VSU Partners to Win a Portion of $1 Billion Grant Challenge to Boost Virginia's Pharmaceutical Industry

The Build Back Better Regional Challenge awards $52.9 million in grants to the Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (APM) Cluster to build strong regional economies and support community-led economic development in Virginia.

Today, President Biden announced that the Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (APM) Cluster is a winner of a $52.9 million dollar grant in the Build Back Better Regional Challenge, the most impactful regional economic development competition in decades.  The challenge is funded by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

Virginia State University, in collaboration with several strategic partners, submitted a comprehensive proposal to the Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC) to establish an advanced pharmaceutical cluster in Central Virginia. The cluster, whose mission is to scale up its emerging Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Research and Development, is led by the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority. Additional partners include: The Phlow Corp., CivicaRx, AMPAC Fine Chemicals, United States Strategic Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient Reserve, the cities of Petersburg and Richmond, United States Strategic Pharmaceutical Ingredient Reserve, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), and Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM).

“This is a tremendous win for VSU, the region and the State of Virginia. The funded partnership project will serve as a capacity building and provides VSU students a pathway to graduate programs or to join the workforce in the field Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing,” said Dr. Dawit Haile, Dean of the VSU College of Engineering and Technology. “It also allows VSU to play a more impactful role in the regional economic Renaissance.”

With $52.9 million in funding from EDA, the Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (APM) Cluster will expand the domestic supply chain for essential medicines and critical active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). The projects funded as part of this award include expanding a nascent pharmaceutical manufacturing corridor in Central Virginia through investment in new wet lab space, development of critical infrastructure to sustain industrial capacity in Petersburg, and engagement with local business to enhance the regional pharmaceutical supply chain. The project will also catalyze a new partnership between Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia State University to create new pathways for underserved residents to high-quality training and jobs in the pharmaceutical industry.

“This award is evidence that Virginia is leading the way in prescription drug manufacturing, helping make us less dependent on foreign manufacturers,” said Virginia Senator Tim Kaine. “I’m excited that the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority is receiving federal funding to expand their work, develop critical infrastructure, and help Virginians access high-quality jobs. By making more medications here in Virginia, we can lower prescription drug costs for Americans. This transformative investment is another reason I’m proud to have voted for the American Rescue Plan, which passed the Senate in March 2021 by one vote.”

The Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC) is an unprecedented competitive federal grant program that provides each regional coalition with significant investments to tackle a wide variety of projects – including entrepreneurial support, workforce development, infrastructure, and innovation – to drive inclusive economic growth.

For more information, visit https://eda.gov/news/press-releases/2022/09/02/Virginia-Biotechnology-Research-Partnership-Authority.htm