This past February, Northeastern’s Biopharmaceutical Analysis Training Laboratory (BATL) was accepted into the 2019 Competitive Capital Grant Program, facilitated by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. The grant will provide nearly $4.3 million in additional funding, allowing BATL to expand and offer more hands-on trainings in biomanufacturing to industry, students and regulators.
“We are honored to receive this award, which will allow BATL to expand into training on biomanufacturing” said Dr. Jared Auclair, the director of Northeastern’s BATL and principle investigator and the lead researcher for the grant proposal. “This will allow BATL to provide end-to-end training on biologics and grow the field in Massachusetts.”
Biomanufacturing is a fast-growing industry. Since 2014 BATL has trained scientists and regulators on the advanced characterization of biotherapeutics, as well as best practices in data management. In the past two years alone, approximately 625 students have been trained through existing BATL programming.
According to the proposal, the goal of the introduction of new facilities and instruments is to establish a next generation training program for companies, federal, non-profit and educational organizations, and individuals in need of biomanufacture and bioanalysis skills and knowledge.
This will be known as BATL 2.0, and will provide courses and training to learners from many walks of life, including those who are entering the workforce, and those in need of additional skills to stay or advance in the workforce. BATL 2.0 is poised to centralize talent, skills, and training to meet increasingly complex commercial biomanufacturing and regulatory demands, such as the integration of real-time product analysis in end-to-end drug production.
Northeastern has committed to expanding BATL with a brand new 50-seat classroom, tissue culture facility and mass spectroscopy laboratory, to be located in a newly constructed building (Building 5) on the Innovation Campus Burlington MA (ICBM). The new program will center around biologics manufacturing, analysis, and quality control.
The award from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Capital Grant Program will enable the University to build out two additional laboratories. First of the two is a mock Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) suite. GMP is a system for ensuring that pharmaceutical products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards, and covers all aspects of production from the starting materials, premises, and equipment to the training and personal hygiene of the staff.
The second addition will be a biomanufacturing suite which will house a manufacturing-scale bioreactor and purification system. The award will allow the purchase of a manufacturing scale bioreactor to support a biologically active environment. The award will also allow upgrades to mass spectrometry instrumentation for the newly built out mass spectrometry laboratory.
The Competitive Capital Grant Program provides grants for capital projects that support the life sciences ecosystem in Massachusetts, including workforce development and training, research and development, commercialization and/or manufacturing in the Commonwealth. Investments in capital projects creates and sustains the attributes that make Massachusetts attractive to innovative companies, including many of those offering co-operative education opportunities to Northeastern students. To date, the MLSC has awarded more than $455 million to support capital projects across the state.