The Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing, which will provide state-of-the-art education and training in the fast-emerging field of biopharmaceutical processing, will open spring 2019 at the Spring House Innovation Park in Lower Gwynedd, Pa.
The 25,000-square-foot facility will house programs to educate and train about 2,500 people annually to produce these potentially life-saving drugs, including biopharmaceutical professionals and bioprocessing engineering students, and provide workforce training and certifications through regional educational partnerships.
The Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing is the first—and only—education and training institute for biopharmaceutical processing in North America to be established in partnership with the internationally recognized National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT), which is based in Dublin, Ireland.
“The Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing demonstrates the vision and mission of Jefferson by leveraging partnerships with industry, academia and government agencies to provide globally recognized, transdisciplinary education and training in this fast-emerging field,” said Ron Kander, PhD, dean of Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce and associate provost for applied research at Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University). “Our facility at Spring House Innovation Park will utilize leading-edge biopharmaceutical manufacturing technology and support current and future workforce demands in this critically important field.”
Spring House Innovation Park is a 133-acre multi-use campus including office, laboratory and research and development space. The centrally located facility is near the region’s pharmaceutical industry and part of the BioLaunch611+ Keystone Innovation Zone, with easy access to Jefferson campuses, Center City, the Philadelphia Airport, 30th Street Station and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
“The Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing is an outstanding example of the academic possibilities created by the merger of Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University,” said Kathleen Gallagher, the University’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Our Strategic Plan recognizes the value of partnerships, such as the one with NIBRT, as foundational in developing programs that enable our students to be successful professionals. The Spring House Innovation Park will not only provide a top-tier facility, but will further advantage our students and trainees by providing a larger community of innovators in other forward-thinking industries.”
Biologics, with new therapies that can turn acute and debilitating illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and cancer into manageable chronic diseases and sometimes cures, are rapidly gaining momentum throughout the world. Yet, because of the complex manufacturing process and lengthier regulatory approval process compared to traditional small-molecule drugs, biologics remain challenging to produce, with only a handful of centers throughout the world dedicated to training people to produce these potentially life-saving drugs. The Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing will close that gap.
Internationally recognized for its excellence in bioprocessing research and training, NIBRT serves about 4,000 industry professionals worldwide at its Dublin headquarters, including many from the United States. The Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing will leverage the renowned NIBRT curriculum to provide a premier U.S.-based option with a significant potential market that includes 900-plus pharmaceutical-related companies in the Northeast U.S. The Institute will utilize the latest single-use engineering technology pioneered by General Electric.
When fully operational, the Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing is expected to serve 2,500 people annually, including programs for pharmaceutical professionals, workforce training through community college partnerships and bioprocessing certifications through regional university partnerships. Importantly, the Institute will facilitate enrollment of 70 additional Jefferson students in bioprocessing engineering at the undergraduate through PhD levels.
Biologic pharmaceuticals are manufactured in a living system such as a microorganism, plant or animal cell, often utilizing recombinant DNA technology. The development of biologic pharmaceuticals is growing rapidly, representing a major shift in the industry from traditional chemical synthesis techniques. More than 40 percent of therapeutics currently in research and development are biopharmaceuticals.