The MIT Center for Biomedical Innovation (CBI) announces a collaboration with the Amgen Foundation to develop the Amgen-MIT Biomanufacturing Educational Initiative, focused on biologics manufacturing. The new course will be part of edX, a massive open online course (MOOC) platform founded by MIT and Harvard University in May, 2012. The platform hosts online university-level courses in a wide range of disciplines to a worldwide audience at no charge and allows for research into learning.
The characteristics of biologic medicines are closely related to manufacturing processes and environmental conditions. This initiative aims to highlight the complexity and importance of biologics manufacturing; increase global undergraduate exposure to the field; and encourage students around the world to consider careers in the pursuit of manufacturing life-saving biologic medications.
“We are on the cusp of a new era in biologics manufacturing — and the industry needs a trained and prepared workforce for this important and highly technical field to accelerate future progress,” said Madhu Balachandran, executive vice president of operations at Amgen and a member of the Amgen Foundation board. “The Amgen Foundation is deeply committed to developing the next generation of innovators in all areas of biotechnology including biomanufacturing.”
The course, Making Biologic Medicines for Patients: The Principles of Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing (10.03x), will teach undergraduate students about the manufacturing of large, complex biologic medicines like monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. This new course is one of a number of new online courses being developed at MIT for the edX platform. Due to the open and global nature of edX, the class aims to attract students from around the globe, including underrepresented minorities and students from developing regions.
“In 10.03x, we will teach fundamental principles of bioprocessing and leverage the online environment to connect the principles to application,” said Dr. Stacy Springs, director of the MIT CBI Biomanufacturing Research and Educational Program, also known as BioMAN.
“Another feature of the course will be a series of supplemental interviews with scientists and engineers who have made seminal contributions to the field, illustrating the rich history of industry and the advances that impact how we make biologic medicines today,” added Professor Anthony J. Sinskey, professor of Biology, Health Sciences and Technology, and Engineering Systems.
The course is being developed by Sinskey; Springs; and Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering J. Christopher Love, in collaboration with the MIT Office of Digital Learning. The course will be used by MIT students in the fall of 2014 in a “blended format” that integrates new online components as part of a traditional campus-based course; it will be offered globally in the spring of 2015 on the edX platform.
“Our goal is to inspire undergraduate students to pursue engineering studies in this field and encourage both new leaders and operators who will support the quality manufacturing of biomedicines for our future,” said professor Love, who is also co-principal investigator on the Amgen Foundation grant.