Global biotechnology company Biogen Idec has signed a collaboration agreement with Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) to develop and deliver programs at the university’s Biomanufacturing Education and Training Center (BETC) of Worcester, Mass.
Biogen Idec joins AbbVie (formerly Abbott Laboratories), Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Shire Human Genetic Therapies as affiliates of the BETC. Leaders from these companies collaborate with the BETC team to develop customized curricula and programs that support their specific business needs. Along with WPI life sciences faculty members and BETC subject-matter experts, professionals from partner companies will serve as instructors and mentors for students enrolled in non-proprietary programs at the BETC.
The first Biogen Idec program, a two-week course for 20 of its employees, began May 20 as the inaugural corporate class run at the BETC.
“Working with an academic institution like WPI greatly expands the tools we have to develop and train our workforce,” said Ed Goodreau, vice president of manufacturing at Biogen Idec. “The modern and relevant facility at WPI gives staff both knowledge and hands-on experience that they can bring back to our site for immediate impact.”
The BETC is located in the newest building at WPI’s Gateway Park. With large- and small-scale bioprocessing areas, support labs and classrooms, the center has industry-standard process areas for equipment preparation, buffer and media preparation, fermentation and cell culture, product capture, purification and analytics.
“Collaborating with industry to advance technologies and economic opportunities has been the hallmark of WPI since its founding,” said Stephen Flavin, WPI’s vice president for academic and corporate development. “The blending of academic and industrial expertise that we are creating at the BETC will help serve students and biotechnology companies throughout the region.”
The creation of the BETC enhances WPI's presence in the life sciences; over the past eight years, the university has invested more than $110 million in life sciences education, research and infrastructure. These investments have come in the form of new faculty, the up-to-date technology, lab space and supporting facilities.
“Biogen Idec’s commitment to our center, like that of our other partners, exemplifies the mission of the BETC, which is to deliver customized and relevant programs that help companies achieve their economic objectives and fulfill their commitments to their patients,” said Anthony Mangano, associate dean of corporate and professional education at WPI.