/ CBET Updates


Albany, New York – (October 13, 2022) – Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS) today announced it has secured a competitive $1.9M contract with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop and deliver a customized messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA)-based vaccine training program for FDA employees. This is the largest contract attained by the College in its history.

The announcement was delivered as the business and higher education community celebrated the new home for the College’s Life Sciences Innovation Building at the Stack Center for Biopharmaceutical Education and Training (CBET). The New Scotland Avenue location extends the College’s footprint along Albany’s medical corridor.

The FDA contract, which will run for five years, allows CBET to create a customized mRNA vaccine technology training program for the Office of Regulatory Affairs’ (ORA’s) Office of Biological Product Operations (OBPO). The unique manufacturing challenges of complex structures such as mRNA necessitates advanced technical training of ORA investigators to ensure effective manufacturing oversight and compliance. The proposed course work strengthens the foundational knowledge of the learner for the breadth of the biomanufacturing process.

“CBET is the College’s response to the need for an educated workforce in the fast-growing biopharmaceutical field, offering open enrollment and custom training to employers, in addition to traditional academic programs,” said ACPHS President and Professor, Dr. Toyin Tofade. “The FDA contract aligns perfectly with this mission, and we are so grateful for the tireless efforts of Executive Director, Dr. Michelle Lewis, who has spearheaded the pursuit of this contract and cemented CBET on the regional stage.”

New Home for CBET

An education and training bioprocessing center, CBET was supported by a $1.75 million ESD capital grant, recommended by the Capital Region Economic Development Council. It offers academic and research opportunities pertaining to cell and gene therapy in New York’s Capital Region.

The Life Sciences Innovation Building at CBET encompasses 154,000 square feet uniquely designed for life science research. It includes ample START-UP NY space offering tax-based incentives and innovative academic partnerships for burgeoning businesses. With the accessible space, students and faculty will have expanded opportunities to conduct innovative research in biopharmaceuticals. The facility also boasts 60,000 square feet of laboratory space – both BSL2 and BSL3 levels for work with both non–pathogen and contagious pathogens – designed to address some of the most pressing issues facing society including bioterrorism and pandemic response. 

BioInnovation 2022 Forum

Following the ribbon cutting ceremony and FDA announcement, ACPHS, in collaboration with Albany Medical College, Center for Economic Growth, Empire State Development, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the University at Albany hosted BioInnovation 2022: Cultivating a Biotech Ecosystem: Driving Innovation and Commercialization. More than 115 business, scientific and entrepreneurial leaders from across the great Capital Region attended.The inaugural event was designed to showcase Albany’s expanding and vibrant biotech hub. Center for Economic Growth President, Mark Eagan, and Assemblymember and alumnus John T. McDonald III ’85 presented opening remarks, followed by a keynote speaker, two discussion panels, poster presentations, and a closing networking session. Win Thurlow, Executive Director at MedTech Association, moderated the discussions.

About the BioInnovation 2022 Partners

The partners include a robust combination of academic institutions and economic organizations working to raise the profile of New York’s Capital Region’s life sciences environment. Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Albany Medical College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the University at Albany, Center for Economic Growth and Empire State Development are collaborating to develop critical resources and educational opportunities, such as the BioInnovation Forum, to showcase Albany’s expanding and vibrant biotech hub.

About Albany College of Pharmacy and Life Sciences

Founded in 1881, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS) is a private, independent college with a long tradition of academic and research excellence. In addition to Pharmacy, ACPHS offers the only Masters of Biomanufacturing and Bioprocessing degree in the state. Other programs include Biomedical Technology, Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Microbiology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pre-Med, and Public Health. The College’s mission is to educate the next generation of leaders to improve the health of society. ACPHS ranks #1 in New York and #2 in the U.S. for best return on investment according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. ACPHS was also named the #1 value-added college in the country by The Wall Street Journal and the Brookings Institution. For more information, visit www.acphs.edu.