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A state-of-the-art biotechnology training center formally opened at North Carolina State University (NCSU, Raleigh, NC) on September 19, 2007.
A state-of-the-art biotechnology training center formally opened at North Carolina State University (NCSU, Raleigh, NC) on September 19, 2007. The 82,500-square-foot Golden Leaf Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC) houses commercial-scale equipment to provide the specialized education and training needed to work in the biopharmaceutical industry and is believed to be the largest such facility in the world. It provides hands-on training for university and community college students, as well as industry employees, and supports research into new biomanufacturing technologies.
At the BTEC facility, NCSU offers a new minor in biomanufacturing sciences, a new degree program in bioprocessing sciences, and a new degree in biomanufacturing sciences in the chemical engineering and biomolecular engineering majors. Most of the courses have an associated advanced, hands-on laboratory in a current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) environment using facilities and equipment that match those in place at the world's leading biomanufacturing companies. BTEC will begin its pilot program this fall with seven courses and will increase this offering to nearly a dozen courses in the spring semester.
Golden Leaf, a non-profit foundation that invests in long-term economic development projects in the state, provided $70 million in startup funding for the consortium. The center’s development has also benefited from strong industry support. The biotech industry has contributed an estimated $13 million of in-kind support such as equipment donations and employee time for facility design and engineering at BTEC. Most of the contributions have been provided or arranged by members of NCBIO's Biotech Manufacturers Forum, including long-time forum members Biogen Idec, Diosynth Biotechnology, Novo Nordisk Pharmaceutical Industries, Novozymes, Talecris Biotherapeutics, and Wyeth Vaccines.
North Carolina began a concentrated effort to transition from older industries such as textiles and tobacco almost 30 years ago. For more about the state’s efforts to develop its biotech industry, see the March 2007 article by K. John Morrow, Jr. entitled “Building a Biotech Educational Infrastructure.”