On Friday, June 5th, industry leaders gathered for the highly anticipated MassBio Forum entitled Making the Connection: Biomanufacturing & Supporting Resources in Massachusetts. Notable panelists, including Secretary of Housing & Economic Development Jay Ash, shared their insights with a full audience.
Peter Abair, Director of Economic & Global Affairs at MassBio, kicked off the Forum with an overview of the state of the industry. Abair stated that biomanufacturing in Massachusetts has seen a 24% increase in job growth over the past 10 years and that there is a wealth of opportunity available in the field. He also highlighted the resources Massachusetts has to support biomanufacturing including the current standing of Massachusetts as the number one hub for life sciences in the world, competitive college training programs, 50+ acres of BioReady land sites, and a supportive Commonwealth.
Secretary Jay Ash followed Pete with a strong message of support for the industry in Massachusetts. “We are fixated on the ecosystem that supports the life sciences industry,” Ash said on behalf of the Baker administration. He went on to share that the administration is working on a strategy to ensure the industry stays strong and continues to grow. He believes this will be accomplished through many avenues, starting with education at the K-12 level and moving up through to colleges. He made special note that he believes we can specifically do more in the biomanufacturing arm of the industry.
Joanne Beck, PhD, Senior Vice President of Product Development at Shire, talked about the company’s multi-channel approach for biomanufacturing workforce training in Massachusetts. She also told the audience the three critical reasons Shire has made roots in Massachusetts: access to talent, innovation through collaboration, and flexible manufacturing options.
Norm Garceau, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of Blue Sky BioServices, shared a compelling list of reasons to work with Massachusetts based CROs including:
- Facilities collaboration
- Diverse and experienced talent pool
- No timezone delays
- Avoid import/export issues
- Supports employment in Massacusetts
- Simplifies site visits/audits
Geoffrey Hodge, Bioprocess Technology Leader at GE Healthcare, took to the podium to share the manufacturing options that GE Healthcare offers and noted that their bioprocessing and biomanufacturing training center will relocate to Marlboro, MA next year. Hodge also highlighted the diversity of contract services and support firms in the Massachusetts life sciences cluster.
Kamal Rashid, PhD, Director & Research Professor of Biomanufacturing Education and Training Center at Worcester Polytechnic Institute stressed how workforce development can make or break the success of biomanufacturing companies.
Stacy L. Springs, PhD, Director of the Biomanufacturing Research Program (BioMAN) and Executive Director at the MIT Consortium on Adventitious Agent Contamination in Biomanufacturing (CAACB) at the Center for Biomedical Innovation at MIT, wrapped up the speaker portion of the event by sharing the impressive courses MIT’s biomanufacturing program offers and the ambitious plans that MIT has for the future of biomanufacturing education.
Sam Guhan, Vice President of Process Development at Amgen and MassBio Board Member, moderated the event and shared valuable knowledge throughout the Forum.