UMass Lowell Opens New BioManufacturing Pilot Plant

Oct. 6, 2008
UMass Lowell Opens BioManufacturing Pilot Plant

UMass Lowell in Lowell, Mass., has opened a fully automated biomanufacturing pilot plant made possible through equipment and services donated to the university by three main corporate partners: Invensys Process Systems (IPS), Wyeth Biotech and Dakota Systems. Equipment to be donated by Millipore will be used in an adjoining lab that works in tandem with the pilot plant. Together, the four companies’ contributions are worth $600,000, UMass Lowell officials said.

The new pilot plant and lab will help Massachusetts biomanufacturing companies bring new biopharmaceuticals closer to commercial production.

“This pilot lab is a great example of how the university, state and private corporations can partner to advance technology, expose students to the latest industry trends and bring ideas to market quicker,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan. “Biotechnology is an important driver of the state’s economy, and this partnership addresses several critical challenges facing the industry. We thank IPS, Wyeth, Dakota and Millipore for their generous donations.”

IPS, a global technology, software and consulting firm, has installed its InFusion Enterprise Control System on a bioreactor donated by Wyeth. Dakota Systems and 12 of its suppliers donated a wide range of services, including fabrication of the frame, integration of the control panel, the orbital welding all of the piping, installation of all electrical devices and instrumentation and completion of cGMP functionality testing.

The automation element of the plant is exciting, according to Prof. Carl Lawton, director of the Massachusetts BioManufacturing Center at UMass Lowell. “The biotechnology companies that use this plant, and, just as importantly, students who train there, will learn about process automation and optimization using the latest technology,” said Lawton. “Our students will graduate with advanced knowledge that they can use immediately.”

The Massachusetts BioManufacturing Center at UMass Lowell is an interdisciplinary research, development and education center that assists biotechnology companies in developing procedures leading to industry compliant manufacturing processes. Through education, applied research and process development, the center offers solutions that improve productivity, quality and cost of biomanufacturing operations.

Millipore Corporation, a Billerica-based life science company which provides technologies, tools and services for bioscience research and biopharmaceutical manufacturing, will donate up to $200,000 in equipment and services to the adjacent process development lab. The Millipore Corporation Process Development Laboratory will be used for downstream purification and training for students and industrial professionals.