Governor Gilmore Announces Pharming's Decision for Virginia
--Dutch biopharmaceutical firm to create 88 jobs in Craig, Montgomery Counties--
Richmond - After a private meeting today with executives from Pharming Healthcare, Inc., Governor Jim Gilmore announced that the company will locate two new biotechnology facilities in Virginia. The firm will build a transgenic cattle facility in Craig County and a milk processing facility in Blacksburg at Virginia Tech’s Corporate Research Center. Over the next 30 months, the company intends to create 88 new jobs and invest $37 million in buildings and equipment. Virginia successfully competed with Wisconsin for the project.
"Pharming’s decision to locate these cutting-edge facilities in western Virginia confirms that the Commonwealth is a leading location for biosciences," Governor Gilmore said. "Our exceptional support from universities and research parks has enabled a diverse array of bioscience industry clusters to thrive here. I am pleased that Virginia will play a major role in Pharming’s decision."
Pharming Healthcare, Inc. is a subsidiary of Pharming Group NV based in Leiden, the Netherlands. The parent company is an independent public biopharmaceutical company and a world leader in the development and production of human medicines from the milk of animals. The company’s range of healthcare interests includes medicines for genetic disorders, surgery and trauma, infectious diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and tissue and bone damage. Pharming has extensive patent coverage for a proprietary technology that allows it to generate transgenic animals capable of producing high levels of biopharmaceutical proteins in their milk. The company’s product development efforts demonstrate that biopharmaceuticals derived from milk afford the potential to develop, manufacture and commercialize safer, more cost-effective and plentiful biopharmaceutical products.
"We have selected western Virginia for this phase of Pharming Healthcare’s growth because it offers an excellent infrastructure, including conditions to satisfy regulatory requirements for the manufacture of transgenically derived biopharmaceuticals," Chairman of Pharming Healthcare, Inc. and President and CEO of Pharming Group NV George J.M. Hersbach said.
"Strong support from regional and state organizations was also a key factor in our decision," President and CEO of Pharming Healthcare, Inc. Otto H. Postma added.
William Velander, a Virginia Tech biochemical engineer, has collaborated with the American Red Cross (ARC) on the development of proteins for therapeutic uses for the past 11 years. In early 1998, ARC made an announcement of its historic alliance with Pharming. Under the partnership, Pharming focuses on the development of Factor VIII and fibrinogen produced in the milk of transgenic animals, using technology pioneered by William Drohan at ARC's Jerome Holland Laboratory, in conjunction with Velander's work conducted at Virginia Tech's Pharmaceutical Engineering Institute.
Governor Gilmore approved two grants from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund worth $200,000 each to assist Craig and Montgomery counties with site preparation. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the New River Valley Economic Development Alliance, the Roanoke Valley Economic Development Partnership, Virginia Tech, Craig County, Montgomery County and the Town of Blacksburg all assisted Pharming Healthcare, Inc. with its decision. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide workforce training services to Pharming. The Virginia Department of Transportation will assist the company with industrial road access funding.
"Over the last six years, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have invested over $300 million in Virginia for new facilities," Secretary of Commerce and Trade Barry E. DuVal said. "What was once a small industry segment in Virginia has become one of our fastest-growing, and now includes over 370 companies statewide."