Photo:Altor Founder Hing C. Wong and Miramar City Manager Vernon E. Hargray
Fertile Ground For Key Growth Sectors
When Miramar-based cancer and infectious disease research company Altor BioScience Corp. was acquired in 2017 for $1 billion, it was more than Florida’s largest ever biotech acquisition. It was confirmation that Miramar is fertile ground for the state’s growing biotech and life science sector.
Altor founder Hing C. Wong is at it again. His latest start-up — HCW Biologics — is continuing Wong’s pursuit of immunotherapeutics for the treatment of cancer and age-related diseases. Today, HCW, an acronym for “Heaven Can Wait,” is thriving in the same Miramar corporate park where Wong founded Altor 17 years ago.
“We’re taking bioscience innovation and research from the bench to the bedside,” said Wong. “It’s all done here in Miramar.”
“Miramar is ripe for groundbreaking work across key business clusters,” said City Manager Vernon E. Hargray. Beyond biotech and life science, sectors include technology, aviation, logistics and education. In all, the city has more than a dozen corporate and office parks and hundreds of acres primed for further development.
The city’s growth was spurred by some $600 million in infrastructure projects and partnerships with Broward County and the state, as well as area businesses, developers and universities. Together, they’re bringing to life novel development, innovation zones and a regional business park that will result in a 21st Century “smart city.”
“Attracting clean industries and reduced traffic delivers a higher quality of life with low impact on residents and businesses alike,” Hargray said.
Nestled along the county’s southern edge, the city of 140,000 is within easy reach of the region’s three international airports and three seaports. Interstate 75 and Florida’s Turnpike put Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties’ diverse population of six million just a drive away.
For life science companies, as well as leading employers Spirit Airlines, Carnival Cruises, United Data Technologies, American Express and others, Miramar is ideal for a host of reasons. Wong’s rent is a third or less than that found in other bioscience markets like California’s Bay Area. Housing costs are far more affordable, especially for new hires earning a median salary of $72,000. Executives fleeing high-income tax states will find “Life Less Taxing” in Florida, which has no state income tax and relatively low sales taxes.
Those new hires are bountiful. Area schools include the University of Miami, Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University, Nova Southeastern University, Broward College and several others with robust STEM programs.
Miramar’s educational offering, subtropical climate, diverse culture, including the city’s Caribbean community, and lively entertainment options, make the location an easy sell for executives and companies alike.
“When you have a good name and reputation, and you’re in an attractive location, you can get anyone,” Wong said. “Miramar has a vision, and we are proud to be a part of it.”