Maryland biotech expanding into new Gaithersburg headquarters

By September 8, 2017News

Gaithersburg-based immunotherapy company Altimmune Inc. announced Tuesday it plans to expand into a new headquarters, but it’s not going far.

Altimmune (NASDAQ: ALT) officials said they plan to relocate existing employees — as well as new employees acquired as a result of its acquisition of Annapolis biodefense company PharmAthene Inc. — to a 14,000-square-foot space at 910 Clopper Road. The company is currently based at 19 Firstfield Road, less than a mile away.

The company is getting help in the form of state and local incentives. Altimmune picked up a $150,000 conditional loan from the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund and a $100,000 conditional grant through Montgomery County’s Economic Development Fund. It is also eligible for a grant up to $50,000 from the city of Gaithersburg, in addition to state tax credits for creating jobs.

The space is expected to be ready by the first quarter of 2018. Altimmune has 14 full-time employees and plans to add 45 jobs over the next four years.

Altimmune is an immunotherapy company focused on infectious diseases such as anthrax, as well as acute respiratory infections, chronic viral infections, and cancer. It is one of a number of small local companies that the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, has backed to produce anthrax vaccine candidates.

Altimmune had $90.9 million in assets in the quarter ending June 30, including $8.4 million in cash and cash equivalents. The company reported $3 million in revenue for the quarter ending June 30, up 300 percent from revenue of $746,000 the same quarter a year prior.

The company reported a net loss of $3.1 million in the quarter ending June 30, a change of about 93 percent from a loss of $1.6 million in the same quarter in 2016.

Gaithersburg-based Emergent BioSolutions Inc. has the only Food and Drug Administration-approved anthrax vaccine. Its drug, BioThrax, was approved in 2002 for pre-exposure protection from anthrax-causing bacteria. Last year, Emergent received a $31 million contract from BARDA for a next-generation vaccine called NuThrax.

PharmAthene has a next-generation anthrax vaccine called SparVax. But the company filed a complaint against the Department of Health and Human Services last year, claiming the government was giving a de facto sole-source anthrax contract to Emergent.

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