Dutch biotech Qiagen Sciences will soon expand its operations in Montgomery County by closing its Gaithersburg facility and relocating employees there into a newly built addition for manufacturing at its main Germantown campus.
“The 250 employees in Gaithersburg will all move into the Germantown facility between now and the first quarter of next year,” said Sean Augerson, vice president, global supply chain and strategic partner management for the company.
Qiagen‘s sample and assay operations make products that take samples of blood, tissue and bodily fluids to extract genetic material. Those products are then used to analyze and prepare the samples for detection or risk of diseases.
Recent approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of the new three-story, 56,000-square-foot addition on the corporate campus on Md. 118 at Dawson Farm Road in Germantown means the company will shift production of its Digene HC2 HPV Test, which detects cervical cancer, to Germantown.
The human papillomavirus is the primary cause of cervical cancer in women, and screening for the infection increases the chances of early treatment and prevention.
But the new FDA-approved manufacturing lines also mean that in the future, Qiagen also can manufacture additional FDA-regulated products in Germantown.
Among those would be Qiagen’s QuantiFERON-TB Gold test for latent tuberculosis, according to a company news release.
“We’re excited about this. It’s an opportunity to grow,” Augerson said. “We can now submit [to the FDA] for other things to be manufactured here.”
Augerson said Qiagen doesn’t plan to hire more employees as a result of the consolidation but expects to hire in the future as it expands its product lines.
The Gaithersburg employees, who work in a leased building on Clopper Road, will be joining employees in the Germantown headquarters who also make life science products that don’t need FDA approval and employees in the legal, administrative, quality control, finance and marketing divisions.
Renovations are underway in the main building to create an open-office environment with natural light. The consolidation will bring the total number of employees in Germantown to about 500, Augerson said.
Qiagen also employs about 110 people in leased space in Frederick, and that operation will continue as usual, he said.
“That facility is more lab-based and no decisions have been made about [moving it],” he said.
Qiagen’s operational headquarters are in Germany. In 2000, it relocated its U.S. headquarters from California to a new building in Germantown, which is now its North American headquarters.
In 2007 Qiagen bought Digene Corp. of Gaithersburg for $1.6 billion and in 2009 it paid $90 million to acquire SA Biosciences Corp. of Frederick, where it manufactures life sciences products.
Last year, Qiagen reported a profit of $69.1 million, down from $129.5 million in 2012. Sales, however, grew to $1.30 billion from $1.25 billion.