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The new training center, the Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing, will prepare engineering students and industry professionals for the field of biologics manufacturing.
On Feb. 21, 2018, Jefferson (Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University) announced that it will establish the Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing, an education and training institute for biopharmaceutical processing in North America, in partnership with National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT), to prepare engineering students and industry professionals in the field of biologics manufacturing.
New biologic therapies are turning acute and debilitating illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and cancer into manageable chronic diseases. However, the complex manufacturing process and lengthier regulatory approval process compared to traditional small-molecule drugs make biologics a challenge to produce.
Only a handful of centers throughout the world are dedicated to training personnel to produce biologic therapies, and the new training center would close that gap, according to Jefferson.
"Jefferson is built on anticipating the emerging professions that will be commonplace 10 years from now and educating students in those disciplines today," said Stephen K. Klasko, MD, president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, in a company press release. "In an increasingly global world, Jefferson and NIBRT are leveraging our respective strengths and creatively partnering to bring unprecedented value to students and industry."
"There is a significant demand for global talent to support the growth of the biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry and our relationship with Jefferson will help address this demand throughout the United States," said Dominic Carolan, NIBRT CEO, in the press release. "The combination of engineering expertise from Philadelphia University and biosciences experience from Thomas Jefferson University, now merged into Jefferson, made this an especially attractive partnership option for NIBRT. The NIBRT and Jefferson teams have been working closely over the last 18 months, and we look forward to the successful launch of this groundbreaking project."
The Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing will leverage NIBRT's curriculum and will use single-use engineering technology by GE. When fully operational, the institute is expected to serve 2500 people annually and will work with pharmaceutical companies, provide workforce training through community college partnerships, and provide bioprocessing certifications through regional university partnerships. The Institute will facilitate enrollment of 70 additional Jefferson students in bioprocessing engineering, from undergraduate through PhD levels.
Jefferson is in the process of identifying a site for the more than 20,000-ft2 facility in the Philadelphia region and expects the first training opportunities for industry professionals to be offered in mid-2019.