Mtech Bioprocess Scale-Up Facility to Double in Staff and Size

August 27, 2010

The Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech, College Park, MD) Bioprocess Scale-Up Facility (BSF) will double its facilities and staff, expand into Shady Grove, acquire new equipment, and create a pilot plant for biofuels in College Park through the support of a $200,000 shared resource grant from the Maryland Biotechnology Center (MBC).

The Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech, College Park, MD) Bioprocess Scale-Up Facility (BSF) will double its facilities and staff, expand into Shady Grove, acquire new equipment, and create a pilot plant for biofuels in College Park through the support of a $200,000 shared resource grant from the Maryland Biotechnology Center (MBC).

The BSF, part of Mtech's Biotechnology Research and Education Program, is a bioprocessing laboratory that helps companies scale-up and manufacture biotechnology products and processes, and provides practical training for the region's workforce and students.

Much of the BSF's work is done using fermentation, growing drug candidates or other biologicals using bacteria on a contract basis. Its laboratory produces materials under non-GMP conditions for process optimization or research conducted before human clinical trials.

Through the MBC grant, the BSF will expand to Shady Grove, with the added space dedicated to non-GMP fermentation and cell culture programs. The new facility will be in what was formerly part of the Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology and now part of the new Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research. The BSF occupies 2,400 square feet at the University of Maryland's College Park location.

The BSF will bring $160,000 worth of equipment from College Park and purchase $200,000 in new equipment for Shady Grove.

The expansion will also enable more work in tissue culture, or growing cells to express certain proteins, which will now be possible because it can be separated from the areas conducting fermentations. This will lower the risk of potential contamination.

Large-scale bioprocessing equipment, including 100- and 250-L fermenters, will stay in College Park to conduct ongoing larger scale work and open up pilot plant biofuel processing for Maryland companies, and faculty and students in Maryland universities.

The BSF also plans to expand its bioprocessing and protein purification trainings and courses at both Shady Grove and College Park, because the new laboratory will allow staff to continue bioprocessing projects while conducting training.