University of Delaware broke ground on its $150 million SABRE Center Monday morning.

UD breaks ground on $150M SABRE bio-pharma center

Jarek RutzHeadlines, Education

University of Delaware broke ground on its $150 million SABRE Center Monday morning.

University of Delaware broke ground on its $150 million SABRE Center Monday morning.

The University of Delaware hopes that on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic, a brand new $150 million building will lead to the next monumental biopharmaceutical innovation.

“It was a near miracle that a global pandemic was unleashed on the world, shut down the global economy, took millions of lives, and yet the bio-industry identified, developed and delivered a life-saving, world-saving vaccine in record time, not in 10 years, but in one year,” said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, at a groundbreaking event Monday.

The Securing American Biomanufacturing Research and Education (SABRE) Center will be a 70,000-square-foot facility, funded primarily by federal and state dollars. 

In it will be training for workers in manufacturing biopharmaceuticals.

The space allows for biopharmaceutical companies to test their innovations in an FDA-regulated environment, complementing research and development work at NIIMBL (National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals).

Kelvin Lee, director of NIIMBL, said the amount of funds the university currently has for the project is undisclosed. 

But, there have been several funding pools, such as an $8 million allocation for UD and NIIMBL for a biopharma manufacturing center in September, 2022 as part of a congressionally-directed allotment from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Department of Health and Human Services

“This is the next phase in Delaware being at the cutting edge,” Coons said, “not just regionally but globally of innovation in bio and pharma, manufacturing and development.”

UD hopes the SABRE Center will result in manufacturing innovations in a production-relevant environment on a wide variety of cutting-edge biopharmaceuticals, such as gene therapies, mRNA vaccines and other biopharmaceuticals. 

The goal is to provide a collaborative space for  biopharmaceuticals in order to accelerate the development of new manufacturing technologies and approaches into widespread commercial adoption.

UD President Dennis Assanis said the center will spawn thousands of new manufacturing jobs to boost the state economy. 

“Groundbreakings like this are always very inspirational and full of hope and promise of new endeavors and exciting achievements to come,” he said. 

As a training ground for students, the new building will help develop a future workforce with relevant technical skills, hands-on training and expertise with equipment and processes that most closely mirror biopharmaceutical manufacturing facilities.

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Delaware, said this new center boils down to two things: jobs and supply chains. 

Mapping and monitoring the success of the SABRE Center with those two elements will ensure that Delaware stays competitive and maintains a healthy economy, while also leading the nation in innovation. 

Sen. Tom Carpet, D-Delaware, said this is another example of Delaware being the “little state that could.”

It is unclear when the SABRE Center is expected to open, but Assanis said the new building will be a place where brilliant ideas become realities.

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