North Carolina State University has announced a five-year, $27 million grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation to establish a biomanufacturing science and technology initiative in collaboration with the Technical University of Denmark (DTU).
The Accelerated Innovation in Manufacturing Biologics (AIM-Bio) project is focused on the next generation of biopharmaceutical manufacturing, a rapidly growing industry sector that is critical in creating access to biotherapeutics, large-molecule drugs produced from engineered organisms, as well as ingredients used in gene therapy and regenerative medicine. To be administered by NC State, which will receive $18 million to carry out the activities, the initiative will include the launch of nine research projects focused on new technologies deemed critical to the development of biopharmaceutical manufacturing.
The universities also will partner on the development of lecture and hands-on short courses aimed at industry professionals focused on topics relevant to the future of the sector, including biopharmaceutical process development, automation and process control, and analytical methods, while three courses developed by NC State's Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC) will be transferred to DTU, where they will be taught for both academic and lifelong learning credit.
"The pharmaceutical industry is at an important crossroad," said Ruben Carbonell, the Frank Hawkins Kenan Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NC State and principal investigator on the grant. "While industry focuses on increasing production of high-volume products, such as antibodies, [and on] cutting costs, it must also develop safe and cost-efficient processes for new biological products that have no established manufacturing platforms, such as gene and cell therapies. We believe this program can provide some solutions while addressing the future of the biopharmaceutical industry."