KMUTT

KMUTT Working with Biotechnology Industry The main campus of King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) is located in an industrial area on the Thonburi side of Bangkok. The university has a history of working clo

KMUTT
Jan 12, 2010

KMUTT

Working with Biotechnology Industry



The main campus of King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) is located in an industrial area on the Thonburi side of Bangkok. The university has a history of working closely with industrial partners since first being established 50 years ago. In addition to collaborative research, major companies such as Castrol and Mercedes Benz chose to locate their training facilities on campus. KMUTT is also active in Practice School programs, using industrial partners for on-site education.

More recently, there is an increasing trend for this collaboration to feature the life sciences. KMUTT made the breakthrough for the commercial production of Spirulina in Thailand, in addition to a long history of assisting the food industry in waste treatment and recovery. This led to the establishment of a new campus at Bangkhuntien, which in turn led to higher interest from major research institutes and eventually the establishment...

Working with Biotechnology Industry



The main campus of King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) is located in an industrial area on the Thonburi side of Bangkok. The university has a history of working closely with industrial partners since first being established 50 years ago. In addition to collaborative research, major companies such as Castrol and Mercedes Benz chose to locate their training facilities on campus. KMUTT is also active in Practice School programs, using industrial partners for on-site education.

More recently, there is an increasing trend for this collaboration to feature the life sciences. KMUTT made the breakthrough for the commercial production of Spirulina in Thailand, in addition to a long history of assisting the food industry in waste treatment and recovery. This led to the establishment of a new campus at Bangkhuntien, which in turn led to higher interest from major research institutes and eventually the establishment of an Industrial Park. KMUTT is the only university in Thailand to invest in an industrial park, providing incubator units, facilities, and research and training support.

The Bangkhuntien campus sits on a piece of reclaimed land on the very outskirts of Bangkok. Already a number of important bioscience centers have been established, including the Biochemical Engineering and Pilot Plant Research and Development Unit, as well as an Excellent Center for Waste Utilization and Management (ECoWaste). The Industrial Park provides excellent facilities for bioentrepreneurs including pilot plant fermentation in addition to testing and analysis services. To date, the focus has been on microbial bioprocess development and algal biotechnology. The National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC) is a major partner in many of these activities. Bangkhuntien is also home to KMUTT’s School of Bioresources and Technology. The combination of scientists and engineers helps to provide ideal solutions for private sector partners, while developing pilot plants reduces the risk and high investment normally required for establishing a bio-business.

The KMUTT Industrial Park welcomes inquiries from foreign investors who are considering establishing a bio-business or joint venture in Thailand and are looking for support through facilities and research. KMUTT sees the future focus as being biopharmaceutical science and engineering and is actively seeking international collaboration in this area.



KMUTT has watched with keen interest as more universities in the United States and other countries invest in cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practice) facilities. These facilities not only provide for education and research, but help save industry-significant investment and testing costs, while at the same time providing an important source of revenue for the university. The benefits for education are significant as cGMP provides hands-on facilities for students who will help to fill the increasing manpower needs of the biopharmaceutical industry.

Thus, in partnership with BIOTEC, KMUTT has decided to invest in a cGMP plant to service the needs of the biopharmaceutical industry in SE Asia. When completed in 2010, it will be the only university-based facility of its kind in the country. The plant will provide for scale-up study and production of recombinant proteins for clinical trials (phases I and II), as well as for training manpower. Students will have the unique opportunity of working with a large-scale manufacturing facility, from design to operation and management. Because of the considerable investment costs involved, the university can provide services that can be shared by industry at a fraction of the costs they would need to invest themselves or to make use of private contract facilities. For a country such as Thailand, government support to the fledgling bio-industry is crucial considering the high cost of investment required for a bio-business start up. Appropriately, the Biopharmaceutical cGMP plant will be located in the KMUTT Industrial Park on the Bangkhuntien campus, where best use can be made of KMUTT’s strong industry linkages. Companies interested in advanced biotechnology and products can avail themselves of services via collaborative research and development, contract R&D, process optimization, and contract manufacturing according to the client’s needs. The plant will ensure that international standards for good manufacturing practice and safety are met.

KMUTT’s cGMP Bioprocess Pilot Plant will be composed of two suites, each dedicated for microbial and cell culture fermentation systems up to 500L and 100L bioreactors, respectively. Both are supported by separation and purification processes and the plant has been designed to comply with international standards. KMUTT is already collaborating with other biopharmaceutical research groups within the country, such as the Government Pharmaceutical Organization, which will lead to the formation of multidisciplinary teams making use of the facility.

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