The biotechnology company Thermo Fisher Scientific opened its recently expanded facility with a ribbon-cutting and tour Monday morning.
Thermo Fisher Scientific expanded the distribution center and added a new facility dedicated to handling cryogenic storage and the National Cancer Institute Repository for Clinical Trials. The center will now be the distribution hub for life sciences in North America.
Thermo Fisher Scientific, headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, has been in Frederick for about 30 years, said Dave Meadows, vice president and general manager for Fisher BioServices. There are also locations in Jessup, Rockville and Germantown.
Frederick County was the ideal location for the expanded facility because of its proximity to universities and research institutions such as Johns Hopkins University, Morgan State University, University of Maryland Medical System, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research and the National Cancer Institute, said Bret Schreiber, senior director of the Office of BioHealth and Life Sciences at the Maryland Department of Commerce.
For Mark Stevenson, chief operating officer of Thermo Fisher Scientific, the location also allows the company to meet goals of giving customers one-day service.
“It’s very important that we’re able to serve our customers in a timely manner when they order our product,” Stevenson said.
In addition to the improvements in distribution and life sciences, the new expansion allows Thermo Fisher Scientific to house a cybersecurity department. Stevenson said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony that cybersecurity is becoming a bigger priority in light of the hacks happening across the world and targeting major companies.
While Thermo Fisher Scientific has historically brought more jobs in the life sciences to Frederick, the cybersecurity division will open up more positions, said Helen Propheter, director of the county’s Office of Economic Development.
More jobs in Frederick means an increased possibility of more people moving to the company, using the facilities around the county and more students in the schools. It also works the opposite way. More jobs in the county will mean residents will have more options to work close to home, Propheter said.
Frederick County helped fast-track the necessary permits for the expansion due to a sensitive timeline, Propheter said.
One reason for the expedited expansion is the work done for the National Cancer Institute. The work is a competitive bid that Thermo Fisher Scientific must apply for every five years, said Niveen Mulholland, director of government operations for Fisher BioServices. The company has held the contract for 32 years.
The company needed to be able to support a 25 percent increase in growth each year as part of the contract, and the new facility will allow them to do so, Mulholland said.
In addition to the new space for the National Cancer Institute work, the expanded facility includes a space for the Cryo-Innovation Center. The space has 10 upright freezers and 45 cryogenic storage units, said Bruce Simpson, director of cell therapy for Fisher BioServices.
“It just blows my mind. It’s personalized medicine,” Simpson said.