Press Releases


COLLEGE CHOSEN TO HOST NATIONAL NIIMBL EXPERIENCE PROGRAM

November 16, 2022

The Stack Center for Biopharmaceutical Education and Training (CBET) at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS) has been selected as one of three institutions nationally for the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals’ (NIIMBL) eXperience program.

The NIIMBL eXperience program is designed to provide underrepresented minority students (URMs) completing their first year or sophomore year of college a glimpse into the field of biopharmaceuticals.  ACPHS will welcome its 15-student cohort in June 2023. This is the first year NIIMBL has employed a regional host approach to the program since the program’s inception in March 2019.

“The NIIMBL eXperience @ ACPHS provides an excellent opportunity for our College to expand its reach and showcase the ways in which a student can pursue a career in biopharmaceuticals,” said ACPHS President and Professor, Toyin Tofade, MS, PharmD, BCPS, CPCC, FFIP. “It is essential that we continue to diversify this field and ACPHS is pleased to play an integral role in advancing that goal.”

Beginning on June 4, 2023, CBET, in conjunction with Biomed Innova, Curia Global, Cytiva, Next Advance Inc., the Neural Stem Cell Institute (NSCI), SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and University at Albany’s RNA Institute, will host an array of programming designed to illustrate the broad spectrum of career paths available within the biopharma industry.

Students will learn about each organization, network with current employees, tour facilities, and carry out simulated work activities. They will also learn the role federal agencies play in delivering innovative treatments to meet unmet medical needs.

“Over the past few years, there has been growing interest in the NIIMBL eXperience program. To address the increased demand, NIIMBL set out to expand the program both in geography and in scale,” said John Balchunas, NIIMBL workforce development director. “In piloting this new model, we will triple the yearly number of participants who gain an understanding of biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry careers through the eXperience program. This will benefit the students and will help address hiring concerns facing the biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry.”

An Ambitious Agenda

Participants will explore the discovery, biomanufacturing and delivery of therapies including antibody, cell, gene, and mRNA technologies; learn via hands-on activities about nanoscience medicines discuss and view RNA computer simulations and tour a COVID-testing laboratory. In addition, students will tour three local small businesses that highlight innovation and entrepreneurship in the biopharma industry.

As the week progresses, students will visit a development and manufacturing site to witness scale-up and cGMP processes to discuss the complex process of manufacturing lipids for vaccines and therapies, as well as state-of-the-art synthetic platforms for high-potency “warhead” antibody-drug-conjugates in oncology treatment. There will also be hands-on-activities for participants to set up an infusion bag, learn about blood vials, and make a compounding drug.

This program gives students an extraordinary level of access to biopharmaceutical industry stakeholders and enables them to build lasting connections with actionable steps toward in-demand and rewarding biopharmaceutical careers.

“By convening regional biopharmaceutical strengths and connecting them to current biopharma students, participants engage in a career support network that ensures continued mentoring and success,” said Dr. Michelle Lewis, executive director, CBET. “This program provides an excellent opportunity for diverse students to find pathways into this emerging career field.”

Interested students can learn more about the NIIMBL eXperience @ ACPHS at https://niimbl.piestar-rfx.com/niimbl/129. Applications are due by January 20, 2023.

NIIMBL is a public-private partnership with the goal of advancing innovation in biopharmaceutical manufacturing. NIIMBL is part of Manufacturing USA®, a network of 14 manufacturing institutes across the country that brings together industry, academia, and the public sector to propel promising research and technology developments, accelerate new products to market, and train tomorrow’s workforce in order to secure America’s future. NIIMBL is funded through a cooperative agreement with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the U.S. Department of Commerce, and leverages additional support from industry, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and several state governments. The NIIMBL mission is to accelerate biopharmaceutical innovation, support the development of standards that enable more efficient and rapid manufacturing capabilities, and educate and train a world-leading biopharmaceutical manufacturing workforce, fundamentally advancing U.S. competitiveness in this industry.

This work is performed under financial assistance award #70NANB21H086 from the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology.

ABOUT CBET

Stack Family Center for Biopharmaceutical Education and Training (CBET) is ACPHS’ response to the rapidly growing biopharmaceutical field and the need for an educated workforce, which has been cited as one of the critical constraints to growth of the biopharmaceutical industry. The Center will provide students the knowledge and hands-on experience to bring innovative biopharmaceuticals to patients. CBET is the first training facility in the nation to be created by a pharmacy college. For more information, visit https://cbet.acphs.edu/.

ABOUT ALBANY COLLEGE OF PHARMACY AND HEALTH SCIENCES 

Founded in 1881, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS) is a private, independent college with a long tradition of academic and research excellence. In addition to Pharmacy, ACPHS offers the only Masters of Biomanufacturing and Bioprocessing degree in the state. Other programs include Biomedical Technology, Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Microbiology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pre-Med, and Public Health. The College’s mission is to educate the next generation of leaders to improve the health of society. ACPHS ranks #1 in New York and #2 in the U.S. for best return on investment according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. For more information, visit www.acphs.edu.