Gardner, MA - New England Peptide (NEP) and Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC) are collaborating to increase the pipeline of skilled life science workers to help grow the region's life science cluster. NEP has committed to providing internships and workforce training for students enrolled in MWCC’s Biotechnology/ Biomanufacturing academic programs.
“New England Peptide is proud to partner with Mount Wachusett to help more area students prepare for careers in life sciences,” said NEP Chief Executive Officer Dave Robinson, who also serves on MWCC’s biomanufacturing advisory board. “Central Massachusetts has all the elements for a world-class life sciences cluster and this program will help build the workforce to create and keep jobs in the region.”
MWCC's Biotechnology/Biomanufacturing program currently serves 80 students in the associate degree and certificate programs. MWCC has also launched a free workforce development program through a federal Department of Labor grant that will help train a minimum of 30 students a year over the next three years
Most biotechnology classes will be administered at MWCC’s satellite campus in Devens, where Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) will be opening a new biologics manufacturing center next year. BMS is also represented on the program’s advisory aboard, along with Genzyme and Bionostics.
“Working together, Mount Wachusett Community College and New England Peptide are creating jobs for the future and enhancing economic development in our region at a time when it is needed the most,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino, Ph.D.
“Companies like NEP and others are bringing exciting and dynamic opportunities to our region,” said Lara Dowland, Ph.D., chair of MWCC’s Biotechnology/Biomanufacturing Program. “By adding NEP to our program, we can provide more learning and career pathways for our students and develop workers to accommodate future industry growth.”
The students are prepared for entry level positions in biomanufacturing as well as laboratory technicians in scientific research labs. Students completing both the associate degree and certificate programs can make very competitive salaries and develop a real career path in the life sciences industry, according to Dowland.
NEP makes peptides - or complex amino acid sequences - used for research at hospitals, universities and biotechnology companies. It currently employs 35 at its Gardner facility but recently announced its plans to work with the City of Gardner to explore building a new facility that will manufacture peptides for commercial and clinical research use.
"Working with MWCC will help us achieve our workforce expansion goals as we embark on the next generation of our company,” said Robinson. “We are eager to start our next wave of growth and bring good jobs and career opportunities to the greater Gardner area.”
State officials applauded the new collaboration between NEP and MWCC.
"Workforce development is one of the key priorities of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center as we work to foster growth in the life sciences industry, and we're thrilled to see this collaboration between New England Peptide and Mount Wachusett Community College," said Susan Windham-Bannister, President & CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. "This is a terrific example of a public/private partnership designed to meet the workforce needs of the growing life sciences cluster in our state, while training our workforce for the jobs of today and of the future. Through our Life Sciences Talent Initiative, the Center is working to encourage just these sorts of partnerships that will increase the pipeline of talent in the Commonwealth while leveraging valuable resources."
About New England Peptide (www.newenglandpeptide.com)
New England Peptide, founded in 1998, designs and produces custom peptides and polyclonal antibodies for drug and vaccine discovery organizations worldwide. Headquartered in the Boston metro area in Gardner, Mass., the company’s chemists and immunological experts specialize in delivering a full range of services for biotech and pharmaceutical applications.
Peptides are small proteins that play key roles in biochemical regulation of all life systems, helping to fight diseases as diverse as cancer, diabetes, obesity and HIV/AIDS. Peptides’ inherent low toxicity and high potency, coupled with improved drug delivery methods and enhanced manufacturing capabilities, are fueling a surge in research and clinical use. All segments of the peptide market – from therapeutics and vaccines to diagnostics and cosmetics – are thriving.
About Mount Wachusett Community College (www.mwcc.edu)
Founded in 1963, Mount Wachusett Community College is an accredited public two-year institution with campuses in Gardner, Leominster and Devens. MWCC offers over 40 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as adult basic education/GED programs, education and training for business and industry, and noncredit community service programs. Courses are offered day, evening, and online. Many students attend MWCC to prepare for a career or transfer to a four-year college or university.
About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (www.masslifesciences.com)
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is a quasi-public agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The MLSC was established to promote the life sciences industry within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is tasked with investing in life sciences research and economic development. This work includes making financial investments in public and private institutions, growing life sciences research, development and commercialization as well as building ties between sectors of the Massachusetts life sciences community.