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Press Releases - County Council

Council approves funding to develop a business plan for new global Pandemic Prevention and Biodefense Center in Montgomery County

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Joint effort initiated by County Executive Elrich and Councilmember Riemer will begin strategy phase with regional nonprofit Connected DMV

ROCKVILLE, Md., May 4, 2021— Today the Council approved a $500,000 appropriation to support the $2.5 million strategy phase for a new global Pandemic Prevention and Biodefense Center located in Montgomery County with Connected DMV, which is a regional nonprofit focused on solving complex regional challenges across the Washington metropolitan area.

The center would establish Montgomery County as the global epicenter for pandemic prevention and accelerate economic development for pandemic prevention solutions. A site exploration team will work to identify and finalize a site location in the County for the center in the coming months.

Councilmember Hans Riemer, who chairs the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee, initiated this special appropriation, which was approved unanimously by the Council. This funding will be used to create a business plan for the center.

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, who is a steering committee member for the Connected DMV Global Pandemic Prevention and Biodefense Center, coordinated with the Council to advance this initiative.

“I am thrilled to have worked with my colleagues, Connected DMV, and the County Executive to advance this initiative,” said Councilmember Hans Riemer. “Montgomery County is already one of the world’s foremost centers of BioHealth research and development and is the natural home for this new Pandemic Prevention and Biodefense Center. The brilliant scientists Connected DMV has brought together have a plan to ensure the world is better prepared to stop the next pandemic before it starts. I look forward to working with all the stakeholders to make this vision a reality.”

“I attended the first meeting of this steering committee because I shared both their vision and their concerns about the state of research,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Before COVID-19, we were warned about the need to aggressively prepare for future pandemics, and as a nation, we did not heed that advice. We missed it on COVID-19 - we can’t afford to miss it again.”

According to Elrich, “We were fortunate that there were some companies that were able to pivot their work to develop vaccines, but it’s clear that there’s much more work to do, and we have to be better prepared in creating a center where the research can allow us to act quickly. It’s critical for the health of our residents and ultimately for the health of the economy. Being the home of the National Institutes of Health and a multitude of life science companies combined with our geographic proximity to the nation’s capital and our educated workforce, Montgomery County is ideally situated for this project to succeed. I want to thank Connected DMV for this opportunity and the Council for their support.”

"Montgomery County is one of the leading life sciences hubs of the world, so it makes perfect sense for the Global Pandemic Prevention and Biodefense Center to be located here," said Council President Tom Hucker. "Our products and talents are saving lives every minute and helping the entire world recover from COVID-19. Nowhere else is positioned as well as Montgomery County is to properly support this life-saving resource."

The Pandemic Prevention and Biodefense Center will identify and launch strategic projects needed to advance pandemic avoidance and preparedness, while providing the necessary collaboration and coordination for updated public health policy, research and discovery, applied technology, trials, manufacturing and distribution for strategic solutions.

“We appreciate the proactive engagement, confidence and collaborative nature in which Montgomery County is supporting this effort,” said the CEO of Connected DMV Stu Solomon. “Our collective efforts will generate economic growth in Greater Washington in support of the moonshot mission to prevent future pandemics, ensuring that what we just experienced with the COVID-19 crisis need not happen again.”

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More information about the special appropriation can be found in the staff report here.

Release ID: 21-192
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 240-777-7926 , Scott Peterson 240-277-9412