microscope, biotech, biotechnology

The Next Foundry for American Biotechnology, a first-in-the nation, public-private partnership that launched this month in Manchester, New Hampshire, is aiming to improve the nation's ability to quickly respond to health threats by developing new technologies.

The foundry was created in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR).

"The selection of Manchester to host the Foundry, a first-of-its-kind initiative, is a major vote of confidence in the world-class research and development being done right here in the Granite State," Gov. Chris Sununu said in a statement.

The Next Foundry for American Biotechnology (NextFAB) is led by Dean Kamen's Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI), which recently received a $51 million federal grant to develop the foundry over the next five years.

“An initial focus of NextFAB is the automated, on demand, and distributed manufacturing of medical therapies," Kamen said.

The project would create portable, automated medicine-making devices that can be quickly delivered to critical areas, reducing emergency response times during pandemics or bioterrorism events.

"Every year, America faces natural disasters and other public health emergencies, and some day, Americans will be able to recover faster from these emergencies and stay healthier because of products that come out of this Foundry," HHS Secretary Alex Azar said. "As the outbreak of the novel coronavirus reminds us, protecting the health and security of the American people requires constantly investing in biotechnology innovation and partnering with the private sector."

The foundry will engage regional experts by offering an idea lab, dry and wet labs, manufacturing space, and a learning zone.

"The flexible wet lab space can be sized for specific project needs with project teams bringing their own personnel, products, materials, and supplies," the HHS said. "The space even supports development of manufacturing processes using commercial Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) necessary to bring the products to market."