Newark based biopharma manufacturing institute gets $8.9 million coronavirus grant

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The National Institute for Innovation in Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing (NIIMBL), Newark, received $8.9 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

This award will fund projects that will support the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding is part of the first round of funding made available to NIST through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“Never in our lifetime have we experienced a global crisis of this magnitude. It presents a massive challenge but also an opportunity — one that I deeply believe we are positioned to help meet,” said NIIMBL Director and Manufacturing USA Director’s Council Chair Kelvin Lee. “Manufacturing USA institutes and their member organizations, and indeed all U.S. manufacturers, are extraordinarily capable and eager. We have the ingenuity, grit and expertise to find new ways to produce what we need to regain America’s health, build the critical manufacturing supply chain, and strengthen our ability to respond swiftly and effectively to future challenges. These awards from NIST are a step in the right direction for us to do just that.”

As the Manufacturing USA institute focused on biopharmaceutical manufacturing innovation, NIIMBL is positioned to assist with the pandemic response. Its network of more than 150 members nationwide — including 10 leading global pharmaceutical manufacturers, small businesses, and academic and federal scientists — can leverage manufacturing technology.

NIIMBL’s new projects will:

  • Provide virus proteins and to improve blood testing capabilities
  • Assist regional hospital systems with validation of rapid in-house diagnostic testing capabilities
  • Identify alternative domestic supply chains to reduce foreign dependence for respirators and masks to protect health care workers
  • Validate decontamination approaches for clinical spaces
  • Develop automated contact tracing technology within pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities to limit the spread of coronavirus in essential workers
  • Accelerate the development of flexible manufacturing capabilities for biologic therapies and rapid release testing to position the nation for faster medical product scale-up in response to pandemics

NIIMBL’s governing committee includes federal agency representatives from the Food and Drug Administration, National Cancer Institute, Department of Defense, National Science Foundation and NIST. NIIMBL and NIST are also working with the Department of Health & Human Services’ National Institutes of Health and Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to help ensure maximum impact from this investment.

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