Mission & Rationale
Over the past two decades, the biopharmaceutical industry has emerged as one of the major manufacturing industries and engines of growth in the US economy. Biomanufacturing represents nearly 2% of the total US GDP and its fraction is expanding. Much of biomanufacturing involves the use of cells to make medicines. Examples of these types of medicines include cancer medicines and vaccines. A key element in developing these medicines is the need to establish complex manufacturing processes. AMBIC will implement engineering innovations to enhance the capabilities of our nation to manufacture these important life-extending and life-saving medicines. Such improvements will improve the competitiveness of US biomanufacturing in coming decades leading to more economic investment by these companies and more jobs for American workers.
The mission of AMBIC is to develop enabling technologies, knowledge, design tools and methods that apply and integrate high-throughput and genome-based technologies to fast-track advanced biomanufacturing processes. AMBIC is the first I/UCRC dedicated to mammalian cell culture upstream development focusing on Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells, the principal biopharmaceutical production host of industry. AMBIC will bring together leading academic and industrial biotechnologists focused on mammalian cell culture manufacturing at a pre-competitive research level to address the complex problems in biopharmaceutical manufacturing. This multi-university center will allow AMBIC to leverage the skills and the expertise of many faculty members across the Sites. AMBIC will be a critical catalyst towards maintaining national excellence in biopharmaceutical production by conducting research in:
- Understanding Industrially-Relevant Biology (e.g., all -omics, bioinformatics, process and product quality, etc.);
- Process Monitoring & Control (e.g., analytics, instrumentation, data mining and modeling);
- Consensus and Standardization Issues (e.g., standards, simple fingerprints, raw material issues, regulatory issues, forensic bioprocessing, clonality).
Through systems-level biology analysis, novel cell line development, bioreactor optimization, and advanced analytics, AMBIC will provide transformative solutions that can lower biomanufacturing costs and improve bioprocessing efficiency. Most importantly, these advances may ultimately serve to make more biopharmaceuticals available to patients that need them and lower overall health care costs for consumers. In addition, AMBIC will establish and maintain a pipeline of educated and motivated students at multiple levels for careers in biopharmaceutical manufacturing and development. Collaborations with corporate partners will enable the students to work on the most pressing problems that the industry faces. Furthermore, this center will serve to engage and excite students from under-represented minority populations to pursue a career in life sciences, engineering, or related STEM fields. An important part of the AMBIC activities and a committed goal of the PI’s is to increase the participation of women and under-represented minorities in STEM disciplines by energizing students from all backgrounds about the exciting opportunities to help others through STEM careers in biotechnology and biomedicine.