HCC unveils its new biotechnology facility

(February 14, 2008) - State and county officials helped dedicate the new biotechnology labs addition to the Technical Innovation Center (TIC) at Hagerstown Community College on Tuesday. The 4,000 square-foot facility includes 11 private wet labs and one common lab for lease by start-up biotech and life science firms.
     
“This is a huge boost to the area’s economic development efforts,” said HCC President Guy Altieri. “This type of facility greatly enhances HCC’s role in providing training and support for start-up businesses that will bring more high-skill, high-wage jobs to the county.”
     
Greg Grillo, president of Nanolytics, LLC, signed the first lease agreement following the dedication. Chris Marschner, manager of the TIC, said three other agreements are pending. He expects the facility to be fully leased by the end of June.
     
Funding for the $1.3 million project came from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) and the Washington County Board of County Commissioners. Construction began in July 2007 and concluded in February.

According to Marschner, the new biotech start-up companies will serve as a nucleus for the life science industry within Washington County. “This cluster of activity will provide economic development officials with a visible presence to reference when recruiting larger life science firms to the area,” he said.
     
“This extraordinary facility is the cornerstone in building the economy of tomorrow in Washington County,” said David Edgerley, secretary of the Maryland DBED. “The county commissioners, the college and the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission should be commended for supporting this impressive project.”
     
“TEDCO is pleased to support the continued growth and success of the TIC at HCC,” said John Wasilisin, vice president and chief operating officer of TEDCO. “The new wet lab space is a valuable asset to the life sciences economy in Washington County and western Maryland.”
     
To further assist in the effort, HCC officials developed a related biotechnology curriculum that began in the fall of 2007. Students have the option to earn a certificate or degree in biotechnology at HCC and participate in internship opportunities available in the new wet labs facility.
     
“The ability to provide students with internships on campus is a big benefit,” said Melanie Ulrich, lead biotechnology instructor. “Internships are key to getting jobs in this field.”
     
HCC’s TIC is a full-service business incubator that fosters the growth of new and expanding businesses by providing access to advanced technologies, business development resources and collaborative opportunities. An integral part of its mission is to create and retain high-quality employment opportunities for HCC’s students and the quad-state community.

Department