The University of Georgia has joined a national consortium that will accelerate the production of next-generation biopharmaceuticals that improve human health while also boosting our state’s economically important life sciences industry.
The National Institute for Innovation of Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals, better known as NIIMBL, is a public-private partnership that includes 150 companies, nonprofits and universities. This consortium represents a total investment of $250 million, including at least $70 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar Steve Stice, who directs UGA’s Regenerative Bioscience Center, is the university’s lead scientist in this critical effort to boost the production of cell-based therapies and build a skilled workforce to support Georgia’s growing biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.
Dr. Stice and his colleagues in the Regenerative Bioscience Center are pioneering new treatments for conditions ranging from traumatic brain injury and stroke to bone fractures and genetic disorders. More than 30 faculty members from across campus are members of the RBC, which has resulted in start-ups such as CytoGenesis Inc. That company was acquired by Viacyte Inc., which continues to maintain a footprint in Georgia as it tests a first-of-its-kind treatment for diabetes.
More than 400 life sciences companies call Georgia home, and the $1.3 billion biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility that Baxter International Inc. is building in Covington—which is expected to create more than 1,800 jobs—underscores the tremendous impact this industry has on Georgia’s economy.
UGA’s participation in the NIIMBL consortium is just the latest example of this institution’s commitment to partnering with industry, government and other institutions of higher education to foster discovery and economic vitality. Last year we joined the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America consortium to help revitalize our state’s textile manufacturing industry, and that effort draws on the expertise of faculty units such as our College of Engineering and College of Family and Consumer Sciences.
UGA’s annual economic impact on our state was recently estimated to be an astounding $5.25 billion dollars. With partnerships such as the National Institute for Innovation of Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals and the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America consortium, we are poised to have an even greater impact on our state and nation in the years ahead.