Small Biotechs Get Help at University Scale-Up Facility

September 13, 2007
BioPharm International Editors

Small biotechnology companies often need guidance during the development of new therapies-particularly when it comes to manufacturing.

Small biotechnology companies often need guidance during the development of new therapies-particularly when it comes to manufacturing. In Maryland, many companies find that support at the Bioprocess Scale-Up Facility offered by the University of Maryland’s Biotechnology Research and Education Program (BREP). With the recent appointment of a new director with extensive industry experience, the breadth of that support—both in the number of companies and the range of services—is likely to expand.

“I want to work with more companies in Maryland, and even extend beyond Maryland, to fully utilize our bioprocessing and fermentation facility,” says Paul Allenza, PhD, the new director of BREP. “I also want to expand the collaboration with a broader group of faculty here at the university and help identify new technologies.”

Allenza, who spent 13 years at FMC Corporation, believes his industry experience in technology acquisition and licensing give him insight that can help companies achieve success beyond the research stage. “I saw a number of cases where companies had not validated or scaled up their work to really be able to show the economics and the potential for commercialization,” he says. BREP can help companies overcome those challenges.

“The whole atmosphere is to make things work,” Allenza says. “It’s not trying to find problems or cut programs because they’re not going to meet financial hurdles. It’s to work with them and really develop their technology and make them successful.”

In addition to the scale-up facility, BREP offers yearly workshops on fermentation and downstream processing, customized workforce training, and graduate programs in bioengineering.

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