Biotechnology Resource Center
The Biotechnology Resource Center (BRC) harnesses the power of microorganisms — such as bacteria, fungi, and algae – to fuel growth of biotechnology projects both in the University community and beyond.
The BRC’s facilities, located on the University’s St. Paul campus, offer a pilot-scale biomanufacturing plant unique in the state that provides state-of-the-art microbial cell and recombinant protein production and process development services.
We serve academic partners and industry clients from the fields of agriculture, biofuels, human therapeutics, industrial biotechnology, and veterinary medicine. Our partners and clients come to us with a promising idea that has already been tested in the laboratory. We help them develop and expand the scale of their work to make further progress, aid in testing, and further science, with the goal of product commercialization. Our services are designed to provide them with process development expertise as well as a larger supply of either their desired microorganism or the products (e.g., proteins or chemicals) those microorganisms make.
More than providing facilities, machinery, and instrumentation, the BRC offers expertise. Our staff are knowledgeable in process development, fermentations, and production and ready to help researchers and organizations take the next step toward optimizing and scaling biomanufacturing processes, producing novel drugs, and more.
Scaling Up: Expanding the BRC
The BRC is gearing up for an expansion that will let us better serve a larger number of industry clients and academic partners.
The University’s upcoming Microbial Cell Production Facility, which breaks ground in August 2021, includes 28,000 square feet for the BRC, growing the center to six times its current size. Along with the new space, we are adding expert staff to increase the number of projects we can run at a time. Meanwhile, our new, state-of-the-art equipment will make larger-scale fermentation possible.
For our partners and clients, this expansion means faster production schedules, larger production quantities, and the opportunity to accomplish more of their project needs here at the BRC.
For Industry and Academia
The BRC expansion will allow us to grow as a key resource in the biomanufacturing ecosystem not just in Minnesota, but across the Midwest and the broader United States.
Our services can help companies, from early-stage startups to Fortune 500s, find an intermediate step between creating a few liters of a target product in a laboratory setting and committing to costly factory-scale production. Pilot-scale testing allows companies to reach profitability faster. It lowers the risk associated with ideas that won’t come to fruition while identifying those that will succeed and accelerating the development of marketable products.
We also welcome academic partners, both from the University of Minnesota and other institutions, who are looking for the next step after laboratory testing. Pilot-scale testing can illuminate whether an idea that worked in a test tube will survive scaling, and whether it still proves economically feasible.
How We Can Help
The BRC expansion will increase our capability to help academic partners and industry clients develop and optimize their microbial strains as well as fermentation and protein purification processes.
Larger-capacity reactors reaching up to 1,500 liters, will allow us to produce more of a given product when partners come to us for a pilot-scale supply. We will also continue to perform downstream processing for those looking to obtain a supply of the purified proteins or chemicals their microbes produce.
We custom-fit our services to match the needs and complexity of each project. Our fees for service are set within reach for partners and clients across biotechnology industry sectors, and we offer confidentiality agreements to help protect our partners’ and clients’ ideas.
Opening Summer 2023
The facility housing the BRC’s expansion is slated to open in fall, 2023. Our expanded lab services will come online shortly after, opening incrementally as we train personnel and commission new equipment.
In the meantime, we will continue to offer current BRC services without interruption to our clients and partners in industry and academia. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help with your cell production and purification projects.
We offer manufacturing services to industry and academic customers. Products created include biomass, recombinant proteins, and primary and secondary metabolites.
Staff & Contacts
Our team includes dedicated scientists and engineers who can guide and answer the challenges of your project.
Our services are executed under professionally managed contract agreements that insure confidentiality and intellectual property protection.
Every operation has its unsung heroes. At the BRC, it’s student workers who assist the BRC’s full-time employees keep production running smoothly by washing dishes, cleaning reactors, and harvesting bacteria. In exchange, they receive valuable industrial experience and develop professional connections that last a lifetime. Sophie Justinak worked at the BRC as a student for two years until her graduation in 2016 with a degree in Biosystems and Bioproducts Engineering. Justinak applied the...
When they need a lot of protein from a reliable source, researchers within the University and from outside companies turn to the BRC. We provide the expertise and equipment to help clients develop processes that work at production scale.Along the way, our full-time employees also train undergraduate students in an industry-like setting and help them clarify their professional goals.