Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Ceres Nanosciences, Inc., a life sciences company that makes innovative products to improve diagnostic testing, will expand its operation in Prince William County’s Innovation Park to increase the manufacturing capacity of its Nanotrap® Magnetic Virus Particles for COVID-19 tests. The project will create up to 50 new jobs in the engineering, advanced manufacturing, and materials sciences fields over the next three years and help establish a stable supply of testing reagents to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and ensure future readiness.
“This expansion will enable Ceres Nanosciences to vastly increase production of its patented technology to support current and future COVID-19 testing needs both in the Commonwealth and around the country,” said Governor Northam. “The company’s decision to reinvest in Prince William County affirms its strong commitment to the Commonwealth and our world-class workforce. We are proud that Northern Virginia provides an environment that has empowered Ceres to reach this impressive level of growth from its start as a small business.”
Ceres Nanosciences is a privately held company located in Prince William County, focused on incorporating its novel Nanotrap® particle technology into a range of diagnostic and research products and workflows. The Nanotrap® particle technology can improve diagnostic testing by capturing, concentrating, and preserving low abundance analytes from biological samples. The Nanotrap® particle technology was developed with support from the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Schmidt Futures, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
In September 2020, Ceres was awarded a $6.57 million contract from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADxSM) initiative. The RADx initiative was launched by NIH to speed innovation in the development, commercialization, and implementation of technologies for COVID-19 testing. Ceres’ Nanotrap® Magnetic Virus Particles improve diagnostic testing for SARS-CoV-2 by eliminating the need for RNA extraction kits, reducing sample processing time, and improving the sensitivity of the downstream assays in point-of-care systems and in high-throughput laboratory developed tests.
“Cutting-edge Virginia companies like Ceres Nanosciences are vital contributors to worldwide efforts to improve and expand COVID-19 testing,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “As we focus on the Commonwealth’s economic recovery, we are grateful to Ceres for creating valuable, 21st-century jobs in Prince William County, which continues to offer the company the talent and resources it needs to thrive.”
“Ceres chose to expand in Virginia because of the Commonwealth’s commitment to support the life sciences industry and provide valuable incentives to small businesses throughout every stage of their growth cycle,” said Ceres CEO Ross Dunlap. “Virginia has a deep well of scientific talent and resources that are critical for success in the biotech and life sciences industry.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Prince William County to secure the project for Virginia and will support Ceres Nanosciences’ job creation through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP), which provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs in order to support employee recruitment and training activities. As a business incentive supporting economic development, VJIP reduces the human resource costs of new and expanding companies. VJIP is state-funded, demonstrating Virginia’s commitment to enhancing job opportunities for citizens.
“As the first graduate of the Prince William Science Accelerator in 2018, Ceres Nanosciences continues to expand and bring highly skilled jobs to Innovation Park,” said Chair of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors Ann Wheeler. “We are a prime destination for inventors and innovators in the life sciences sector, and we are thrilled to see companies like Ceres Nanosciences thrive in our bioscience hub.”
“The expanded efforts of Ceres demonstrates its strong commitment to building critical partnerships with our public sector, the Northern Virginia region, and Prince William County,” said Senator Jeremy S. McPike. “I’m delighted to see these joint efforts continue as Virginians find crucial and collaborative ways to rebuild with a renewed focus on the health of every member of our community and dedication to shared success.”