The Frederick County Council on Tuesday agreed to provide Ellume Ltd. with a nearly $400,000 tax credit for the Australian-based biopharmaceutical company to establish its U.S. headquarters in the county.
The tax credit is a condition of a $2 million loan from the state’s commerce department to assist Ellume, which signed a $230 million contract with the Department of Defense to produce at-home COVID-19 test kits, Helen Propheter, executive director for the county’s office of economic development, said at Tuesday’s meeting.
“Quite frankly, we wanted Ellume’s U.S. headquarters to be in Frederick,” Propheter said at Tuesday’s meeting.
Ellume pledges to bring 1,500 jobs to the county by the end of 2022, which would make it the county’s sixth largest employer — especially notable on the back end of the pandemic-induced economic crisis, Propheter said.
Assuming Ellume fills the 1,500 positions, which average a $64,000 annual wage, the county’s local income tax benefit would be more than $2 million annually, said Beth Woodring, director of business attraction and marketing for the office of economic development.
Ellume plans to offer an array of positions ranging in experience level, and while it will conduct a national search for more senior level positions, it hopes to eventually establish a pipeline workforce in coordination with Hood College, Mount St. Mary’s University, Frederick Community College and Frederick County Public Schools.
“I think it’s a great first step into so many different businesses in Frederick County,” Propheter said.
The state commerce department’s loan mandates that the county pay Ellume the tax credit, which equates to 10 percent of the loan amount, within three years.
The county plans to meet that requirement and offered to pay Ellume a relatively small amount of additional funding over the next three years as incentive for coming to Frederick.
Ellume’s facilities will be located at Progress Labs at Executive Court off Md. 85, and Propheter estimates the $106 million construction project will conclude by the end of 2021, at which point the company will immediately begin hiring.
When at-home COVID test kits are no longer needed, Ellume will manufacture test kits for other infectious diseases.