The Biomanufacturing Research Program (BioMAN) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has received $10.4 Million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop new technologies and manufacturing platforms that will provide an emergency supply of medicines for front-line military medics. This project is part of DARPA’s Biologically-derived Medicines on Demand (BioMOD) program, which aims to manufacture biologic drugs on demand in a forward operations setting where resources are often limited and make these drugs available in 24 hours.
MIT will be responsible for developing innovative methodologies for engineering robust, flexible microbial strains capable of synthesizing multiple protein-based therapeutics, as well as portable device platforms for rapid manufacturing of multiple biologics with high purity, efficacy and potency at the point-of-care.
“To make and release such medications on fast timescales will require orders of magnitude improvements on today’s manufacturing practices,” commented J. Christopher Love, lead investigator and associate professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT, in a press statement. “The goal for BioMAN is to transform biologic drug manufacturing from a time-consuming, step-wise process to a tightly integrated one for small-scale production.” The implications are tremendous, according to Love. “Imagine how having rapid access to drugs in remote settings could change lives or how such new capabilities might promote better global access to these costly drugs through distributed production.”
BioMAN, part of MIT’s Center for Biomedical Innovation (CBI), seeks to develop new knowledge, science, technologies, and strategies that advance the manufacture and global delivery of high quality biopharmaceuticals. “In BioMAN, we have created a unique ecosystem, where MIT and other affiliated faculty work closely with the biomanufacturing industry, as well as government and regulatory communities, to examine key issues in biomanufacturing and see new manufacturing innovations implemented,” said BioMAN’s program director, Stacy Springs.