Massachusetts selected to partner in biopharmaceutical manufacturing innovation

UMass Medical School to participate in public-private partnership to develop and commercialize new advanced manufacturing technologies

UMass Medical School Communications

December 20, 2016

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has been named a partner in the nation’s first manufacturing innovation institute in biopharmaceutical manufacturing, and UMass Medical School is one of five universities supporting the effort, according to an announcement from Gov. Charlie Baker.

The $250 million biopharmaceutical innovation institute is a national public-private partnership awarded through Manufacturing USA, a federally authorized network of manufacturing innovation institutes. Federal matching funds for the manufacturing innovation institute will be provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology. The University of Delaware convened this Manufacturing USA team.

Massachusetts will anchor the northeastern node for the biopharmaceutical manufacturing project, which will be known as the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals. The NIIMBL project will be led regionally by a consortium of small, medium and large biopharmaceutical industry partners from across the supply chain, along with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Quincy College, UMass Lowell, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and UMMS.

Mark Klempner, MD, executive vice chancellor for MassBiologics at UMMS, and professor of medicine, said UMMS will play an important role.

“MassBiologics is uniquely positioned at the crossroads of academia, industry, federal regulatory oversight of biologics and development of the biopharmaceutical industry and workforce in Massachusetts,” Dr. Klempner said. “The creation and now funding of NIIMBL presents many exciting opportunities to address industry needs for innovation in biomanufacturing processes and educating and training a workforce that can support this growing sector of our economy.” 

The commonwealth is supporting NIIMBL’s collaborative research and development and workforce training efforts through a five-year, $20 million commitment from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. The commonwealth’s matching contribution leverages $70 million in federal funds awarded to the national project and additional matching funds from private sector participants.

“Massachusetts leads the nation in the development and deployment of advanced manufacturing technologies, and this new biopharmaceutical manufacturing innovation institute will ensure that our globally competitive life sciences cluster continues to deliver cutting-edge therapies, while providing quality manufacturing jobs to the citizens of Massachusetts,” said Gov. Baker.

A shift in the delivery of medical treatments from powder-based medicines based on chemistry and manufactured in large batches to biologics, cell therapies and gene therapies presents new challenges for manufacturing biopharmaceutical treatments at scale. NIIMBL is a public-private partnership that seeks to solve challenges related to the production, testing, and regulation of new treatments.

NIIMBL is a process innovation effort that aims to reduce the risks associated with manufacturing new therapies, improve efficiency in order to deliver new therapies to patients more quickly and at lower cost, and increase the quality and safety of new biopharmaceutical products.

The project will also train an advanced manufacturing workforce capable of working in new biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies.

“The University of Massachusetts is proud to leverage the Massachusetts BioManufacturing Center at Lowell and MassBiologics in Boston and Fall River as part of the NIIMBL effort,” said UMass President Marty Meehan. “UMass has years of experience assisting biotechnology companies in developing cGMP compliant manufacturing processes and in producing FDA-licensed therapeutics, offering solutions that improve productivity, quality and cost. NIIMBL reflects our commitment to expand these public-private partnerships that contribute to the research, innovation, economic development and workforce development needs of the commonwealth.”

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