A public/private partnership is providing biology and chemistry majors at the University of North Carolina Wilmington with unique insight into the pharmaceutical services industry.

In the spring of 2016, the university launched its first course through a collaboration with biomanufacturing and development services company Alcami Corporation.

Thirty-three students participated in the course “Pharmaceutical Drug Development and Good Manufacturing Practices of Medicinal Products for Human and Veterinary Use.” Alcami employees taught the course and introduced students to the drug development process and current good manufacturing practices (cGMP).

The course also introduced students to career opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry.

For Alcami, the partnership is a natural extension of its community outreach efforts.

“This type of collaborative program is a first for Alcami, and we are excited and encouraged by the high level of interest and positive feedback we have received,” said Stephen Kutzer, Ph.D., Alcami president and CEO. “We are committed to building and maintaining strong relationships within the communities in which we operate, and, with such a highly regarded university in our own backyard, we are privileged to have the opportunity to share our expertise with the university’s students.”

The partnership between the university and Alcami will continue this fall with a course at the university’s renowned marine biology center in the Alcami GMP Training Lab. Thirty students have signed up for the course, which will provide them with hands-on experience with cGMPs.

While Alcami has not officially announced partnerships with other universities, its relationship with UNCW has spurred the company to seek additional relationships with colleges and universities.

“We are discussing similar opportunities with universities co-located in the cities where we have facilities and hope to grow this approach to workforce development in many of the communities in which we work,” said Catherine Hanley, Alcami’s senior director of marketing and corporate communications. “We are investigating similar course formats, as well as opportunities to support online studies for universities with online degree options.”

Alcami recently announced it is relocating its international headquarters from Wilmington to Durham. However, it will continue operating its laboratory in Wilmington, where it employs 450 people.

(C) NC Biotechnology Center