7/3/2012 12:00 AM
COLLEGE STATION - TEEX is an education partner in the new Texas A&M Center for Innovation in Advanced Development & Manufacturing, which was awarded to The Texas A&M University System by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Center is predicted to bring significant economic opportunity to Texas, creating an infrastructure for biopharmaceutical manufacturing, opportunities for workforce development and a path to market for life-saving therapies.
TEEX was a major contributor to the proposal process, and will play a major role in the workforce development component in partnership with Blinn College, said CEO Gary Sera. “Therapeutics manufacturing will add another core competency to our already impressive portfolio. This is a very good day for TEEX, the A&M System and Bryan-College Station.”
The Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) will administer the center’s workforce development initiative in conjunction with four education partners: TEEX, Texas A&M College of Engineering, Blinn College and Baylor College of Medicine.
“TEEX’s role will be training operators and technicians to prepare them for the new jobs in the therapeutics manufacturing industry,” said Jenny Ligon, TEEX Manager of External Relations, who represented TEEX on the A&M System proposal team. She said that the federal grant will provide funds to develop a comprehensive biomanufacturing training curriculum, adding that 14 courses have already been developed.
“We’re ahead of the game thanks to a grant from the Texas Workforce Commission that allowed us to develop the initial curriculum,” she said. Five of the initial courses will be offered by TEEX, three by Blinn College and six by the College of Engineering. TEEX and Blinn will offer operator and technician training, while the College of Engineering will offer an certificate program in therapeutics manufacturing for Texas A&M undergraduate students.
Plans call for the first TEEX course to be offered in the Spring or Summer of 2013, while the “academic structure” for College of Engineering courses should be available to students by Fall 2013, Ligon said. Approval for college credit through Blinn for the TEEX courses is pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
“TEEX and the College of Engineering will play an instrumental role in the continued success of the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing at Texas A&M,” she said. “The curriculum and training will build a statewide workforce in therapeutics manufacturing – the first in the state."
Most courses will be conducted at the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing, where there is access to wet labs and equipment, such as bioreactors and centrifuges, as well as other biomanufacturing devices, so TEEX students can learn to operate and maintain the equipment. An advisory board of industry partners will help ensure training meets the needs of the biopharmaceutical industry, she said. There are also plans for internship programs at all levels of education.