New labs will advance pharmaceutical studies in capital

4 labs, first of their kind in Israel, for research, teaching of pharmaceutical engineering open at J'lem College of Engineering.

November 30, 2010 04:20
2 minute read.
Pharmaceutical lab at J'lem College of Engineering

pharmaceutical lab 311. (photo credit: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich)


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Four laboratories, the first of their kind in Israel, for research, development and teaching of pharmaceutical engineering, were opened on Sunday at the Jerusalem College of Engineering.

The four labs, built at a cost of $3 million and covering 500 square meters, will immediately serve the 32 current fourth-year engineering students (40 percent of them women) at the college in the capital’s Ramat Beit Hakerem neighborhood; the rest of the 300 current students in the pharmaceutical engineering faculty.

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Two-thirds of the money was donated by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and the Foundation for Development and Progress. The labs were built and equipped during the summer vacation and include state-of-the-art equipment.

Graduates are likely to find jobs immediately in Jerusalem’s biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries and outside the capital as well.

The four labs enable work in pharmaceutical technology, chemical technology, analytical chemistry and biotechnology.

The first is meant for the preparation of tablets and capsules, while the second will allow students to use specialized instruments that imitate the processes in the human digestive track.

The analytical chemistry unit will be used for quality control for testing drugs, and the biotech lab will enable students to produce proteins, grow cultures and explore genetic engineering in the same way it is done in the pharmaceutical industry.

Students will learn about chemical engineering processes and conduct experiments that will not harm the environment.

In the future, said Jerusalem College of Engineering president Uzi Wexler, the labs will provide services for the pharmaceutical and chemical industries so that production processes that currently pollute will be conducted in an environment-friendly way.

Teva CEO Shlomo Yanai said at the ceremony that “this is an important step for Teva and will advance education and health in Israel.”

Teva, the world’s leading generic medicine producer and a leader in the development of drugs for multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, among others, has been in Jerusalem since 1901, with another branch in Petah Tikva.

Yanai said the labs will link academic work and drug production.

“Teva is waiting for you,” he told the pharmaceutical engineering students who attended.

Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg, chairman of the Council for Higher Education, said the event made the day a holiday.

“This doesn’t happen every day,” he said. “The labs represent a significant expansion of training for future pharmaceutical engineers. What semiconductors were in the second half of the 20th century, pharmaceutical development will be in the 21st. This is only beginning.”

Trajtenberg said he hoped the facility would advance biotechnology in Jerusalem, which needs more workplaces for skilled employees, and serve as an important link between the academic sector and industry.

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