University of Oklahoma to open bioprocessing training facility

The centre will help prepare engineers and advance research in this emerging industry, according to Gallogly College of Engineering’s Associate Dean for Research.

University of Oklahoma to open biopharmaceutical training facility

Gallogly College of Engineering at The University of Oklahoma (OU) has announced it will open the OU Bioprocessing Core Facility, a shared research centre for biopharmaceutical manufacturing and bioprocess engineering in 2023.

Organisations who will benefit from the shared site include academia, clinical research organisations and startups. A total of $7 million will support those involved to equip the facility with state-of-the-art technology.

The facility is part of the Oklahoma Biotech Innovation Cluster Initiative (OBIC), a coalition run by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, OU, Oklahoma City Innovation District and Echo Investment Capital and funded through the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.

Dr John Klier, Dean of the Gallogly College of Engineering and Dr Zahed Siddique, the college’s Associate Dean for Research led the bid to gain the necessary finance from the US Economic Development Administration (EDA)’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge.

“The OU Bioprocessing Core Facility will provide University of Oklahoma students with access to a state-of-the-art biopharmaceutical manufacturing process laboratory where they will have opportunities to participate in hands-on instruction and research,” Klier explained.

Describing what students will learn at the centre, Klier added: “Biopharmaceutical drug manufacturing requires sophisticated cell culture, analytical, data science and engineering expertise to move from invention to production.”

“The biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry’s rapid growth and expansion demand a steady stream of skilled workers,” Siddique stated. “The centre will help produce well-prepared engineers, advance basic and collaborative translational research and bolster the regional talent base available in this emerging industry.”

The site will be based at the OU Health Sciences Center Research Park, near drug discovery and clinical research programmes at OU Health. Siddique noted that four of the state’s biggest biopharma companies will be located close to the site.

The EDA will also finance five more Oklahoma-based projects:

  • Biomanufacturing Workforce Training Center
  • OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center for Therapeutics – Translational Research Labs
  • OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center Early Phase Clinical Trial Network
  • Oklahoma Bioscience Cluster Initiative
  • Oklahoma Biotech Startup Program.