Hoeven: Aldevron Groundbreaking Highlights Benefits of Tech Entrepreneurship

Senator Working to Support Innovators, Helped Secure Increased Biomedical Research Funding at NIH

FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today helped break ground on the first phase of Aldevron’s 189,000 square foot expansion, which will consist of increased production capacity, warehouse space and a research and development center. The new facility will connect to the $30 million headquarters the company opened last year and be built over the next two years, allowing Aldevron to employ more than 1,000 people in the Fargo area.

Michael Chambers and John Ballantyne started Aldevron in a single lab at North Dakota State University (NDSU) in 1998. Since that time, the company has grown to more than 350 employees in North Dakota, Wisconsin and Germany. Aldevron specializes in DNA and protein production technologies and is making key advancements in areas like gene therapy and vaccines.

Hoeven has worked to promote North Dakota’s biotechnology sector since he was governor, starting with the state’s Centers of Excellence project in 2003, of which Aldevron has served as a private sector partner. Hoeven also previously worked through his role on the Senate Appropriations Committee to support Aldevron's successful bid for naval research funding to develop a malaria vaccine. The grant helped Aldevron build its capabilities in pharmaceutical manufacturing, which have been leveraged into millions of dollars of subsequent investment and the company's continued growth.

“Aldevron already has the largest plasmid manufacturing facility in the world, and the expansion that they are starting today moves them even further ahead of the competition,” said Hoeven. “This isn’t just good news for the Fargo area – it means a higher quality of life for people around the world who will have greater access to breakthrough treatments and cures. That’s exactly why we work to promote entrepreneurs like Michael Chambers and John Ballantyne. Doing so helps create good jobs and opportunities here at home, while also addressing some of the most serious challenges we face in areas like health care, food production and energy development.”

Advancing Tech Entrepreneurship

Aldevron’s continued investment in North Dakota aligns with Hoeven’s work to promote entrepreneurship and grow the state’s technology sector, which serves as the third wave in North Dakota’s economic growth. As part of his efforts, Hoeven holds his State of Technology Conference each year to highlight breakthrough technologies and the local innovators creating them. This year’s conference featured James Brown, Aldevron’s Vice President of Corporate Development, who presented on the company’s ongoing efforts to develop new treatments and address unmet medical needs.

Hoeven’s efforts to promote innovation and investment like this have helped diversify the state’s economy and add value to its traditional industries, like agriculture and energy. In order to further support entrepreneurs, the senator is advancing the Portable Benefits for Independent Workers Pilot Program Act, bipartisan legislation he helped introduce that would make portable benefits more accessible for entrepreneurs and provide greater certainty for them and their families. Hoeven also joined the Entrepreneurship Caucus, which works to address the issues facing the nation’s entrepreneurs and small businesses, bolster the creation of startups and increase capital investment flowing into the U.S.

Supporting Biomedical Research

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Hoeven has worked to advance the nation’s biomedical research and helped secure increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in recent years. Research initiatives at the NIH and other agencies have directly supported medical research at North Dakota institutions, including NDSU and the University of North Dakota. Hoeven stressed that these public investments help realize the kinds of innovation seen at Aldevron, keeps the nation on the cutting-edge of medical advancements and helps generate significant, long-term private investment.