At the end of July, North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC, www.ncsu.edu) celebrated the completion of the steel skeleton of its new Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC, Raleigh, NC, www.engr.ncsu.edu/btec) with a topping-out ceremony attended by the construction workers and leaders from BioNetwork, BTEC, and the NC State Facilities Division.
BTEC is the result of a collaboration between local biomanufacturing-industry leaders and university faculty who had a strong interest in biotechnology and bioprocessing. The venture received support from the state government as well as from local universities, industry, and community colleges and was made possible by a substantial contribution from The Golden LEAF Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. This group is dedicated to helping North Carolinians make the transition from a tobacco-dependent economy by making investments that will positively affect the state’s long-term economic advancement.
When completed, the 86,000-ft2 facility will house a fully equipped laboratory training space and classrooms and will offer instruction in cell and protein harvest and recovery, protein purification, product characterization, and sterile filling and packaging. It will be the largest pilot-scale protein manufacturing facility in academia in the United States.
“I believe [BTEC is] unique on two counts,” says Peter Kilpatrick, PhD, BTEC’s director. "It's the largest CGMP protein manufacturing lab in a university in the country and the only CGMP facility that will be used exclusively for education and not contract manufacturing."
As work on the building moves forward, Kilpatrick is concentrating on recruiting faculty and staff. The search includes current NC State faculty members who have research or teaching interests related to biomanufacturing as well as new PhDs, faculty from other universities, and members of the biomanufacturing industry.
“It is a unique facility, so we want to develop unique programs and unique people,” says Kilpatrick. “We want to develop a reputation as being the preferred place in the world to obtain biomanufacturing and bioprocessing science and engineering education.”
BTEC is expected to be completed and ready for process validation in May or June of 2007.