More from the NC branch of the "Get 'em While They Are Young" department

North Carolina State University opens biotechnology training and education center to teach manufacturing sciences in a real-time environment

Pilot-scale facility is the first to use commercial-grade technology

From the ABB press release: Raleigh, North Carolina, Sept. 19, 2007- Best-in-class commercial-grade technologies and equipment is being used for the first time in a pilot-scale training facility to train students in microbial fermentation and cell structure biotechnologies for the development of protein-based therapeutic drugs and commercial products. The facility, called the Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center, or BTEC, employs ABB's Industrial IT System 800xA Extended Automation technology, instrumentation, analyzers and variable speed drives to achieve continuous validation and precise, real-time control of the bioreactors for real-time release under strictly maintained and regulated conditions. BTEC was built at North Carolina State University's Centennial Campus in Raleigh, North Carolina to help educate students in manufacturing sciences, industry research, development and current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) for one of the fastest growing industries in the 21st century. The 86,000 square foot pilot-scale facility, made possible with a grant of $35 million from the Golden Leaf Foundation, has the capacity to train 2,000 students and incumbent workers each year, including candidates from 44 community college locations within the state. "As the biotech industry expands, much attention is being given to developing a skilled and experienced workforce in an industry where biomanufacturers are becoming increasingly risk adverse," said Dr. Peter Kilpatrick, Director of the center. "Any errors in the full-scale process of culturing, isolating and purifying therapeutic proteins and enzymes used in the production of biopharmaceuticals due to inexperience could be very costly. These manufacturers want to hire engineers, scientists and technicians that have hands-on experience in the thoughtful and careful operation of these facilities." Kilpatrick went on to say the experience at the BTEC facility would provide the student with this crucial incremental value, an invaluable asset in securing employment in this field. Greg Scheu, Senior Vice President and Regional Division Manager of Automation Products, noted that along with expansion comes competition. "Biomanufacturers will need to focus on process optimization and develop centers of excellence through capacity planning and reducing time to market by shortening cycles - all while reducing the cost of goods. Crucial to this is data management through real-time data retrieval and recording keeping for faster validation of the batches and control of the bioprocesses under strictly maintained and regulated conditions. ABB is pleased that its Industrial IT System 800xA Extended Automation technology was selected as best-in-class to accomplish this for the BTEC facility."