Stay tuned for an update in October on Irelands National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training, a program that may break new ground for biopharma by attacking one of the fields greatest weaknesses: lack of interdisciplinary training and focus.
"What's the use of having a scientist focus narrowly on one super interesting area of cell design if he or she cannot communicate effectively with regulatory, automation and control or engineering professionals, to make it a reality?" asks center director Kurt Naujoks.
Incorporated this year, the Institute will break ground early next year for a new facility scheduled to come on line by the end of 2007. Students will train on three pilot lines that mimic real GMP environments using realistically scaled equipment, including fermentation units with up to 1500-L capacity, says Naujoks.
The facility will also provide a safe place for companies to experiment with different scaleup approaches, without fear of regulatory issues. "As an independent institute, we can take a fresh look at what's actually possible and what would still be valid," says Naujoks. So far, Organon has signed up as an industrial partner, while Oxford University's Glycan Sequencing Group at its Glycobiology Institute has moved from Oxford to Dublin, to develop new high-throughput analytics as well as training in glycobiology. For more information visit http://www.nibrt.ie
And for anyone who needs a refresher (or an introduction!) to the concepts of glycoengineering, check out Chemical and Engineering News' excellent September cover article.