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Vir Biotechnology Plans St. Louis, Missouri, Research Laboratory

Vir Biotechnology, a immunology research company, will invest more than $41 million to locate its laboratory and expand its presence in St. Louis, Missouri. The project is expected to create 36 jobs.

The company will establish a lab and offices in St. Louis’ 200-acre Cortex Innovation Community, a vibrant immunobiology and microbiology research community.

“Our close proximity to distinguished academic and scientific institutions, as well as leading medical centers, will be an important addition to our ongoing efforts to prevent and treat the world’s most serious infectious diseases,” said Lisa Purcell, PhD, vice president of microbiology and virology at Vir and St. Louis Site Head.

While the new space is renovated, Vir’s team will be located at Saint Louis University, which studies infectious diseases and treatments, develops vaccines, and prepares for public health crises through its Center for Vaccine Development. The Center has conducted pivotal research on vaccines for COVID-19 and a variety of other infectious diseases.

“Missouri’s vibrant bioscience industry is changing the lives of people here in Missouri and around the globe,” said Missouri Governor Mike Parson. “Vir is investing here because of our incredible talent and innovative approaches to global challenges, and we are proud to have them in our state. We look forward to their continued growth and success in Missouri.”

Vir brings together cutting-edge innovations with leading scientific expertise and management to take on some of the world’s most challenging infectious diseases for which solutions are non-existent or inadequate. The company seeks to take a new approach, using breakthroughs in immune programming to manipulate pathogen-host interactions.

“We are excited to welcome Vir to St. Louis, which is already home to an impressive list of companies and researchers. We are particularly thrilled that the company’s research efforts are led by Dr. Skip Virgin, former head of Washington University’s Department of Pathology & Immunology,” added David H. Perlmutter, MD, Washington University’s executive vice chancellor for medical affairs. “Skip made numerous brilliant contributions to the science of immunology and infectious disease during his 30-year tenure at the School of Medicine.”

Vir worked with Greater St. Louis Inc., Missouri Partnership, the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, and the St. Louis Development Corporation in their expansion efforts.Vir used the Missouri Works program, a tool that helps companies expand and retain workers by providing access to capital through withholdings or tax credits for job creation.

“Biotech was identified in the STL 2030 Jobs Plan as one of five strong clusters with the potential to drive future growth in the St. Louis region’s economy, and anchor institutions like Cortex, the Danforth Center, and 39 North have established St. Louis as a global destination for the sector,” said Jason Hall, CEO of Greater St. Louis, Inc. “Vir’s arrival further highlights our strength in biotech, and we welcome them to St. Louis.”

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