Biotech & Health

Montgomery County Biotechs Make Cover Story For CBS News Sunday Morning Show

MBS Staff
CBS News Sunday Morning - Montgomery Biotech - Emergent

Image: CBS News Sunday Morning, June 28 cover story featuring Montgomery County's biotech industry.

Of all the regions in the world that have Biotechnology firms vying for a COVID-19 vaccine — CBS News Sunday Morning — picked Montgomery County’s biotech region as the focus to find out what it’s like trying to develop a vaccine for the Coronavirus.

At the center of the long running, and critically acclaimed, morning show’s segment was a story about Gaithersburg-based Emergent BioSolutions (NYSE: EBS).

Emergent has gained national attention in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has cemented itself as a the “backbone” for life sciences companies all over the country that are developing a COVID-19 vaccine.

Emergent has signed manufacturing agreements with several companies including Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), AstraZenca, with its largest US campus in Gaithersburg; and Gaithersburg-based Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX), which itself gained national attention and a skyrocketing market value as a result of COVID-19 — all companies were mentioned during the news segment.

Sunday Morning's June 28 cover story titled "The race to find a COVID-19 vaccine" asks the question “So when will we have a vaccine?” Correspondent Martha Teichner peers into one of Emergent’s manufacturing biolabs via video conference. Sean Kirk, VP of Emergent discusses the vaccine manufacturing process while an employee connects tubes into a bioreactor.

Not only is the private industry taking a chance but so is the Federal Government and to the tune of $628 million solely for Emergent (as reported by the Montgomery Business Scene on June 1st). Emergent is tasked with manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines that will go towards the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile. Sunday Morning's segment pointed out, there’s no guarantee the vaccines will work and they could be discarded; however, the Federal Government is taking a chance anyway.

The clinical trials for COVID-19 are some of the fastest ever. The process that usually takes years is being reduced to just a matter of months.

As the Nation gets closer to an announcement, one of the most historic moments in human history will take place. The last and final phase 3 trials are about to begin for many companies. If FDA approved, Emergent will have the go-ahead to begin manufacturing at its facilities in Rockville and Baltimore. .

But perhaps Anchor Jane Pauley said it best “It’s not an understatement to say that the entire Nation’s hopes are focused on what’s happening right there, through that window [into an Emergent Biolab].”

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