Emergent looks to move beyond defense work

Emergent BioSolutions, the maker of the only FDA-approved anthrax vaccine, is planning to renovate a 55,000-square-foot facility in Rockville, MD. Kyle Keese, senior vice president for manufacturing operations, tells the Washington Post that the company is planning to look beyond defense work into other areas of the drug business. Now that Emergent is the leader in anthrax vaccines, "we can start to move outside the biodefense realm and into more commercial segments."

Emergent is spending $30 million to renovate and expand the facility, which it purchased from the MdBio Foundation last year. The facility won't be ready to open until 2012. Once finished, the expansion will not only give Emergent more space to fill government contracts for BioThrax, but will also allow the developer to start testing commercial vaccines for ailments like tuberculosis and typhoid. Emergent executives expect the project to create 120 jobs over the next five years.

- here's the Washington Post story