Dept. of Commerce Funds New Organization to Advance the Biopharma Industry

The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded $70 million in funding to the new National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL). It is the eleventh institute in the Manufacturing USA network and the first with a focus area proposed by industry and funded by the Department of Commerce.

istock-544742778-compressorNIIMBL will help advance U.S. leadership in the biopharmaceutical industry by fostering economic development, improving medical treatments and helping to build a qualified workforce by collaborating with educational institutions to develop new training programs. The institute also will seek to develop rapid and flexible manufacturing capabilities to help manufacturers quickly respond to pandemics and other biological threats.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said the institute is a resource that will “spread the risks and share the benefits across the industry” to develop and gain approval for innovative processes.

“The innovations created here will make it easier for industry to scale up production and provide the most groundbreaking new therapies to more patients sooner,” said Pritzker.

While traditional pharmaceutical production relies on chemistry, biopharmaceutical production relies on biology and living cells to produce treatments. A recent Deloitte report said the changes in biopharmaceutical portfolios and the rise of advanced manufacturing technologies have made impacts both inside and outside the sector. These shifts are driving companies to seek specialized workers and to work collaboratively on manufacturing innovation through partnerships with academic institutions, diagnostic developers, and equipment manufacturers.

“The innovations created here will make it easier for industry to scale up production and provide the most groundbreaking new therapies to more patients sooner.

The U.S. must lead the way
The Department of Commerce said that innovation is needed to allow more rapid and flexible production to meet healthcare demands and to ensure U.S. leadership in the area. The department said that while the government does not steer which new technologies get developed, it has “a critical role to play as a catalyst and convener.”

The National Network for Manufacturing Innovation program, which was founded by Manufacturing USA in 2014, partners industry, academia and government to leverage resources, collaboration and co-investment to grow innovation and commercialization in American manufacturing. The program currently has nine manufacturing innovation institutes nationwide with six more planned by year-end. These institutes are all around the country and focus on things like 3D printing, digital manufacturing, composite materials, textiles and smart manufacturing.

The institution also has received an initial investment of $129 million from participating organizations. The National Institute for Pharmaceutical Technology and Education, which is part of the NIIMBL, said the leadership has put together an impressive partnership that “will make a significant impact on biopharmaceutical manufacturing in this nation.”


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