M. Duncan says. “By replicating this proven concept in Calverton and Germantown, we can spur biotech and other technology development within those areas, expand economic opportunity throughout the County and maintain our strong position in the global economy.”

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