BTEC to have role in new National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals

Published Dec. 19, 2016

BTEC and NC State will participate in a new innovation institute to advance U.S. leadership in biopharmaceutical manufacturing. The National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL), announced by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker on Dec. 16, 2016, is the first institute awarded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) from an ”open topic” competition.

Comprised of a partnership of more than 150 members from industry, academia, non-profit organizations, state governments, and regional organizations representing 25 states, the new institute will be dedicated to accelerating innovation in biopharmaceutical manufacturing, developing standards and measurement science for the industry, and creating a well-trained workforce for the field’s high-paying jobs. With a $70 million federal investment and an investment of at least $129 million from consortium members, NIIMBL will advance the nation’s competitiveness by developing more efficient and rapid biopharmaceutical manufacturing processes and preparing students for well-paying jobs in the field.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC), NC State and the state of North Carolina,” says BTEC Director Ruben Carbonell, who helped author the proposal to NIST and serves as NIIMBL’s chief technology officer. “BTEC will play a key role in workforce development, including academic and industry training programs, as well as process and analytical services and research,” he added. More than 30 NC State faculty members have expressed interest in participating in the research that will be funded by NIIMBL, he added.

In addition to NC State, academic institutions in North Carolina participating in the consortium include UNC–Wilmington, UNC–Charlotte, UNC–Chapel Hill, North Carolina Central University, East Carolina University, and the North Carolina Community College System. Other participants include NCBIO and the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, and numerous firms with facilities in the state, such as Pfizer, Grifols, Biogen and Novo Nordisk. North Carolina is home to more than 600 life science companies, and biotechnology is responsible for $73 billion of the state’s annual economic activity.

NIIMBL will be operated by a newly formed non-profit called USA Bio LLC, and comprises a team that represents all of the elements required to make a biopharmaceutical drug, from the equipment makers and suppliers of raw materials, to the companies developing new treatments and readying them for clinical trials and regulatory approval, to the clinics treating patients.

The University of Delaware will administer a cooperative agreement on behalf of USA Bio in partnership with the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).