Shire HGT Teams Up with WPI to Expand Workforce Training Programs for Biologics Manufacturing

Company donates equipment to the Bioprocessing Center at WPI’s Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center at Gateway Park
Media Contact
January 28, 2009

WORCESTER, Mass.– Jan. 27, 2009 – Shire Human Genetic Therapies (HGT), a business unit of Shire plc, the global specialty biopharmaceutical company, is partnering with Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) to expand training opportunities for adult learners who want to develop the skills they need to transition into the life sciences sector.

Shire HGT has donated several pieces of commercial-scale equipment that will be integrated into the existing Bioprocessing Center at WPI’s Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center at Gateway Park, which is a working research and development operation where students get hands-on training to prepare them for jobs in biotechnology companies. Shire HGT scientists will also work with WPI staff and faculty to develop new programs that utilize the center’s expanded bioprocessing capabilities.

“We are grateful to Shire HGT for this generous donation,” said Stephen P. Flavin, associate provost and dean of Corporate and Professional Education at WPI. “It is further evidence of their commitment to our partnership to train and develop the workforce for the life sciences industry in central New England.”

The equipment donated includes two large stainless steel stir tanks with variable speed controlled agitators, a stainless steel floor scale with digital display, a chromatography column, various pumps, valves, hoses and bench-top instruments. The equipment is larger-scale than what is typically found in an academic research setting and will be used to better simulate a commercial manufacturing environment for various biologic processes.

“Shire HGT is very happy to support WPI’s workforce development mission,” said Bill Ciambrone, senior vice president of technical operations at Shire HGT.  “The continued growth of the biotechnology industry in Massachusetts is very important to the overall economic health of the Commonwealth, and WPI’s programs help assure that the industry will have the qualified workers we rely on to deliver new, innovative therapies to patients.”

Traditional pharmaceuticals, like statins that lower cholesterol, are made by synthesizing and combining chemicals.  Biopharmaceuticals or biologics, however, are molecules produced in living cells then isolated and purified to treat disease. Insulin, for example, is a therapeutic protein now produced in genetically engineered bacteria.

WPI’s Corporate and Professional Education division offers a wide range of programs that help companies in many sectors develop their workforce to enable growth and sustainability.

About Shire plc— Shire’s strategic goal is to become the leading specialty biopharmaceutical company that focuses on meeting the needs of the specialist physician.  Shire focuses its business on attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), human genetic therapies (HGT) and gastrointestinal (GI) diseases as well as opportunities in other therapeutic areas to the extent they arise through acquisitions.  Shire’s in-licensing, merger and acquisition efforts are focused on products in specialist markets with strong intellectual property protection and global rights.  Shire believes that a carefully selected and balanced portfolio of products with strategically aligned and relatively small-scale sales forces will deliver strong results. For further information on Shire, please visit the Company’s website: