Photo: Northwest student in lab. (Photo by Mad Genius)
Northwest Mississippi Community College is part of Southeast Biotech Collaborative (SEBC), which just announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce awarded a federal grant to establish a regional biotechnology hub focused on biomanufacturing and biologistics.
The SEBC is led by the University of Mississippi and is a consortium that has over 30 public and private organizations that are associated with it. SEBC’s goals are collaborative business practices, strong research institutions, clusters of biotech companies, access to capital, a skilled workforce, and supportive policies.
This upcoming tech hub focuses on the Memphis to Huntsville corridor and surrounding rural areas.
The greater Memphis area is already established in logistics and distribution and has a med-tech base that makes it a great place for growth. The Huntsville area employs more engineers per capita than any other city in the nation. Both cities have existing partnerships and diverse regional entities, this is a strong selling point for the hub.
“We at Northwest are excited to partner with prestigious educational, research, and business institutions to work toward future biotech manufacturing and training in the biotech industry in our region,” said NWCC President Dr. Michael J. Heindl.
This organization plays a strong role in what Northwest wants to do with its mission, vision, and values to enrich its students’ lives and give back to their communities. In this case, through research and being part of the community in and surrounding Mississippi.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to boost the economic future of the region and onshore manufacturing of key biotechnology products and components,” said SEBC chairman and technology entrepreneur, Bill Cook of Oxford. “This award is an endorsement from the U.S. government for the SEBC’s mission and we expect additional private partners to join in the effort in light of this announcement.”
This consortium which already includes a variety of biotech companies, institutions of higher education, historically black colleges and universities, state, local, and tribal governments, biotechnology trade associations, economic development organizations, national labs a private industry, and workforce organizations, has the mission to create more opportunities in bio-manufacturing capabilities and reduce drug shortages. Northwest is one of three community colleges in the state of Mississippi that is a part of the organization.
This federal grant will be primarily used to fund building leadership for the SEBC, mapping regional assets, developing a comprehensive strategy to recruit biomanufacturing/biologistics companies, developing a strategy to improve access to capital, developing and testing commercialization mechanisms, and developing a comprehensive workforce strategy.
“The Southeast Biotech Collaborative is on the path to transforming research and development in our region,” said U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). “This planning grant is a positive step that will help this Mississippi-led coalition compete on a global scale.”
If your organization is interested in joining the SEBC, please contact Matt Gallivan at email@example.com for more information or to request a meeting on the SEBC.
If you’re interested in learning more about the SEBC, please visit www.southeastbiotech.org or their Twitter where they regularly update information at @SEBioCollab