National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL)

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Prof. Ruben G. Carbonell, Director of BTEC, is one of the lead investigators that led to the establishment of NIIMBL, an institute that will become part of the Manufacturing USA Network to enhance the nation’s manufacturing-based economy. NIIMBL’s mission is to advance the economic competitiveness of the US biopharmaceutical industry, to create jobs and improve the economy by accelerating the development and implementation of high-impact biomanufacturing innovations that can be applied to current and future biopharmaceutical products, and to educate and train a world leading workforce for the future of this industry. NIIMBL was formally established on March 1, 2017 by a $70M collaborative agreement over five years from the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), an institute that is part of the Department of Commerce.

The biopharmaceutical industry is critical for the health and well-being of US citizens because its products help to treat deadly and chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders as well as help prevent and cure diseases through vaccination. This industry sector also plays a crucial role in homeland security because it can help protect the US from pandemic diseases and secure the authenticity of the medicine supply. NIIMBL is an industry-led consortium that includes world-class research universities, key federal agencies (NIST, FDA, and others), non-profits, state and trade organizations, and community colleges. The total number of engaged industry participants, including manufacturers and suppliers, is approximately 35.

Approximately 20 major research universities distributed among four regional hubs in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Midwest will participate (led by the University of Delaware, including Georgia Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University, Purdue University, University of Maryland, University of Massachusetts, among others). The research agenda will address a broad range of important innovations across two product focus areas (existing and emerging products) by leveraging activities in five crosscutting research and development themes (upstream, downstream, formulation, analytics, and regulatory science).

These efforts will enable manufacturing advances for products ranging from proteins, antibodies, and vaccines to gene therapies and cell immunotherapies. The aggregate cash and in-kind cost share from state and local government, industry partners, university, and non-profit partners is estimated at $250 million, which represents roughly a three-to-one non-federal to federal funding ratio. Institute Director Dr. Ruben Carbonell serves as the initial Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of NIIMBL.

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