From bench to marketplace
A college, a university and a federal government research facility join forces; their goal — to propose a new concept in education and training. McGill University, John Abbott College and the National Research Council's Biotechnology Research Institute (BRI) are developing a new bioprocessing/biomanufacturing education program that streamlines training from college through university to industry. This program will address Canada's urgent need for highly qualified personnel in the rapidly growing biosciences sector.
McGill, John Abbott and BRI develop new training program.
Canada's status as a global leader in the bio-based economy may slip unless a significant investment in human resources is made. McGill University's Macdonald Campus, John Abbott College and the National Research Council Biotechnology Research Institute have signed an agreement to develop an integrated cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices) compatible bioprocessing/biomanufacturing program to train these new, highly qualified personnel.
This innovative partnership, a first between a university, a college and a federal research centre, will streamline the local bioprocessing/biomanufacturing training for technicians at the college level, for professional engineers at the university level, and for practitioners from industry.
"The bioprocessing/biomanufacturing industry will be the next phase of the life sciences revolution bringing value to Canadian society," says Deborah Buszard, Dean of McGill's Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. "McGill and John Abbott College have expertise in these areas and the partnership with the NRC-BRI will provide hands-on industrial-scale training to meet the industry's demands. We are uniquely placed with our plans for future investment in bioscience infrastructure and human resources to deliver these programs."
Bioprocessing encompasses a wide range of techniques used in the development and manufacturing of bioscience-based medicines, known as biopharmaceuticals or biologics, agri-food products and fertilizers. With 470 companies, Canada is presently second in the world in the number of biotechnology companies. A large number of Canadian companies will shortly be in need of production capacity in the pre-clinical, phase I-II-III trials, adding to the more than 300 biologics presently in the pipeline. Recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies represent world sales of $34B. Only a very qualified and trained workforce will ensure that Canada benefits from this industry.
"The development of an integrated training program through this alliance is a Canadian first and ties to the Greater Montreal strategy in support of the life sciences industry. We are ready to assume this leadership role in the creation of unique educational programs in the biosciences and technologies bridging the CEGEP-university system," says Keith W. Henderson, Director General of John Abbott College.
"This national scope program takes advantage of the wealth of expertise in Montreal," says Michel Desrochers, NRC-BRI Director General. "It is the beginning of a collaboration synergy with John Abbott and McGill which grows out of shared values and priorities. This partnership offers substantial opportunities to address the local and national communities' needs in the areas of research, training and knowledge transfer in biosciences. The NRC-BRI and its neighbour bioprocessing industrial partners are well positioned to define the needs of the industry and aid in the design of a program that will provide our workforce of the future."
It is expected the details of this international leading-edge quality program will be finalized by spring 2005 in order to be presented to the Quebec Minister of Education.
About the BRI
The NRC Biotechnology Research Institute (NRC-BRI) is a federal institution located in Montreal, Canada. With its 900 employees, guest workers and students, it is the largest non-industrial biotechnology institute in Canada. NRC-BRI does research in the health, environmental and bioprocessing areas. Its Bioprocess Sector is dedicated to bioprocessing and pre-GMP production of therapeutics and other biological material. NRC-BRI personnel include experts with more than 15 years of experience both with microbial and mammalian cell expression systems. It is a leader in the development of analytical tools and methods for product characterization to allow better process control and optimization. NRC-BRI maintained from 1992 to 1998 a "Hands-on Biomanufacturing Training Program."
About McGill University's Macdonald Campus
The University's Macdonald Campus, home to the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, is situated at the heart of Montreal's Life Sciences Cluster. McGill's Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences' area of expertise is Biosciences for Life Improvement. The Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences offers academic programs from the undergraduate to postdoctoral level in the applied sciences related to environment and agriculture, biotechnology, bioprocessing, food science, nutrition and parasitology. A Bioprocessing and Fermentation Pilot Plant, essential to faculty research and teaching programs, is located on the Campus. The Faculty has leveraged $45 million in research funding in the last three years, led collaborations with more than 30 industrial and institutional partners, and is home to four research centres and numerous research networks.
About John Abbott College
John Abbott College offers pre-university and technical education diploma programs, part-time evening courses, as well as programs leading to an Attestation of Collegial Studies. Currently, John Abbott College has over 5,500 students enrolled in its day division and an additional 3,000 through its Continuing Education division. Over 900 students are currently enrolled in its Science Program, and many others are engaged in technologies that are complementary to the rapidly developing field of Biotechnology, including Computer Science, Engineering Technologies with a photonics focus, and Nursing. Surrounded by the largest concentration of businesses in the pharmaceutical and biotechnological sectors in Quebec, John Abbott College has remained responsive to the changing needs of its environment. Four years ago, the College developed a highly successful one-year attestation in Bio-Industrial Processing, in close collaboration with business partners such as DSM-Biologics and with support from McGill University and the Biotechnology Research Institute.
christine [dot] zeindler [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Christine Zeindler)
University Relations Office