MA center aims to speed up manufacturing for researchers, says Cytiva

A $76 million innovation and manufacturing center will alleviate production backlogs of up to 18 months, says founding member Cytiva.

The Massachusetts Center for Advanced Biological Innovation and Manufacturing (CABIM) will partner with industry and academia to reduce backlogs which impact critical research and development.

The $76 million in financing was led by Harvard University and supported by other founding members: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, Alexandria Real Estate Equities and Cytiva (formerly known as GE Healthcare Life Sciences).

Image: iStock/Uwe Rilling

“Researchers often have to wait 18 months for commercial manufacturers to produce the engineered cells and viral vectors needed for their work. CABIM aims to alleviate the bottleneck by adding capacity to produce the materials needed to advance clinical trials,” a spokesperson for Cytiva told BioProcess Insider.

To maximize scale-up efforts and ease the backlog, CABIM has signed a lease for a 40,000 square-foot site in Watertown Arsenal, Massachusetts. The initial funding will be used to build out the center and support around 40 full-time employees with an aim to open in 2022.

When operational, the pharma-grade manufacturing facility will offer eight cleanrooms in a modular configuration, which the consortium says will enable the easy adoption of emerging technologies.

Cell and viral vector

The facility will produce both cell and viral vector products in one physical space with CABIM assisting academic researchers and early-stage biotechs to develop potential therapies.

“One of CABIM’s goals is to advance academic and late-stage research coming out of start-ups. Professional staff will provide guidance about bringing emerging therapies from the lab to the patient,” Cytiva told us.

This is not the first academic partnership that Cytiva has supported. Last year, Cytiva announced that it is on board for University of Queensland’s COVID-19 vaccine project and previously, Cytiva has provided biomanufacturing technologies and expertise as part of the ARC Training Centre for biopharmaceutical Innovation located at Australian Institute for Bioengineering & Nanotechnology.

By supporting academia, the firm told us it fulfils its “mission to advance and accelerate therapeutics.

“Cytiva is supporting this project because no single organization can advance the industry alone. Collaborating with high-profile academic and hospital partners provides Cytiva with an opportunity to be at the forefront of early research and help advance it from the lab to the patient. It also provides an opportunity to beta-test new technologies with the researchers and companies that are working on the latest therapies.”

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