Multimillion dollar manufacturing institute comes to University of Delaware [video]

    U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker

    U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker

    The University of Delaware beat out nearly two dozen other competitors vying for a multimillion dollar biopharmaceutical manufacturing award from the federal government. 

    U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker visited UD’s campus Friday morning to announce the formation of a new UD-led manufacturing institute to bolster U.S. leadership in biopharmaceutical manufacturing.

    This is the 11th institute in the Manufacturing USA network. The Newark-based National Institute for Innovation of Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) will be headquartered in Newark.

    “In communities from coast to coast, the Manufacturing USA network is breaking down silos between the U.S. private sector and academia to take industry-relevant technologies from lab to market,” Pritzker said. “The innovations created here will make it easier for industry to scale up production and provide the most ground-breaking new therapies to more patients sooner.”

    Biopharmaceuticals are prescription drugs made with living cells, as opposed to the more common chemistry-based drugs which are easier to produce. The biopharmaceutical category includes vaccines, cancer drugs and drugs to treat autoimmune diseases, as well as emerging drugs for cell and gene therapies.

    The $250 million institute will focus on bringing safe drugs to market faster and on developing workforce training. The biopharmaceutical field has a negative unemployment rate, with more jobs available than there are qualified workers.

    “We are committed to developing the innovative tools and techniques of tomorrow’s advanced-manufacturing facilities. We are also proud to contribute our efforts to improve the well-being of individuals and society,” University President Dennis Assanis said.

    A team of more than 150 companies, educational institutions, nonprofits and state government agencies will operate NIIMBL under a newly formed nonprofit.

    The consortium has committed at least $129 million to the new institute, in addition to the $70 million award from the U.S. Department of Commerce, invested over five years.

    Delaware’s Congressional Delegation applauded the Dept. of Commerce’s selection.

    “This new institute brings together leading academic, non-profit and private sector organizations from across the country to accelerate innovation that ensures the United States remains the world leader in biopharmaceutical manufacturing,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware.

    U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, said, “I’m so excited to see how we can leverage the power of these partners to advance the biomanufacturing industry, which already contributes hundreds of billions of dollars to our country’s economy.”

    “The investment in this new institute represents a significant victory for innovation, for the University of Delaware, students here in Newark and the people of our state,” said Congressman, and Governor-elect, John Carney. 

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology received nearly two dozen institute proposals and all applications were subject to a rigorous review by teams of technical experts and an interagency panel.

    Pritzker said the robust scope and breadth of advanced manufacturing proposals submitted for this competition is a strong indicator of demand for future Manufacturing USA Institutes.

    This is the second Manufacturing USA Institute announcement with UD involvement in a week.

    The U.S. Department of Energy tapped UD to be a major player in the new Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment (RAPID) Manufacturing Institute led by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

    RAPID’s role will be to develop breakthrough technologies and processes that will boost energy productivity and efficiency and decrease environmental impacts, especially related to chemical manufacturing.

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