High Ground News: UT files for drug manufacturing facility

The University of Health Sciences Center has filed a permit for a new drug manufacturing facility that could be “a huge economic engine for the community,” according to Dr. Kennard Brown, Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operations office

Nearly $16 million from UTHSC and $4.5 million from the Plough Foundation are going toward creating The Plough Center for Sterile Drug Delivery Systems, a Good Manufacturing Practice pharmaceutical facility. The facility is to be housed at 208 S. Dudley Street, a former print shop warehouse that the university purchased for a little under $1 million in 2007.
About 17,200 square feet of the 32,000-square foot facility will be converted to house pre-fabricated sterile pods. The 800-square foot pods will be temperature controlled, and the smaller space will allow for complete control over sterilization while preparing, compounding and filling pharmaceuticals at a small scale.
The Plough Center will focus mainly on manufacturing vials, semi-solids, lotions, creams and syringes. Tabletting will be left to the bigger pharmaceutical companies. “We’re just keeping it to those kind of niche things,” Brown said. The facility will also accommodate orphan drugs, or phase 1 clinical trial drugs that are particularly expensive or rarely used and therefore not manufactured in bulk.
UTHSC has been in the small-batch pharmaceutical manufacturing business for more than 20 years, Robbins said. He took the opportunity to expand that presence because UTHSC now partners with more teaching hospitals than ever before. “All these hospitals use an inordinate amount of drugs, and we know that the pharmaceutical supply chain is not secure,” he said.
In particular, Robbins pointed to an incident at partner hospital St. Thomas in Nashville where tainted drugs from the New England Compounding Center killed 64 people and led to the indictment of 14 professionals. 
Robbins plans to go above and beyond federal safety regulations with this facility, and he is already in preliminary discussions with the Food and Drug Administration to help guide the way to formal commission.
“We can be a one-stop shop so we can do drug formulation, do clinical trials, do animal modeling, move it into phase II patient population clinical trials–all right here in Memphis,” he added.
The development will happen with help from brg3s architects. Construction will begin in September and will perpetuate for the next 12 to 18 months. “

UT files for drug manufacturing facility.


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