Three med-tech industry big-wigs have signed on as inaugural partners for Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s (WPI) Biomanufacturing Education and Training Center, a fully functional biomanufacturing pilot plant providing hands-on training and educational opportunities for working with engineered living cells.
Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY), and Shire Human Genetic Therapies Inc. announced their involvement with the BETC, which is funded in part by a grant from the Massachusetts life Sciences Center.
The partners will provide input at every stage of the BETC’s development, from facility planning to curriculum design and student mentorship.
Biopharmaceuticals, medicines produced by living cells, is the fastest-growing segment of the therapeutics industry, but is limited by a lack of a qualified workforce, according to a statement by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.
“Partnering with institutions like WPI to provide hands-on training helps ensure that the industry will have the qualified workers we rely on to deliver new, innovative therapies to patients," said Shire’s senior VP of technical operations Bill Ciambrone.
WPI has already worked with industry partners to develop entry-level biomanufacturing certificate training programs at the university’s small-scale bioprocessing laboratory. The BETC will be housed in a 10,000-square-foot commercial-scale pilot plant, currently under construction at Gateway Park in Boston.