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WPI Biomanufacturing Expert to Speak at International Summit

Thursday, September 25, 2014

 

Kamal Rashid, PhD

Kamal Rashid, PhD, Director of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Biomanufacturing Education and Training Center (BETC) and Research Professor of Biology and Biotechnology at WPI, will help lead BioTalk 2014, an international two-day event that focuses on biomanufacturing on September 25 and 26 in Berlin.

Sponsored by Global Summits, the event will bring together leaders and companies from around the world that use living cells to develop and produce human therapeutics.

"The growth curve for biomanufacturing is rising, both for new product development and for emerging biosimilars," Rashid said. "This means greater hope for patients because of new therapies, and also significant challenges for biomanufacturing companies to operate successfully in this expanding, demanding, and heavily regulated industry."

On the first day of the conference Rashid will deliver a presentation titled, "Empowering the Workforce for Biomanufacturing." He will also sit on a panel discussing supply chain relationships for the industry. Rashid chairs the second day of the summit, delivering plenary opening remarks and leading the morning program on various aspects of biomanufacturing processes. That afternoon he will sit on a panel discussing the emerging challenges for companies planning to integrate continuous biomanufacturing processes to their operations.

"Biomanufacturing requires the integration of several complex processes and an intense focus on quality," Rashid said. "There are many facets to the operation, so sharing best practices and lessons learned and discussing the challenges all companies in the sector face is very important for the industry. That's what we hope to accomplish in Berlin."

Anthony Mangano, associate vice president of academic and corporate development at WPI, will join Rashid at the summit and participate in a series of discussions with biomanufacturing executives on partnership opportunities.

"WPI is already working with several of the leading biopharmaceutical companies in the world, and we look forward to extending our ability to support this growing sector," said Mangano.

BETC

Funded in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the BETC is a multi-faceted resource for the biologics industry, providing a range of hands-on customized programs. The center works with biomanufacturers to help them train, and retrain, their employees at a state-of-the-art center removed from their own production facilities. It also offers a range of consulting services to help companies deal with challenges or institute best practices in their operations.

The BETC has large and small-scale bioprocessing areas for both microbial fermentation and mammalian cell culture production. The center also features support labs and classrooms integrated with industry-standard process areas for equipment preparation, buffer and media preparation, product capture, purification, and analytics. It is equipped with single-use technologies as well as traditional autoclavable and stainless steel process equipment.

With a curriculum spanning multiple programs, including upstream and downstream processes, the BETC is designed to help current biomanufacturing employees improve and expand their skills. The center works closely with biomanufacturers to develop and deliver customized hands-on programs that support their specific business needs. It also offers open-enrollment, nonproprietary programs for individuals in the industry seeking to advance, as well as a fundamentals course designed for people seeking entry to the field. The center is also a resource for graduate and undergraduate education at WPI.

 

Related Slideshow: Worcester’s Tech Startups


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BuzzLanes

Buzz Lanes started out as a small idea for a Business Model Competition at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Success there led to the semifinalist round at Harvard, and a new business that aims to accelerate the careers of talented musicians that don’t have big marketing campaign resources.

“As graduates of WPI’s School of Business, and with several years of experience in the entertainment world, we decided to push forward and make Buzz Lanes a reality,” said Gonazlo Cruz Blanco, the man behind Buzz Lanes.

A native of Spain, Blanco's passion for music and business led to the creation of this monthly subscription music platform. One of the bands he’s promoting right now is Heffay, a Worcester Hip Hop band.

“It’s a win-win situation: musicians grow their fan base and connect with new fans, and the fans will always have the opportunity to find new music they haven’t heard before.”

The company's online Beta version launches April 4, 2014

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Salespod (Repsly)

Salespod makes mobile/cloud software for organizations to manage field teams and the data that they collect.

“We currently have 2200 users in 31 countries, and are growing 10 to 15 percent per month. We are getting ready to launch a major marketing initiative and expect to grow to over 10,000 users this year,” said Mat Brogie, Salespod, Inc. COO.

“The software runs on Apple and Android smartphones and tablets, and there is a web based management console that managers use to see where and when field reps perform their activities, and to analyze the data these field reps generate.”

