This story was corrected on March 18, 2013. An explanation follows the story.
Biopharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca announced today it plans to create a research and development center in Gaithersburg, adding 300 jobs at MedImmune’s current location.
MedImmune’s director of corporate public relations, Tracy Rossin, said no new buildings are planned at this point. Biotech company MedImmune, which is owned by AstraZeneca, currently houses AstraZeneca’s biologics programs, geared toward the creation of vaccines and medications.
As part of the move, AstraZeneca will relocate its U.S.-based global marketing and specialty care commercial functions to Gaithersburg from Wilmington, Del. A new research and development center will be created, with AstraZeneca and MedImmune sharing staff.
“The majority of the teams will move gradually over the course of 30 months,” Rossin said. Employees relocating from AstraZeneca’s U.S. headquarters in Wilmington and other locations will be in Gaithersburg by the end of 2015.
Rossin said the corporate decision is not related to MedImmune’s recent application to amend its agreement with the city of Gaithersburg. The mayor and city council voted to allow MedImmune to develop beyond the square-footage limitations the city had previously set.
The initiative to get the agreement changed “predated” AstraZeneca’s organizational changes, Rossin said.
She was not able to comment on how much space would be needed for incoming staff.
“The long-term space plan for Gaithersburg is still under development,” she said.
Rich Bendis, president of Rockville-based BioHealth Innovations, said his organization is “encouraged” by the corporate decision to move into Gaithersburg.
“I think it’s one of the larger moves in the life sciences area,” he said.
According to Rossin, MedImmune comprises almost half of AstraZeneca’s overall research and development pipeline.
AstraZeneca employs over 57,000 people worldwide, according to Rossin. As part of a larger restructuring plan, AstraZeneca will cut 650 positions in the U.S. and relocate 170 more to other sites in the U.S. or overseas.
Gaithersburg Economic Development Director Tom Lonergan said MedImmune is currently the city’s second-largest employer, after the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
An earlier version of the story said staff would be relocated to Gaithersburg by the end of 2013. They will be relocated by the end of 2015.