By From the Lowell Sun
By Anthony Geehan
LOWELL -- One of the region's largest bioscience companies teamed up with UMass Lowell yesterday to announce the opening of the Millipore Corp. Process Development laboratory on campus.
Billerica-based Millipore, which specializes in membrane separation technologies, donated more than $225,000 in lab equipment and services to the facility, which could potentially hold the key to curing such diseases as cancer, Alzheimer's and arthritis.
"This UMass Lowell-Millipore partnership is the perfect example of the value both institutions bring to the regional economy," said UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan. "Millipore's donation will allow us to train our students on state-of-the-art equipment they will use in their future or current jobs. Together, UMass Lowell and Millipore are helping to grow the life sciences workforce."
Millipore brings considerable reach. It's an international company with more than 5,000 employees worldwide, about 1,000 of them in Billerica and Bedford. Millipore built a $50 million lab of its own in Bedford three years ago.
"Millipore strives to be at the forefront of innovation," said Jean-Paul Mangeolle, president of the company's Bioprocess Division. "Given the dynamic nature of our industry, access to cutting-edge technology and solutions is critical. By partnering with higher-education institutions such as UMass Lowell, we further our own knowledge while supporting the local community and helping to educate students who will one day enter the workforce."
Both men spoke at a noontime ceremony yesterday at UMass Lowell's North Campus Engineering Building, at 1 University Ave. Several recently-installed pieces of equipment donated by Millipore, including ultrafiltration systems and disposable mixing systems, were on display at the dedication.
One example of work to be done at the lab is chromatography, where proteins that engineers develop can be separated from any impurities within the cells, officials explained.
"The purification process is a major step within the development of new drugs," said Carl W. Lawton, head of UMass Lowell's Biomanufactoring Center. "Millipore is one of the leaders in the chromatography process and we are very lucky to have their backing for this new equipment."
Millipore's technology is used for fluid analysis, identification and purification. Its customers use the products for sterilization, cell harvesting and isolating compounds from complex mixtures. The beverage industry uses Millipore's filters to remove bacteria and yeast from wine, beer, juice and water.
The company reported 2008 revenues of more than $1.6 billion.