UTHSC is helping drive biotech innovation as a member of a regional consortium that was awarded a major federal grant to develop a strategy to advance biomanufacturing capabilities across Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama.
UTHSC joins more than 30 public and private organizations led by the University of Mississippi to form the Southeast Biotech Collaborative, or SEBC, which this week received a Phase 1 Strategy Development Grant from the United States Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration. The Tech Hubs Program, authorized by the CHIPS and Science Act, awarded the grant. By investing in U.S. regions, it aims to transform them into globally competitive innovation centers.
The SEBC will leverage the grant to increase local coordination and planning activities to advance biomanufacturing, biologistics, and precision population health to increase the supply of pharmaceuticals manufactured in the U.S. The SEBC consortium was selected from a competitive pool of 181 applications.
UTHSC was selected as a consortium partner based on its shared goals and track record of supporting discovery, innovation, commercialization, and economic growth across Tennessee. In addition to its established biotech research funding, UTHSC leveraged strengths such as the Plough Center for Sterile Drug Delivery Solutions, a facility for manufacturing sterile finished pharmaceutical dosage forms compliant with FDA protocols and procedures.
“It is exciting that UTHSC is a partner in this innovative regional initiative to create more jobs, drive technological advancement, and train the next generation of entrepreneurs,” said Peter Buckley, MD, chancellor of UTHSC. “Bringing this many diverse partners together to pursue a common economic goal is unprecedented and shows that the entrepreneurial future is bright in the southeastern United States.”
Focusing on the Memphis-to-Huntsville corridor and surrounding rural areas, the SEBC includes an array of biotech companies, incubators, state and local governments, institutes of higher education, historically Black colleges and universities, biotechnology trade associations, economic development organizations, national labs, private industry, and workforce organizations. The SEBC’s mission is to onshore biomanufacturing capabilities, reduce drug shortages, and ensure U.S. leadership in biotechnologies.
The federal investment will enable the consortium to build out its plan and then pursue full Tech Hub designation from the Department of Commerce, which could provide more than tens of millions of dollars in additional funding over the coming years.
More information is available at the SEBC’s website, southeastbiotech.org.