Sartorius Stedim Biotech’s $1.5M Donation Creates Cell Culture Facility at Penn State
Sartorius Stedim Biotech has committed $1.5 million to Penn State to create the Sartorius Cell Culture Facility. It is slated to open in the first quarter of 2021 on the University Park campus.
This article is posted on Sartorius Blog.
“This donation from Sartorius is a tremendous investment in biotechnology at Penn State and a huge step forward in our organizations’ partnership,” said Lora G. Weis, senior vice president for research at Penn State. “Across our University’s $1 billion research enterprise, few areas have as much potential for widespread impact as biotechnology. Sartorius is helping to ensure that Penn State remains a leader in this field, not just by conducting groundbreaking research but also in preparing our graduates to become leaders themselves. We are deeply grateful to Sartorius for their generosity and vision.”
Mary Lavin, President, Sartorius North America, added, “We believe Penn State will make the most of this donation and partnership to inspire the next generation of pharma-biotech employees with innovative tools and solutions. We are investing in this new laboratory and expanding our partnership with PSU to ensure that students are prepared to meet the needs of our customers and the industry to produce safe and affordable medicines.”
Sartorius’ donation expands the partnership with Penn State to advance multidisciplinary teaching and research in biotechnology. In 2018, the company made a commitment to provide the University with state-of-the-art fermentation technologies and named the Sartorius Fermentation Gallery, an integral part of the CSL Behring Fermentation Facility. This facility supports the mission of educating future leaders in biotechnology through hands-on experiences for undergraduate and graduate students and corporate employees, and exposure to research across numerous fields.
The Center of Excellence in Industrial Biotechnology provides a focal point for Penn State’s programs in the areas of biotechnology, and the Sartorius Cell Culture Facility adds an important new facet to the center. Cell culture is an important technique for studying the normal physiology and biochemistry of cells, the basic structural and functional unit of all living things.
“The Sartorius Cell Culture Facility will enable cutting-edge advancements in biotechnology, including the development of diagnostic tests and treatments,” said Andrew Read, director of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences. “This is an opportunity. It is important for society, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mary Lavin. “We’re enabling the great thinkers of tomorrow to help solve this global problem. We share a common mission to educate and to empower scientists and engineers and to accelerate developments in life science and bioprocessing. This facility will be a training and development hub for our employees and the industry to collaborate with PSU to leverage their resources to support customers and the industry in making scientific progress to improve patient outcomes. We are very excited to extend our partnership with PSU and continue to work together.”
Read continued, “Our researchers have already generated a vast quantity of cells that have provided specific proteins for use in COVID-19 antibody research. In the new Sartorius Cell Culture Facility, we plan to expand that work and continue to play a key role in getting new solutions to market where they may directly influence patient care.”
The Sartorius Cell Culture Facility will not only benefit researchers but also provide valuable new learning opportunities for Penn State students. “Right now, there is a shortage of people who are qualified to do this work,” Read said. “Training students to operate the specialized equipment in the Sartorius Cell Culture Facility will give them a huge advantage as they enter the workforce, while making this expertise more widely available. In both key areas of focus — research and education — the donation from Sartorius is going to propel Penn State’s biotechnology efforts forward in exciting ways.”
This laboratory will serve as the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences’ twelfth core facility and the third leg in the collaborative biotechnology ecosystem that includes the Center of Excellence in Industrial Biotechnology and the CSL Behring Fermentation Facility. Core facilities are open to researchers from across Penn State, as well as other academic and corporate researchers. They make available equipment that, because of its sophistication and expense, cannot practically be obtained by smaller labs, while providing the expertise to operate the equipment.
“The types of equipment and the expertise that we have here in our core facilities is hard to come by anywhere in the country,” Read added. “We are profoundly grateful for the partnership with Sartorius that will make it possible for our faculty and students to lead the way in fields that will impact all of us.”