UPMC, GE Healthcare create rapid-response manufacturing facility

PITTSBURGH — The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and GE Healthcare are working together to battle bioterrorism and infectious diseases, in a partnership announced Oct. 12.

They will promote to the U.S. government the concept of a facility that can rapidly produce medical countermeasures to protect against biological, radiological and nuclear threats, and certain naturally occurring diseases.

The proposed facility would be able to produce multiple vaccines and drugs to meet threats posed by terrorist attacks and infectious diseases. Using modern single-use and disposable manufacturing techniques, the facility could rapidly switch or surge production as required.

At the same time, the facility would strengthen the U.S. biotechnology industry and create up to 1,000 direct and 6,000 indirect jobs.

“The current economic downturn presents an opportune time to build this infrastructure, which ultimately will save lives and taxpayer dollars while creating jobs and training a new generation of scientists and engineers for our vital biotechnology industry,” said Robert Cindrich, chief legal officer of UPMC, who has helped to spearhead the project.