Salespod has a research and development office in Zagreb, Croatia, and has established the Worcester office to launch its US presence. The company started in Worcester last year with only 800 users.

“There is a growing culture entrepreneurism in the city, and the physical changes in town add to the energy that is building … not to mention the economics are extremely friendly for a start-up trying to maximize the use of cash.”

Salespod announced in March that they would be making a name/logo change to Repsly.

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Incite Advisors, Inc

Incite Advisors, Inc. provides Web application development services for applications in the healthcare and life sciences.

“We are focused on data driven applications and visualizing big data. Our largest client has hired us to develop a web/mobile application that allows doctors to capture patient diagnostic information in the natural course of their work,” said Incite founder and President Ronald Ranauro.

“The application will allow for rapid updates as medical knowledge advances. The idea is that by using the computer care teams can more easily coordinate services. We are also developing a web application for visualizing and searching big picture trends in clinical trials. In support of our work, we have developed an open source software toolkit called BoxspringJS.”

Ranauro grew up in Central Massachusetts and graduated from WPI. He said his company is reaching out to the student population to offer training and real world experience on paid customer projects.

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Technocopia

Technocopia is a non-profit (tax-exempt status pending) geared towards creating open-source technologies that will benefit the whole world. As part of this mission they are opening a “hackerspace” in Worcester, which will serve as a home-base for their research and development of these technologies, as well as a common collaborative space for anyone in Central Massachusetts to make their own projects into reality.

Their hackerspaces feature a lounge, kitchen, conference space and computer stations. Technocopia intends to support the development of open-source technology that will allow any individual, family, or community to sustainably and independently satisfy their own humanitarian needs. These needs are defined loosely as things such as nutritious food, clean water, shelter, electricity, medicine, and free access to knowledge (the internet).

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Mass Biomedical

Self-described as “World class incubators for world class science,” Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives (MBI) is dedicated to job creation and innovative healthcare throughout Massachusetts by promoting the growth of start-up biomedical companies. MBI is committed to collaborating with the academic, business and government communities to promote Massachusetts as the world leader in the health sciences industry.

Kevin O’Sullivan is the President & CEO of MBI, located on Prescott Street. O’Sullivan describes the company as a private, independent economic development organization that serves as a catalyst for life science and healthcare innovation.

“We help start biomedical companies and create jobs within the Biotechnology, Medical Device, Informatics, and Biomanufacturing industry by providing secure, clean bench and sink surface, staff trained and fully licensed laboratory space for usage by ‘seed stage’ companies. Building and maintaining collaborative affiliations and partnerships are essential to our success.”

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MassDiGI

What would a tech company list be without a little fun? While neighboring Rhode Island smarts over Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios disaster, MassDiGI is pushing academic cooperation, entrepreneurship and economic development across the Massachusetts digital and video games ecosystem.

MassDiGI is a US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center. Since starting up, MassDiGI has launched several initiatives that support entrepreneurship and strengthen the talent pipeline between higher education and the game industry.

Timothy Loew, Executive Director of MassDiGI, formerly held senior positions in business, development and academic planning at Becker College.

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Compex Software

Jonathan Vo, Principal and Founder of Compex Software, is another Worcester Polytechnic Institute grad succeeding in the WPI neighborhood.

Vo’s software company has successfully deployed many of its software applications at hundreds of specialized operations throughout the US. Like others on this list, Compex Software came about as result of a student project. Vo did so well that he was recommended to an independent company and he’s never looked back.

Compex Software designs, develops and implements integrated business management software solutions to help small- and medium- sized businesses manage their operations. This includes manufacturing, inventory tracking, job costing, quality control, and accounting.

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CellMosaic

Yumei Huang is the Founder, President & CEO, CellMosaic, Inc. The company recently signed a collaboration research agreement (CRADA) with the National Cancer Institute to co-develop two AqT based conjugate drugs. One is an antibody-drug conjugate for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma and another is a protein-drug conjugate targeting CA125 for the treatment of ovarian cancer.

Under the agreement, NCI will provide its proprietary antibody and CellMosaic will design and synthesize an antibody-drug conjugate and protein-drug conjugate using its proprietary AqT linker and advanced conjugation processes. The CRADA grants CellMosaic an exclusive license option from NCI for any new products developed under this CRADA.

 
 

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