DNA Alley

Like California's Silicon Valley and Massachusetts' Route 128, Montgomery County, Md., has been transformed in the past decade from a sleepy suburb into a bustling scientific Mecca. The 15-mile stretch of Interstate 270 that runs from Bethesda to Gaithersburg now houses one of the world's largest and smartest collections of genomic firms. The chief draw is the NIH, which dispenses $14 billion a year in research grants. But there are other attractions--proximity to Johns Hopkins, a start-up-friendly local government, an abundance of office space; and most of all, a critical mass of like-minded scientist-entrepreneurs determined to unravel the secrets of the...

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