Celgene, NJII to team up on cell therapy tech training

Celgene Corp. and the New Jersey Innovation Institute are teaming up to train the biopharmaceutical company’s workers to manufacture next-gen cell therapy technologies, the two announced Thursday.

Celgene, based in Summit, will be producing the technologies in its Warren and Summit facilities, it said in a joint news release with NJII.

Subject-matter experts from the company will work with NJII — based at the New Jersey Institute of Technology — to develop a customized training curriculum focused on the scientific and engineering fundamentals of cell therapy processing and aseptic technique, the partners said.

“We are pleased to collaborate with Celgene on this exciting instructional project,” Haro Hartounian, NJII’s executive director, biotechnology and pharmaceutical innovation, said in a prepared statement. “The pace of development in cell therapy is unprecedented in the biopharmaceutical industry. It is imperative that manufacturing teams are proficient not only in the latest processing techniques, but that they also acquire a basic understanding of the underlying science.

“By drawing on subject-matter experts from NJIT and other universities who also bring extensive industry experience, our instructional team is ideally structured to meet the needs of the biopharmaceutical industry to prepare employees for future product launches.”

The training is aimed at both current Celgene workers and prospective employees looking to enter the health care sector or enhance their health care skillsets.

“We are looking forward to the positive impact this collaboration will have on our ability to train and on-board staff as we ramp up operations in our new cellular immunotherapy manufacturing facility in Summit,” Mayo Pujols, Celgene’s vice president of CAR T operations and technology, said in a statement. “By working with NJII, we hope to increase the speed by which we develop our workforce.”