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The US federal government awarded new funding to the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals, including funding under the American Rescue Plan that will be used to advance vaccine manufacturing.
The National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) has received $153 million in new funding from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), including $70 million to continue federal funding for NIIMBL for an additional five years and an additional $83M for coronavirus response projects under the American Rescue Plan (ARP), the organization announced in a July 14, 2021 press release. NIIMBL is a public-private partnership that is part of Manufacturing USA, a network of federally sponsored manufacturing innovation institutes, and is funded through a cooperative agreement with NIST in the US Department of Commerce as well as through its members.
"This is an important investment for America. I am so pleased that NIIMBL will continue to bring together organizations of all types to deliver impacts on our federal investments, strengthen our nation through better pandemic preparedness, and build a more agile manufacturing industry for future economic strength and more cost-effective manufacturing, and less reliance on foreign supply chains for our national needs for life-saving biopharmaceuticals," said US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, in the press release. Raimondo announced the awards at NIIMBL's National Meeting in Washington, DC on July 14.
"NIIMBL is pursuing its mission to accelerate biopharmaceutical manufacturing innovation, support the development of standards that enable more efficient and rapid manufacturing capabilities, and education and train a world-leading biopharmaceutical manufacturing workforce to fundamentally advance US competitiveness in this industry," stated Kelvin H. Lee, Institute director, in the press release. "Our vision is to lead and transform the development and adoption of next-generation biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies that contribute to patient well-being and the additional funding will help our members forge and catalyze advancements vital to the acceleration of innovative technologies and a skilled workforce."
American Rescue Plan funding will help to provide facilities for innovators to access industrial equipment for vaccine fill/finish and develop approaches that improve efficiency and sterility in real-use manufacturing environments, support the application of novel analytical technologies for faster characterization of messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine quality, offer methods to improve mRNA vaccine manufacturing to lessen cold-chain requirements for storage and distribution, and develop continuous manufacturing paradigms for mRNA platforms, for example. Other projects could demonstrate capabilities of portable facilities for manufacturing nucleic acids and develop a national supply chain database for biopharmaceutical manufacturers.
"COVID-19 has clearly demonstrated the importance of pandemic readiness and funding from the American Rescue Plan, in addition to the continued support of NIIMBL, will strengthen the capabilities of our public-private partnership in advancing manufacturing innovations, and training a manufacturing workforce, to the benefit of all Americans," said Lee in the release.
NIIMBL was initiated in 2017 and has annually funded new projects to advance biopharma manufacturing. In a June 8, 2021 press release, NIIMBL had announced funding for 10 new projects in technology, workforce development, and their Global Health Fund initiative, resulting from the Institute's Project Call 4.1, and with a total value of approximately $4.6 million.
The new projects selected help expand NIIMBL's portfolio in the areas of cell and gene therapy manufacturing as well as in vaccine stabilization. Projects include creating new purification processes that will meet a global need for high-purity, high-volume, high-dose protein therapeutics and creating a modularized extensible online training platform on process analytical technologies to better prepare candidates for the growing workforce need in the biopharmaceutical industry.
"One of our goals at NIIMBL is to invest in areas where the industry can save time [and] money and expand training to get to the finish line faster," said Chris Roberts, associate Institute director, in the press release.