U.S. Department of Commerce Invests Approximately $52.9 Million to Boost Virginia’s Pharmaceutical Industry Through American Rescue Plan Regional Challenge
WASHINGTON – Today, President Biden will announce the Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (APM) Cluster as one of 21 winners of the $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge, the most impactful regional economic development competition in decades. Funded by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), the Regional Challenge is awarding approximately $52.9 million in grants to the Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (APM) Cluster, led by the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority (Activation Capital), to boost Virginia’s pharmaceutical industry.
With $52.9 million in funding from EDA, the Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (APM) Cluster will expand the domestic supply chain for essential medicines and critical active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). The projects funded as part of this award include expanding a nascent pharmaceutical manufacturing corridor in Central Virginia through investment in new wet lab space, development of critical infrastructure to sustain industrial capacity in Petersburg, and engagement with local business to enhance the regional pharmaceutical supply chain. The project will also catalyze a new partnership between Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia State University to create new pathways for underserved residents to high-quality training and jobs in the pharmaceutical industry.
“The Build Back Better Regional Challenge will invest in a critical industry that was impacted by the pandemic's supply chain disruptions, create a much-needed pipeline to recruit and train workers, and ensure underserved communities and workers benefit,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Cluster will generate a major boost to an emerging, regional industry of critical importance to American global competitiveness.”
“The Economic Development Administration is dedicated to working with communities to assist their strategies for pandemic recovery,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment will spur innovation, create jobs and build resiliency in Virginia’s economy.”
“After meeting with the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership and pushing the Department of Commerce to support this project, I am thrilled to see the Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Cluster Growth Hub named one of the American Rescue Plan Build Back Better Regional Challenge winners,” said Virginia Senator Mark Warner. “This support will continue to strengthen the foundation and accelerate the growth of pharmaceutical manufacturing in the United States. As a proud supporter of the American Rescue plan, I am glad to see that Virginia continues to reap the benefits through job creation and economic growth.”
“This award is evidence that Virginia is leading the way in prescription drug manufacturing, helping make us less dependent on foreign manufacturers,” said Virginia Senator Tim Kaine. “I’m excited that the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority is receiving federal funding to expand their work, develop critical infrastructure, and help Virginians access high-quality jobs. By making more medications here in Virginia, we can lower prescription drug costs for Americans. This transformative investment is another reason I’m proud to have voted for the American Rescue Plan, which passed the Senate in March 2021 by one vote.”
The Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (APM) Cluster is one of 21 winners – each a regional coalition of partnering entities – that will receive awards between $25 million and $65 million to implement an average of six integrative projects that will enable each region's economic transformation and competitiveness.
The Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC) is an unprecedented competitive federal grant program that provides each regional coalition with significant investments to tackle a wide variety of projects – including entrepreneurial support, workforce development, infrastructure, and innovation – to drive inclusive economic growth. Each coalition’s collection of projects aims to develop and strengthen regional industry clusters – all while embracing economic equity, creating good-paying jobs, and enhancing U.S. competitiveness globally. Projects span 24 states and include $87 million to two primarily Tribal coalitions and over $150 million for projects serving communities impacted by the declining use of coal.
The 21 BBBRC awardees were chosen from 60 EDA-designated finalists that each received approximately $500,000 in funding and technical assistance to continue developing their cluster strategies. The funding for each coalition is approximate, with awards to be signed later in September. Those 60 finalists were chosen from a Phase 1 applicant pool of 529 applications, which exemplifies the tremendous demand for transformational economic development approaches. EDA will continue to support all 60 finalists with the creation of a Community of Practice that will provide technical support, foster connectedness with peer regions and build capacity.
The Build Back Better Regional Challenge is one of EDA’s many programs aimed at building strong regional economies and supporting community-led economic development. EDA was allocated $3 billion in supplemental funding under the American Rescue Plan to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to build back better by accelerating economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be resilient to future economic shocks. As a part of this funding, EDA allocated $300 million through a Coal Communities Commitment to support coal communities in pandemic recovery and help them create new jobs and opportunities, including through the creation or expansion of a new industry sector. Specifically, EDA has dedicated $100 million of its Build Back Better Regional Challenge funds and $200 million of its Economic Adjustment Assistance funds to directly support coal communities. Grantees for EDA’s full suite of American Rescue Plan programs will be awarded on a rolling basis through September 30, 2022. For more information, visit https://www.eda.gov/ARPA/.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.