NEWARK, September 27, 2018 – The New Jersey Innovation Institute, (NJII) an NJIT Corporation, recently conducted a cell and gene therapy manufacturing roundtable to launch its Cell and Gene Therapy Development Center at NJIT and address key industry manufacturing challenges.  Roundtable participants included some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical, pharma equipment and consulting companies including Novartis, Celgene, Merck, J&J, ThermoFisher Scientific, GE Healthcare, Pall Corporation,  Legend Biotech, Panasonic Healthcare, Sartorius Stedem and McKinsey & Company along with NJIT faculty.  In addition, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) were represented.

Dr. Haro Hartounian, NJII senior executive director, biotechnology and pharmaceutical innovation led the roundtable discussions, which included identifying the top manufacturing issues facing the biopharmaceutical industry today. Through an innovative electronic polling technique, the more than 40 participants were able to use their cell phones to prioritize the compiled list of manufacturing challenges to determine those with the greatest industry impact and need for immediate action.

In addition to biopharmaceutical manufacturing, the roundtable addressed issues surrounding the need for expanded workforce development required for enhancing the knowledge and skills of current biopharma manufacturing and process development personnel  . It is imperative that engineers and scientists are proficient not only in in the latest processing techniques, but that they also acquire a basic understanding of the underlying protocols.  NJII has successfully launched a training program and is working with its industry partners toward the development of a standardized, national workforce development model.

“The pioneering work of biopharmaceutical companies in creating a bold new era of medicine is proceeding at an unprecedented pace.  As remarkable new discoveries and treatments emerge, the importance of manufacturing to keep pace has taken on vital importance.  Our biopharma roundtable and the efforts of NJII’s cell and gene therapy development center, which will open in the mid-year 2019, are focused on confronting and conquering manufacturing obstacles.  Our efforts will speed the production of the newest biologic and immunotherapies, such as advanced cell and gene therapy, while controlling the cost of manufacturing at the same time. We are crossing a manufacturing threshold to enable the biopharmaceutical industry to deliver never before imagined precision therapies that are personalized for individual patients. The future has arrived” said Dr. Hartounian.