AURP CEO Blog Post - 09-24-2020

Consider the lowly horseshoe crab. East Coast beach walkers can see these creatures, early in the morning, sometimes stranded upside down in the sand. It isn’t a crab, but more closely related to the spider family. Not well known is that the blood from horseshoe crabs play a critical role in ensuring the safety of vaccines and other drugs. The crab’s milky-blue blood provides a substance that can detect a deadly containment called endotoxin that can contaminate vaccines and other drugs during manufacturing. Fortunately, we have a sufficient natural supply of horseshoe crabs to supply the country’s immediate needs, even with a surge of a COVID19 vaccine production.  But what about other drugs and medical supplies? If drug manufacturing isn’t taking place in the US, how do we know our medical supply lines won’t be disrupted when the next pandemic arrives?

Earlier this month AURP hosted a webinar on reshoring bio and pharma manufacturing to ensure health for our citizens. The COVID-19 Pandemic vividly demonstrates the need for rethinking ways to manufacture biological materials and create sustainable medical product supply lines.

Even when we find a new vaccine, we will still need to manufacture these, quickly and safely for hundreds of millions of patients. Improving drug and medicine manufacturing processes and facilities will be key.

The webinar featured discussion of new bio program funding, new regulatory schemes, and new community engagement as solutions. Executives from bio and pharma manufacturing companies located in university research parks provided expert advice. The role of training for bio technicians was emphasized as part of the solution. And AURP presented its Excalibur Award for COVID-19 Response and Resiliency to the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) at the University of Delaware Research Park for being established before COVID-19 arrived on our shores.

If you didn’t make the webinar, you can still participate ON-DEMAND.

Earlier this week the House of Representatives passed the Strengthening American’s Strategic National Stockpile Act. The bill includes $3.5M for states to expand or maintain strategic stockpiles and $500M for supply chain improvements by supporting domestic reserves of medical supplies. A version of the bill is expected to be approved by the Senate as some point in the fall.

AURP will continue to work with stakeholders across the country, including bio tech companies in our research parks, on helping ensure we have robust supply lines for drug and medical manufacturing in the US.

Don’t miss the Winning the War for Talent and Technology on Oct. 15th. Continue the discussion on our Blogger.

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