Two Va. projects are finalists for $100M U.S. EDA grants
Proposals are two of 60
Two Virginia projects — one to make Central Virginia an advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing hub and one to support the transportation and logistics cluster in Southern and Southwest Virginia — are two of 60 finalists for the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge, which will provide awardees with up to $100 million each.
The pharmaceutical project is based in Central Virginia.
“We’re thrilled to have the Richmond MSA’s proposal on advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing selected as among the top 10% of all proposals submitted,” Jennifer Wakefield, president and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership, said in a statement. “This is a critical win for the region and an important next step in the work to revolutionize how pharmaceuticals are made here in the U.S.”
A Richmond-based coalition of public and private organizations proposed the Advanced Pharmaceutical Cluster Growth Project, which aims to develop and scale the advanced pharmaceutical industry in the Richmond/Petersburg region. The initiative’s founding leadership board includes Activation Capital, AMPAC Fine Chemicals, the city of Petersburg, the city of Richmond, Civica Inc., the Community College Workforce Alliance, the Greater Richmond Partnership, Medicines for All Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University, Phlow Corp., the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Virginia’s Gateway Region and Virginia State University.
“Growing the advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing industry in Central Virginia will benefit not only the region, but the nation, as it is an issue of national security, as many of our country’s most essential medicines are currently being produced overseas,” Activation Capital President and CEO Chandra Briggman said in a statement.
As a finalist, the coalition will receive $500,000 to develop a plan to scale the existing pharmaceutical manufacturing and research and development cluster. The plan has six component projects that would invest in infrastructure, workforce development and education, as well as construct a pharma manufacturing demonstration facility and expand a wet lab space in Activation Capital’s VA Bio+Tech Park in Richmond.
The VA Bio+Tech Park is a life sciences and emerging technologies development. With 1.2 million developed square feet on 34 acres, the park is home to nearly 70 companies, research institutes and state or federal laboratories.
Virginia Tech proposed “The Future of Transportation and Logistics” project to support the local transportation and logistics cluster in the area and to accelerate the adoption of electric and automated vehicles. Tech’s plan uses three projects to provide more accessible technology testbeds and networks for tech transfer, business development support and talent development services.
The proposal builds upon the regions’ existing strengths in vehicle manufacturing, digital technology research and development and vehicle test and evaluation, Tech said in its proposal.
The U.S. EDA received 529 applications in the challenge’s first phase. In the second phase, finalists will compete for implementation assistance, and the EDA will select 20 to 30 winners to receive up to $100 million to implement three to eight projects that support an industry sector. The Build Back Better Challenge uses $1 billion of the $3 billion in supplemental funding that the agency received under the American Rescue Plan.
Established in 1993, the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority, dba Activation Capital, is an ecosystem development organization. Its mission is to grow life sciences and other advanced technology innovation by promoting scientific research and economic development that attracts and creates jobs and companies.