Sartorius Stedim Biotech's $1.5M gift creates cell culture facility

January 21, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Sartorius Stedim Biotech, a leading international partner of the biopharmaceutical industry, has committed $1.5 million to Penn State to create the Sartorius Cell Culture Facility, which will expand Penn State’s biotechnology ecosystem.

Sartorius’ gift expands their partnership with Penn State to advance multidisciplinary teaching and research in biotechnology through hands-on experiences for undergraduate and graduate students and corporate employees and providing exposure to research innovations across numerous fields.

“This gift from Sartorius is a tremendous investment in biotechnology at Penn State and an incredible step forward in our organizations’ partnership,” said Lora G. Weiss, senior vice president for research at Penn State. “Across our University’s $1 billion research enterprise, few areas have as much potential for widespread impact as biotechnology. Sartorius is ensuring that Penn State remains a leader in this field, not just by conducting groundbreaking research but also in preparing our graduates to become leaders themselves. We are deeply grateful to Sartorius for their generosity and vision.”

Mary Lavin, president, Sartorius Stedim North America, added, “We believe Penn State will make the most of this gift and partnership to inspire the next generation of pharma-biotech employees with innovative tools and solutions.”  Learn more about this ongoing partnership.

The Sartorius Cell Culture Facility, part of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, will be the third leg in the biotechnology ecosystem that includes the Center of Excellence in Industrial Biotechnology and the CSL Behring Fermentation Facility. The new laboratory adds an impressive new dimension since cell culture is an important technique for studying the normal physiology and biochemistry of cells, which are the basic structural and functional unit of all living things.

“The Sartorius Cell Culture Facility will enable cutting-edge advances in biotechnology research and training, including the development of diagnostic tests and treatments such as cancer immunotherapies and scaling up production of antibodies and vaccines,” said Andrew Read, director of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences.

Read continued, “Our researchers have already generated a vast quantity of cells that have provided specific proteins for use in COVID-19 antibody research. In the new Sartorius Cell Culture Facility, we plan to expand that work and continue developing solutions for rapid transition to the market where they may directly influence patient care.”

“This is an important opportunity for society, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lavin. “We’re enabling the great thinkers of tomorrow to help solve this global problem.”

The Sartorius Cell Culture Facility will not only benefit researchers but also provide valuable new learning opportunities for Penn State students. “Right now, there is a shortage of people who are qualified to do this work,” Read said. “Training students to operate the specialized equipment in the Sartorius Cell Culture Facility will give them a major advantage as they enter the workforce, while making this expertise more widely available. In both key areas of focus — research and education — the gift from Sartorius is going to propel Penn State’s biotechnology efforts forward in exciting ways.”

This laboratory will serve as the 12th core facility in the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences. Core facilities are open to researchers from across Penn State, as well as other academic and corporate researchers. They make available equipment that, because of its sophistication and expense, cannot practically be obtained by smaller labs, while providing the professional expertise to operate the equipment.

“The types of equipment and the expertise that we have in our core facilities is hard to come by anywhere in the country,” Read added. “We deeply appreciate our partnership with Sartorius, which will make it possible for our faculty and students to lead the way in fields that impact all of us.”

About Sartorius Stedim Biotech

Sartorius Stedim Biotech is a leading international partner of the biopharmaceutical industry. As a total solutions provider, the company helps its customers to manufacture biotech medications safely, rapidly and economically. Headquartered in Aubagne, France, Sartorius Stedim Biotech is quoted on the Eurolist of Euronext Paris. With its own manufacturing and R&D sites in Europe, North America and Asia and an international network of sales companies, Sartorius Stedim Biotech has a global reach. The group has been annually growing by double digits on average and has been regularly expanding its portfolio by acquisitions of complementary technologies. In 2019, the company employed approx. 6,200 people, and earned sales revenue of 1,440.6 million euros. 

About “A Greater Penn State”

Sartorius Stedim Biotech's gift advances “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of our corporate partners, alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; and impacting the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.

About the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences is Penn State’s central hub of interdisciplinary collaboration in life sciences research. Comprising four Institutes, 29 centers, 12 core facilities and six inter-college graduate degree programs, Huck integrates the expertise of hundreds of faculty from dozens of departments, spanning eight colleges at Penn State. Huck’s mission is to catalyze excellence across traditional boundaries through deep collaborative engagement, and the unit enables pioneering work that runs the gamut from fundamental science to translational and applied research across all forms of life, at every scale.

About the Corporate Engagement Center

The Corporate Engagement Center connects industry partners to strategic opportunities at Penn State for research and development, philanthropy, and talent recruitment. Brought together in 2019, the center serves as a hub for industry/University relationships, supporting companies as they navigate the vast resources of Penn State. The team is here to help build lasting, mutually beneficial relationships.

The Corporate Engagement Center is a joint initiative of the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research and the Office of University Development, working in partnership with Career Services.

Last Updated February 15, 2021