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UMN and Takeda Announce Partnership Focused on Biopharma
Minnesota Ag Connection - 03/25/2019

The University of Minnesota's BioTechnology Institute (BTI), in conjunction with the College of Biological Sciences (CBS), and Tokyo-based Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., through its subsidiary Millennium Pharmaceuticals, have entered into an advanced workforce training partnership. They recently received a grant awarded by the State of Minnesota Job Skills Partnership (MJSP) Board to kick start their training efforts.

Over the next three years, BTI will provide advanced biopharmaceutical training for up to 125 Takeda employees working at its biologics manufacturing facility in Brooklyn Park, Minn. The training program will consist of six courses focused on a range of topics based on current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), technical writing, facility operations and the product life cycle of biologics.

"This partnership allows the University of Minnesota to address a growing workforce need in our state," said BTI Director Michael Sadowsky. "Through it, we are laying the foundation to provide continuing education for the biopharma and biotechnology industry in Minnesota."

When fully operational in 2019, the Brooklyn Park facility will be Takeda's first large-scale monoclonal antibody production plant initially supplying Entyvio to patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. The site is the largest facility in Minnesota devoted to biologics manufacturing, providing a foundation for manufacturing of medicinal biologics in the state.

"Takeda is excited to be partnering with the University of Minnesota's College of Biological Sciences and BioTechnology Institute," said Michael Gramer, Takeda's Sr. Director of Technical Operations. "The new training curriculum will support the development of our current and future workforce, further enabling us to provide medicines that positively impact the lives of patients around the world."

Along with developing and implementing this program to address immediate training and skill requirements, BTI is currently aligning its academic programs to better develop and deliver a workforce to meet the needs of Minnesota's more than 150 biopharmaceutical companies.

"Through this unique partnership, we are going to be able to offer training that can be scaled and expanded to help grow the state's biotechnology workforce, which includes our own students," said CBS Dean Valery Forbes. "It fills a very real need while also providing new opportunities for our graduates."

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