Biotech & Health

What AstraZeneca’s New $1.3 Billion Center Means for Its Gaithersburg Location

MBS Staff

Image: AstraZeneca's headquarters in Cambridge, UK.

AstraZeneca recently presented its newest research and development (R&D) center. In the presence of British Royalty management unveiled a $1.3 billion complex with more than 200,000 square feet that will house approximately 2,200 research scientists.

The state-of-the-art structure, officially known as The Discovery Centre (DISC), has been in the works for almost a decade, but its opening was delayed by nearly five years. AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot, Chairman Leif Johansson, and Charles, Prince of Wales, attended the unveiling.

The DISC has now joined the other two global strategic R&D centers, the Gothenburg, Sweden site and the Gaithersburg, Maryland campus, with its new home at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus in Cambridge, UK.

Even though The DISC also serves as AstraZeneca’s headquarters, the Gaithersburg site is still the largest of the three global research centers in terms of square footage and personnel count. According to Loopnet, the main building on campus at One MedImmune Way, has almost 1.7 million square feet, making it one of the top five largest office buildings in the D.C. area. On the campus, there are around 3,500 employees.

Career openings show Gaithersburg has 333 job vacancies, compared to 116 in Cambridge and 54 in Gothenburg. AstraZeneca has other facilities nearby, including 44 jobs along I-270 in Frederick and 163 openings in Wilmington, Delaware.

Montgomery County has received national attention over the past year and a half for significant involvement in COVID-19 research and vaccine development. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are based in the County as well as commercial companies like Gaithersburg-based Novavax (NYSE: NVAX) that is on the cusp of releasing their COVID-19 vaccine globally. The area’s therapeutics specialization has boosted commercial building growth and attracted several companies from out of state; nationally and internationally. Solidifying its standing as the epicenter of life sciences in the D.C. area. With more than $1 billion in annual expenditures, AstraZeneca’s Gaithersburg location fits in this space well as its primary hub for biologics activities and US-based Global Medicines Development activities for small and large molecules.