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NIIMBL Hosts 2nd National Meeting

The spirit of innovation, collaboration, and community was prevalent as NIIMBL convened its second National Meeting in Washington D.C. on May 16 and 17.


With an emphasis on celebrating, expanding, and strengthening the NIIMBL network, the National Meeting brought together over 300 representatives from NIIMBL member organizations, the biopharmaceutical community, and government agencies to celebrate NIIMBL’s first year achievements and look towards future opportunities to advance U.S. leadership in biomanufacturing.


“Our first National Meeting in 2017 was a tremendous success. This year, we were able to build on that thanks to the continued engagement of the NIIMBL community,” said Kelvin Lee, NIIMBL Institute Director.


Added Barry Buckland, NIIMBL Executive Director, “The event is a great opportunity for the community to get together and build momentum for the coming year. We are grateful for the enthusiastic participation and look forward to building upon our National Meeting year after year.”


The first day (May 16) featured an open agenda for the entire biopharmaceutical manufacturing community. May 17 activities were limited to NIIMBL members only.


May 16 Highlights


The May 16 open meeting was held at the National Academy of Sciences Building. The packed agenda featured presenters who emphasized innovation, collaboration, new technologies, and the benefits of diversity, inclusion, and mentorship. Among the highlights:


  • Celgene CEO Mark Alles and MilliporeSigma CEO Udit Batra stressed each of their organization’s commitment to partnership with the NIIMBL community.
  • FDA leaders Anna Abram, Janet Woodcock, and Peter Marks discussed opportunities for improved medicines and the FDA’s support for NIIMBL’s collaborative approach to solving industry challenges.
  • A panel discussion, moderated by Pfizer’s Tim Charlebois, and featuring Janet Woodcock and Peter Marks from the FDA, Patrick Swann from Amgen, and Larry Starke from Novartis, centered on innovation’s impact on healthcare.
  • Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Johnathan Holifield, and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) mentor and ILITE FRC Robotics Team #1885 coach, Gail Drake, addressed developing the next generation of professionals through diversity, inclusion, and mentorship initiatives.
  • The SME Innovation Showcase allowed 23 small companies to highlight their technologies, capabilities, and services.


In addition to the informative presentations, the poster presentation area bustled with activity throughout the day as more than 45 academic institutions and small companies presented their research and technologies.


Attendees were also treated to the first output from a NIIMBL-funded project. Dr. Dhinakar Kompala, Chairman and CEO of Sudhin Biopharma Co., unveiled a new plastic, single-use cell settler. The device was developed for a collaborative project with Genentech focused on single-use disposable plastic devices for clarifying cell culture broth from a disposable bioreactor. Dr. Kompala presented the settler to Genentech at the National Meeting for further in-house testing.


May 17 Highlights


On May 17, NIIMBL members gathered at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, VA for a full day of member activities. Attendees had the opportunity to choose from numerous sessions based on their individual interests. The agenda included:


  • A technology workshop on PAT Modeling and Control featuring talks from Tier 1 members and federal stakeholders, rapid-fire presentations, a poster session, and breakout discussions.
  • A three-part workforce workshop including sessions on the workplace of tomorrow, workforce development best practices and discussion, and preparing tomorrow’s professional.
  • Presentations from NIIMBL-funded project teams.
  • A session focused on how members can make the most of their involvement in the institute.
  • A session on project call best practices and success tips.
  • A Town Hall which featured the announcement of Project Call 2.1.


Planning is already underway for the 2019 National Meeting. Stay tuned for the date and location soon.

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