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U of Vermont joins regenerative medicine consortium

By David Schwartz
Published: February 6th, 2018

The University of Vermont (UVM) has joined the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI) through the Institute’s BioFabUSA program. ARMI is a non-profit consortium dedicated to enabling the large-scale manufacture of engineered tissues and tissue-related technologies.

The Institute is one of 14 sites under the federal umbrella of Manufacturing USA and the Department of Defense focused on catalyzing specific industries using advanced manufacturing technologies.

Based in Manchester, NH, ARMI/BioFabUSA is composed of leading universities and corporations, ranging from large multi-nationals to start-ups. Regenerative medicine seeks to develop materials, devices, systems and therapeutic strategies that augment, repair, replace or regenerate organs and tissues. Research advances are coming fast and furious, but the consortium seeks to fill a void in the ability to scale up those advances in the form of practical, large scale manufacturing systems.

“Regenerative medicine as a field is on the verge of transforming the treatment of disease and disability, as the research breakthroughs of the past decade move into the world of practical medicine,” said Richard Galbraith, vice president for research at UVM. “Our membership in ARMI/BioFabUSA both recognizes UVM as a leader in this rapidly emerging area and provides an opportunity for the university to advance even further.”

“The academic and commercial R&D community has done a tremendous job driving innovation in the field of regenerative medicine,” said Gray Chynoweth, chief membership officer at ARMI/BioFabUSA. “Now it is time to move from bench and clinical scale to commercial scale manufacturing. New and different types of talent and expertise are needed for this transition to succeed.  We are thrilled that UVM will be joining forces with us to support this transition and develop this talent pipeline.”

UVM has a strong position in regenerative medicine, where it is developing a multi-disciplinary program focused on basic science, commercialization, entrepreneurship and biotechnology training.

A key element of the ARMI/BioFabUSA mission is to support basic and applied research in regenerative medicine through an ongoing grant program for members. The organization has plans to disperse $80 million in funding to consortium members over seven years.

In addition to research, the consortium is also focused on workforce development designed to create a new generation of employees to fill skilled, high paying jobs in regenerative medicine that barely exist today. 

For the universities that are part of ARMI/BioFabUSA, Galbraith said, that represents a rare opportunity for students.  “The ARMI/BioFabUSA ecosystem of companies will give our students exceptional networking, internship and employment opportunities,” he said. “And the connections our faculty make with corporations in the consortium will provide us an early-stage understanding of market needs that has the potential to translate to new curriculum and give UVM graduates a significant competitive edge in the marketplace.”

Source: The University of Vermont

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