Expanding capacity at the scale-up plant will enhance the service the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) can offer local biotechs. The scale-up site provides non-good manufacturing practice (GMP) production for process optimisation or preclinical trial materials.
Supported by a $200,000 (€157,000) shared resource grant from the Maryland Biotechnology Center Mtech is setting up a new plant in Shady Grove, Maryland. This will expand tissue culture capabilities at Mtech and keep it separate from fermentation work, reducing contamination risk.
"Expanding cell culture and related services into the I-270 corridor ensures that companies in that region have ready access to these important capabilities”, said Judith Britz, executive director of the Maryland Biotechnology Center.
To perform this work Mtech is hiring two additional staff and buying $200,000 worth of equipment. A further $160,000 of equipment is being transferred from its existing site in College Park, Maryland.
Mtech will continue to operate the College Park plant and large-scale bioprocessing equipment, such as 100L and 250L bioreactors, will stay at this site. College Park will be used by Maryland biotechs, faculty and students for larger scale work.
Both facilities are part of Mtech’s Biotechnology Research and Education Program (BREP) and provide practical training to the region’s workforce and students. Using the new site Mtech can perform scale-up and training at the same time, allowing for expansion of its educational offering.
Paul Allenza, director of BREP, said: “Bringing us closer to many of the biotechnology companies that can benefit from our workforce training and scale-up expertise is also a real plus."
Since setting up in 2000 the scale-up facility has conducted more than 1,000 fermentations. This includes work for MedImmune, Nabi Biopharmaceuticals, Martek Biosciences and Digene Corporation.
Mtech is also creating a pilot plant for biofuels at the College Park site.