Best of both worlds with new Delaware partnership

The University of Delaware and biotech company Fraunhofer USA have forged a new six-year partnership. A partnership the university describes as a win-win-win.

A win for the university, a win for Fraunhofer and an economic win for the state of Delaware, according to UD’s Dr. Karl Steiner.

“They’re actually taking research that’s coming out of laboratories, like at the University of Delaware, and they have scientists and engineers working on actually converting that into real inventions,” said Steiner. “And inventions will lead therefore to small companies, hopefully bigger companies, that create jobs.”

The Newark-based Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology (CMB) says turning ideas into real products typically takes more than 10 years and hundreds of millions of dollars. But with this new partnership in place, the university and CMB hope to streamline the development process.

“The partnership will provide each with access to the other’s technical know-how, expertise and facilities as well as increased opportunities to collaborate on advanced applied research projects and improved possibilities to commercialize results,” said Fraunhofer USA President Georg Rosenfeld.

Delaware also has a stake in how well CMB performs in the world of bio-based vaccine production. Delaware Economic Development Office Secretary Alan Levin says the state owns five percent of CMB stock and believes combining UD’s strengths with Fraunhofer’s can only lead to success.

Currently, the state has approved a $6 million investment over the six years for CMB, and come September, Secretary Levin says he’ll recommend to the Council on Development Finance an additional $3 million, which works out to about $1.5 million a year over the six-year timeframe.

“This new agreement provides a solid foundation for our continuing growth,” said Dr. Vidadi Yusibov, executive director of Fraunhofer CMB. “By combining research strengths and accessing each other’s unique resources, we will be able to expand investment in interdisciplinary programs that will generate new opportunities. We expect to expand our employment by cultivating existing and recruiting new, scientific talent.”

Fraunhofer USA first came to Delaware in 1996, building only its third research facility outside of Germany. Then in 2001, CMB built its second research center, followed by its first lab outside of Germany in 2003, both right here in Delaware. Fraunhofer has 17-thousand employees globally, 100 of them, so far, here in Newark.

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