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National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) 2022 Annual Meeting

Remarks as prepared.

I am very pleased to be here with all of you today. Your incredible efforts have made NIIMBL a shining example in the Manufacturing USA system.

Manufacturing USA was established to increase the domestic competitiveness of U.S. industry. 

The network plays a vital role in accelerating the implementation of advanced manufacturing technology so that we can:

  • Take what is invented in the U.S. and ensure it is made here by a skilled American workforce,
  • Bring new types of products to market in support of public health and energy and national security,
  • Revitalize existing manufacturing sectors to improve cost-efficiencies and lower environmental impact, and
  • Increase access to high-wage jobs and prepare the 21st century workforce.

This public-private partnership works to secure U.S. global leadership in advanced manufacturing through large-scale collaboration on manufacturing technology, supply chain, and workforce development.

Today the network includes 16 manufacturing innovation institutes and their sponsoring agencies — the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Defense, and Energy, along with six other partner agencies. Together we form a powerful, whole-of-government, national effort to drive innovation in manufacturing.

The network is successful because each institute includes members from industry, academia, and state and federal governments who share an interest in advancing manufacturing and all the benefits it can bring to our nation.

Last year, the institutes collectively worked with more than 2,300 member organizations to collaborate on more than 700 major applied R&D projects. They engaged more than 90,000 people with advanced manufacturing training; $480 million in state, industry and federal funds helped to support these activities.

But more needs to be done to accelerate advanced manufacturing education and workforce development. A national initiative such as this is critical in the face of ever-increasing competition from other nations, which are also racing to adopt new technologies and train their workforces.

This administration is committed to ensuring that manufacturing will continue to be a strong source of our economic and national security, as well as a provider of solid middle-class careers.

Today, we’re here to talk about NIIMBL, which is sponsored by NIST and the Department of Commerce.

And while NIIMBL is the sole institute we sponsor right now, we hope that will soon change. Congress is considering a bill that will expand the number of Commerce-sponsored institutes.  

One reason we’re so proud of NIIMBL is that the institute and its partners have truly demonstrated the value of Manufacturing USA in convening and strengthening important industry sectors. 

The biopharmaceutical industry makes significant contributions to our nation’s economy — and to our health — in multiple ways. 

According to the latest available data from 2020, the biopharmaceutical industry directly contributes 1.6% of the U.S. GDP through research, production and operations.

When impacts on other sectors are added in, that number grows to 3.4% of the U.S GDP.

The FDA has approved more than 1,500 biopharmaceutical facilities to manufacture human-use products in 47 states and Puerto Rico. 

More than 900,000 workers are directly employed in biopharmaceutical manufacturing, in jobs that pay nearly twice as much as other industries.

And the industry supports nearly 4.4 million workers across the U.S. economy through indirect impacts on other sectors.

And that’s just looking at its effects on our economy. Imagine if we heard the stories from the individuals who have personally benefited from the work being done here.

NIIMBL supports NIST’s mission through the breadth of industry sectors it convenes and the depth of scientific expertise it brings.

By convening industry, NIIMBL helps inform NIST’s priorities for developing measurement science to support the bioeconomy.

NIST is very proud to have supported NIIMBL’s establishment with an initial $70 million investment. That investment spurred more than $380 million in nonfederal co-investment since the institute launched in 2017.

And last year at this same meeting, you may recall that Secretary Raimondo announced the largest financial assistance award NIST had ever made: $83 million to prepare, prevent and respond to coronavirus, through the American Rescue Plan.

With the renewal of funding last year for an additional five years, and funding provided to NIIMBL for pandemic response, NIST and the Department of Commerce will have committed more than $232 million to NIIMBL in the institute’s first 10 years.

But our commitment goes beyond funding. NIST’s partnership with NIIMBL is ultimately a relationship between organizations and scientists who complement each other’s missions, visions, and needs working together for mutual benefit. 

NIST scientists are directly partnering with NIIMBL to develop better analytical methods to:

  • Characterize viral vectors,
  • Develop reference cell lines expressing the NIST monoclonal antibody, or NISTmAb, and
  • Conduct interlaboratory studies to increase the robustness of attribute measurements for monoclonal antibodies. This last effort focuses on academic laboratories to strengthen the industrial relevance of innovative analytical methods. 

My sincere thanks go to everyone at NIIMBL, especially Kelvin Lee and Kate Sanford, for being good partners to NIST and for demonstrating the value of Manufacturing USA for the past five and a half years. 

NIST’s investment in NIIMBL catalyzed a significant expansion of the recognized “precompetitive” space for collaboration within this historically competitive and secretive industry.

NIIMBL has nearly 200 members, including 22 large industry manufacturers and suppliers working together with more than 70 small companies. Together they are accelerating the technology innovation that is needed by the industry to bring new types of therapies to patients and retain U.S. leadership in biopharmaceutical manufacturing.

Researchers from more than 30 major research universities are learning from industry what is needed to move innovation out of the laboratory and into industrial use. 

More than 50 community colleges, technical schools and research universities are working to develop and implement industry-relevant training courses in biopharmaceutical manufacturing. AND they are expanding the reach of those training programs to underrepresented communities to increase both the equity of access to high wage jobs and grow the pipeline of skilled workers to meet industry’s needs.

NIIMBL projects funded through ARP are addressing national needs for:

  • More shelf-stable vaccines,
  • Greater agility in manufacturing of vaccines and other needed therapeutics, and
  • Rapid production of antigens needed for monitoring variants.

We at NIST look forward to continued partnership with NIIMBL.

Now I would like to share a recently created video to give you a sense of how your work with NIIMBL fits within the larger Manufacturing USA network. 

The video briefly spotlights the institutes’ unique approach to bringing together industry, academia and government to drive U.S. manufacturing innovation in key technology areas. 

From your work with NIIMBL in biopharmaceutical manufacturing innovation, to advanced robotics and sustainable manufacturing, the collection of Manufacturing USA institutes and their partners are driving an innovation revolution for the United States, helping to ensure that American inventions get made here.

Created August 18, 2022, Updated August 19, 2022