Mass Tech Collaborative and UMass Lowell Announce BioManufacturing Center Grant

03/10/2006
By For more information, contact media@uml.edu or 978-934-3224

Other Contacts: Christopher Kealey, MTC, 508-870-0312 x1240; Stephen Mulloney, Mass Biotech Council, 617-577-8198

WESTBOROUGH, MA (March 9, 2006) ߝ A partnership among biotech industry leaders and academic research institutions, as well as state and local officials, will help existing and emerging biotech companies move more effectively from research & development to manufacturing new products in Massachusetts.  
        
Under a grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s (MTC) John Adams Innovation Institute, the University of Massachusetts Lowell will conduct two pilot projects at the Massachusetts BioManufacturing Center focused on improving the quality, cost and productivity of large-scale biomanufacturing.

These projects will form the basis for creating a virtual network of industry and academic partners throughout Massachusetts.  Industry partners include leading biotech companies such as Nova Biomedical, Antigenics, Cambrex, Genzyme, Invensys, Millenium and Wyeth. Academic research institutions in addition to UMass Lowell include UMass Dartmouth, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Tufts.   
        
“This unique collaborative effort could speed the development of new drug treatments and lead to new high-tech job creation to boost the Massachusetts economy,” said Patrick Larkin, director of the John Adams Innovation Institute, the economic development arm of MTC.  “For our leading biotech companies, going from R&D to manufacturing should not also mean moving from Massachusetts to North Carolina or one of other competitors ߝ those jobs belong right here.”

“We are proud to be on the cutting edge of advanced manufacturing,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor William T. Hogan. “The biomanufacturing center is already helping biotech firms.  These funds will expand the reach of the center ߝ thereby helping UMass Lowell fulfill its mission of promoting sustainable economic development.”
        
Thomas Finneran, president of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, said that the Innovation Institute funds will keep the Center’s assistance efforts going until the Legislature passes funding for new facilities and operations necessary to scale the project up. “More than one-third of the 100,000 new jobs that biotech can create in Massachusetts are related to biomanufacturing” said Finneran. “This Center is part of a broad strategy that includes industry, universities and the government. I am hopeful that the Legislature will support all the elements of that strategy, including the expansion of the BioManufacturing Center, in the economic stimulus bill. ” 
        
Under the $150,000 Innovation Institute grant, UMass Lowell will lead a collaborative effort to establish pilot projects at the BioManufacturing Center that will apply state-of-the-art technologies to a company’s specific product, provide professional education courses, establish an applied research program and conduct further needs assessments. The virtual network of public and private academic institutions throughout the state will provide the biotech industry with easy access to specialized expertise and facilities to support manufacturing scale-up.  By jump-starting the Center through this grant, the Commonwealth hopes to develop working relationships with the more than 40 local companies with new drugs coming through the pipeline in the next 2-3 years as they make their long-term manufacturing decisions. 
        
“We are grateful to the Mass. Tech Collaborative for supporting these efforts,” said the project’s director, UMass Lowell Assoc. Prof. Carl Lawton. “We have a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate that biotechnology firms can make the leap from research and development to manufacturing operations in Massachusetts.”

The Innovation Institute grant follows $175,000 in seed funding from Chancellor Hogan and University of Massachusetts President Jack Wilson.

The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative is an independent, non-partisan organization focused on growing the state's Innovation Economy.  The John Adams Innovation Institute, as the economic development division of MTC, is strengthening Massachusetts’ competitive edge in the Innovation Economy, supporting industry clusters and interdisciplinary, collaborative research centers to stimulate new job creation and job retention in knowledge- and technology-based companies.  The Innovation Institute supports rigorous collaborative research and development as new ideas and technologies emerge, leveraging better than a three-to-one return on investments in millions of federal research dollars for Massachusetts universities.  For more information, please visit www.masstech.org.
 
UMass Lowell, a comprehensive university with special expertise in applied science and technology, offers its 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students more than 80 degree programs. Visit the website at www.uml.edu.

###