Federal grant supports biopharmaceutical manufacturing in Acadiana

Posted at 10:23 AM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 12:46:10-04

The Acadiana Planning Commission has been awarded a grant to develop biopharmaceutical manufacturing in the Acadiana area.

The grant, a total of $500,000, was awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration and funded by the American Rescue Plan.

This grant, they say, will create a strategic plan to leverage existing and planned facilities and resources to increase bio-pharma productivity in the Acadiana region. This EDA investment will be matched with $125,000 in local investment.

APC says that investment will be from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, which will partner on the project with its New Iberia Research Center.

The Advocate reports that officials behind the project are also seeking capital outlay funding in the current legislative session to build the facility, which would specialize in pharmaceutical research and manufacturing.

“This award is a critical step to further diversify Acadiana’s regional economy. This investment plays to the region’s strengths and will help retain the region’s skilled workforce,” declared, APC’s CEO, Monique Boulet.

Cluster-based economic development aims to capture the economic advantages that accrue for firms when they cluster together in place. This grant, APC says, will create a strategic plan to leverage existing and planned facilities and resources to increase Bio-Pharmaceutical (bio-pharma) productivity in Acadiana by leveraging existing resources to develop a bio-pharma manufacturing cluster strategy that establishes Acadiana as a center for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical manufacturing inclusive of:

  • positioning existing abundant agricultural and petrochemical feedstocks to support manufacturing
  • utilizing unrivaled multi-modal transportation infrastructure to shrink supply chains
  • utilizing access to cheap power and plentiful water
  • retraining our petrochemical workforce to support the growth of this new cluster

“The Economic Development Administration is focused on supporting locally-driven strategies to boost coronavirus recovery and response efforts,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This strategic plan will guide the Acadiana region in using cluster-based economic development and leveraging resources to create a one-stop shop for bio-pharmaceutical manufacturing, creating a stronger, more resilient regional economy.”

This project is funded under EDA’s American Rescue Plan Economic Adjustment Assistance program, which makes $500 million in Economic Adjustment Assistance grants available to American communities.

The Economic Adjustment Assistance program's grants aim to help hundreds of communities across the nation plan, build, innovate, and put people back to work through construction or non-construction projects designed to meet local needs.

APC says the strategic plan to be developed by this grant significantly assists in creating the framework to repatriate global pharmaceutical supply chains by improving the efficiency of the bio-pharmaceutical research, development, and manufacturing cycle to offset low-cost, low-regulatory advantages offered in China and India and advancing Acadiana as a global leader in this area. Acadiana’s chemical manufacturing supply chain, expertise, and workforce can be repositioned to build an industry foundation with strong growth potential. Skilled workers from south Louisiana’s healthcare, oil and gas and chemical industries with translatable skills represents a major regional asset and strategic advantage. Additionally, petrochemicals manufactured in Louisiana along the South Louisiana Chemical Manufacturing Corridor form the basis for the supply chains of many bio-pharmaceutical products. Other Regional assets in Acadiana center around its institutions of higher education and centers for research,

“Our partnership with APC leverages existing UL assets such as the nation’s largest non-human primate research facility at the New Iberia Research Center (NIRC) and the EDA-funded UL LEED Center. With this investment UL, a Carnegie R1 Research Institution, will continue to be a national leader in industry-sponsored research,” said, Ramesh Kolluru, UL Vice President for Research, Innovation, and Economic Development.

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