Parviz Shamlou, PhD, the George B. and Joy Rathmann Professor of Bioprocessing and director of the Amgen Center for Bioprocessing at Keck Graduate Institute in Claremont, Calif., has been appointed executive director and head of the Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing at Thomas Jefferson University.
“Parviz Shamlou’s impressive academic and industry experiences make him the perfect choice as inaugural executive director of the Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing,” said Ronald Kander, PhD, dean of the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce and associate provost for applied research at Jefferson. “His technical knowledge of bioprocessing and dynamic leadership abilities will help us accomplish our vision for the Institute to provide unique education, training and workforce development opportunities for our students, the biopharmaceutical industry and the region.”
Opening spring 2019, the Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing will provide state-of-the-art education and training in the fast-emerging field of biopharmaceutical processing, which advances new therapeutics to treat a range of acute and debilitating diseases.
“Fantastic and rapid advances in biologics are leading to innovative and high-impact discoveries that have the potential to become new medicines for patients with life-limiting and debilitating diseases,” said Shamlou, who will join Jefferson in January 2019. “Success depends on investing in new and fast-changing skills, infrastructure, research and technology. I’m delighted to join the Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing and help facilitate its mission to be an international center of excellence that develops and delivers innovative training and research for a new generation of scientists and engineers in bioprocessing and biomanufacturing.”
As director of the Amgen Center for Bioprocessing, Shamlou has led pioneering and collaborative bioprocessing research. Previously at Eli Lilly and Company, he was responsible for innovation and technology evaluation for development and commercialization of biotherapeutics, including insulin, human growth hormone and monoclonal antibody molecules currently in development for treatment of Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, cancers, diabetes and lupus.
Shamlou received his PhD in chemical engineering and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom. His first academic appointment was at University College London, where he co-founded the Department of Biochemical Engineering. He has served on scientific committees and boards, as editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed Journal of Biotechnology and Applied Biochemistry, and co-authored some 200 journal articles, book chapters and conference presentations.
The Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing, located at Spring House Innovation Park in Lower Gwynedd, Pa., includes state-of-the-art laboratory and research and development spaces. When fully operational, it 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.
“With Dr. Shamlou as executive director, the Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing is further positioned to carry out our vision of leveraging partnerships with industry, academia and government agencies to provide globally recognized, transdisciplinary education and training to support current and future workforce demands in this critically important field,” said Kathleen Gallagher, University executive vice president and chief operating officer.
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.
The Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing is the only education and training institute for biopharmaceutical processing in North America to be established in partnership with the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT), which is based in Dublin, Ireland.
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.
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.