July 2011

Ireland's new bioprocessing institute

New Irish facility provides research, training and education for all aspects of bioprocessing. 

  
The National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training recently opened a new facility in Blackrock, Co. Dublin.


The National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training is an initiative led by four of Ireland’s top academic institutions: University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University and the Institute of Technology Sligo. The driving motivation behind the creation of NIBRT was to bridge the gap between the pharmaceutical sector and academia by developing world-class training programs for students and industry professionals and ensuring the creation of a workforce with the specific skills and competencies needed in industry. In 2006, the Irish government provided seed funds exceeding U.S. $100 million for the project, which now is considered to be a national resource with a catalytic role in the growth and advancement of the biopharma sector. NIBRT’s mission has three parts: training and education, research, and providing state-of-the-art multipurpose facilities to house the research and training functions.

A new facility

NIBRT’s research labs originally were housed in the UCD Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science pending construction of a new facility in Blackrock, Co. Dublin. The new building was completed in late February, and research staff have now moved in.

The state-of-the art facility houses a small-scale upstream and a downstream bioprocessing pilot plant designed for factory scale-up operations – a concept completely unique to such an institute. The large suites host cutting-edge equipment used during the multistep bio-production process. The upstream plant consists of four bioreactor skids for mammalian cell culture, cross microfiltration and centrifuge systems for product harvesting, and an inoculum preparation lab. These are complemented by UF/DF skids in the downstream plant for product concentration, chromatography skids for the recovery and purification of protein products, and vessels for the virus inactivation step.

  
NIBRT’s new facility is considered to be the most strategic investment to date in Ireland’s biotechnology sector and a key industry asset.

Also incorporated in the building are interactive spaces and seminar rooms to host meetings and events that serve NIBRT’s educational programs. NIBRT aims to provide a comprehensive and practical experience, so the facility simulates recognized standard good manufacturing practices. This integrated approach brings together in-depth basic training as well as a hands-on practical experience in its applied industrial context.

NIBRT’s new facility is considered to be the most strategic investment to date in Ireland’s biotechnology sector and a key industry asset.

The training 

NIBRT hopes to provide academic educational modules to students and industrial training tailored to the needs of its pharmaceutical partners. The academic educational programs are geared toward both undergraduate and graduate students. In conjunction with its academic partners, NIBRT offers masters degrees in biopharmaceutical science and bioprocessing engineering. This education model is a core strength of the institute since it prioritizes translational research and knowledge transfer. Students benefit from the combined expertise of academic scientists and industrial partners who work in NIBRT’s labs.

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