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Friday, July 23rd, 2021

U.S. Department of Commerce issues $153M to spur biopharmaceutical manufacturing innovation

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A total of $153 million was split between two projects under the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIMBL) this week, as awarded by the United States Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

“I am so pleased that NIIMBL will continue to bring together organizations of all types to help strengthen our nation through better pandemic preparedness and a more agile manufacturing industry,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said. “This important investment for America, funded in part by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, will help meet the nation’s need for lifesaving biopharmaceuticals.”

The American Rescue Plan funded $83 million of the awards, which will support both research and development for prevention, preparation, and response to coronavirus outbreaks. NIMBL, a public-private partnership focused on innovating the U.S. biopharmaceutical industry, is a Manufacturing USA institute sponsored by the Department of Commerce. The awards were announced at NIMBL’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., by Raimondo, joined by U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), Acting Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration Janet Woodcock, and Director of the FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Peter Marks.

One award, consisting of $70 million, will be distributed over five years to allow NIMBL to push the development of flexible and cost-effective manufacturing processes in the domestic biopharmaceutical industry, capable of quick up-scaling. That will be cost-matched by an equal, non-federal requirement. The second award will consist of the $83 million from the American Rescue Plan, which will benefit research and development over three years.

One of the end goals is to help transform the speedy emergency responses and development seen during the COVID-19 pandemic into a sustainable, ongoing effort aimed at the larger coronavirus threat. NIMBL will also promote increased shelf life and work to cut the refrigeration needed for mRNA vaccines, push for more rapid production of antigens for testing and screening, and develop novel technologies for finding counterfeit vaccines.