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Gregory Botsaris Lecture in Chemical and Biological Engineering

Dr. Michael P. Thien

The Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering is pleased to announce the Gregory Botsaris Lecture in Chemical and Biological Engineering, to be held on Wednesday, April 17, 2019. The lecture will be given by Dr. Michael P. Thien of Merck & Co. Inc.

The lecture, entitled "Meeting the Engineering Challenge in the Biopharmaceutical Industry: Enabling the Opportunities of Research to Impact Human Health," will take place at 12:00pm in Nelson Auditorium, Anderson Hall, in the Science and Engineering Complex at 200 College Avenue in Medford. Parking is available in the Dowling Hall Parking Garage. This event is open to the public and will be followed by a reception.
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The modern biopharmaceutical industry has the capability to impact human health across a wide range of disease states using a variety of different platforms: vaccines, small molecules and biologics. While the biological tools for biomedical discovery are more powerful than ever, they can only reveal the opportunities for novel approaches to improve human health. From oral medicines taken chronically to parenterals taken intermittently to cell and gene therapies taken once, none of these opportunities can be fulfilled without the enablement of engineers. Working at all scales, chemical, biochemical and biological engineers must bring to a commercial scale, and in an economical way, the fruition of the years of discovery and development research in order to actually impact human health in a meaningful way.

The work of engineers has enabled the management of HIV, the introduction of a new paradigm in cancer treatment, and the enablement of the means to eradicate certain types of cancers. Along with describing the context of these health challenges, this talk will illustrate the use of classical chemical engineering to scale up the process for making the highly complex molecule responsible for the first meaningful protease inhibitor for managing HIV, the use of biological engineering to reassemble virus like particles at commercial scale to create a vaccine to prevent cancers related to the human papilloma virus and the use of engineering management ensure the delivery of a leading immuno-oncology agent.

Speaker biography:
Michael P. Thien leads the Manufacturing Systems Design and Commercialization group at Merck & Co. Inc., a group responsible for developing the processes and methods for new products, new product technology transfer, deep scientific and engineering support for in-line products, new facility introduction and start-up, and development of the next and best practices for new facilities. Thien has worked in new product and process development, manufacturing operations and facility design and start-up at Merck for almost 30 years. After receiving his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Caltech (1982) and Sc.D. from MIT in biochemical engineering (1988), he joined the Merck Research Labs, working in vaccines and recombinant proteins. Thien was process development leader and plant start-up leader for the first effective commercial HIV protease inhibitor, CRIXIVAN (for which he was given his division's top recognition), made key contributions to Merck's JANUVIA (a treatment for Type II diabetes), and led the design of Merck's commercial supply chain for KEYTRUDA (an immune-oncology agent).

Thien has received awards from the AIChE, the Manufacturing Leadership Awards, and the ACS. He has served on advisory committees for the Chemical Engineering Departments at MIT, the University of Texas at Austin, Johns Hopkins University, and Tufts University, and is a trustee for the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Rahway.