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MUNI BioPharma Hub brings autonomy in pharmaceutical production

The laying of the foundation stone marked the beginning of the construction of the new educational infrastructure of Masaryk University and the new location of the Faculty of Pharmacy.

The laying of the foundation stone of MUNI BioPharma Hub project.

One of the fundamental missions of the MUNI BioPharma Hub project – which will see the Faculty of Pharmacy collaborate with the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Science, CEITEC, the Faculty of Economics and Administration and the Faculty of Social Studies – is to train experts who will work in companies or regulatory bodies such as the State Institute for Drug Control. It will offer a unique combination of modern teaching facilities and the cutting-edge research infrastructure of the Preclinical Centre and the Centre for Molecular Medicine. Another important aspect is drug self-sufficiency. After the construction of the Bohunice University Campus, the MUNI BioPharma Hub project is the second largest investment in Masaryk University’s history. Current MU Rector Martin Bareš, Prime Minister Petr Fiala and Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Mikuláš Bek, both former rectors of Masaryk University, gathered at the construction site to lay the foundation stone. The continuity of their work also became a leitmotif of the ceremony.

“The construction of the Bohunice University Campus proved to be a prudent decision and became an impulse to build on our work. The management changes, but Masaryk University knows how to move forward. With the opening of the Simulation Centre complex in September 2020, we are about to begin construction that will have an impact on the city of Brno, the South Moravian region, national education and pharmacy research. The linking of the Faculty of Pharmacy with the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Science and others can help MUNI BioPharma Hub to strengthen the strategic autonomy of the Czech Republic in the field of pharmaceutical production,” said Rector Martin Bareš and concluded his remarks with a quote by Tomáš G. Masaryk, the first president of Czechoslovakia: “The world is cultivated by work – small and everyday work.”

In the foreground Rector of Masaryk University Martin Bareš, from left Petr Fiala, Mikuláš Bek, Helena Langšádlová, Markéta Vaňková, Jan Grolich and Robert Suchánek on behalf of the contractor.

“I have dedicated a large part of my professional life as Rector to the construction of the campus, so I am very happy that it is followed by other buildings and institutions – CEITEC, SIMU and now MUNI BioPharma Hub, which I see as a testament to the continuity of the work of us as the three rectors. A centre of excellence in education and research is being created, and we will set the highest standards for it. We have experience, and we know that quality infrastructure creates opportunities for talented and motivated researchers. Therefore, it is important to invest financial resources in such infrastructure,” noted Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala. He also mentioned the possibility of producing small batches of drugs and potential R&D partnerships with the private sector.

Minister Mikuláš Bek, who noted that the road to the construction of the campus has often been a difficult one, also expressed his pleasure that construction is on track. “Arnold Schönberg’s aphorism best describes my thoughts at the moment: ‘Only the middle road does not lead to Rome’,” said Mikuláš Bek, repeating a quote he had also included in his programme statement as a candidate for the post of Rector of Masaryk University in 2011.

The importance of the MUNI BioPharma Hub, which is expected to be completed by mid-2026, also lies in its contribution to key national and European strategic goals, such as drug self-sufficiency and the development of the pharmaceutical industry. Thanks to the GMP clean room facilities, Masaryk University will be able to carry out the entire drug development process at the MUNI BioPharma Hub, from the synthesis of future active ingredients to the production of clinical batches. The MUNI BioPharma Hub project will also make it possible to introduce new study programmes.

The establishment of the MUNI BioPharma Hub, which is also a strategic project of the Czech government as part of the National Recovery Plan, will significantly expand the opportunities for students to gain experience in real drug production during their studies. It will also enable collaboration with pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical companies in one location. The brand new Preclinical Centre will also provide an opportunity to better link basic research with other stages of development, such as key clinical research and relevant trials.

“How do science, research and innovation benefit the citizens of Brno? Let’s think back to the Covid-19 pandemic – with the MUNI BioPharma Hub project we are responding to today’s challenges, we are developing tools to avoid crises like the pandemic in the future. In Brno, we are following this path, and there is a possibility that we will be able to develop medicines ourselves. This will also provide employment opportunities and economic benefits for the business sector,” said the Mayor of Brno, Markéta Vaňková. “I appreciate the cooperation between Masaryk University and the City of Brno and I believe it will continue in the future,” she added.

“I believe that science and the application of its results will lead to better treatment, greater strategic autonomy and improved conditions for patients. I have the utmost respect for Brno as a centre of science and research,” said Helena Langšádlová, Minister of Science, Research and Innovation, commenting on the MUNI BioPharma Hub.

The MUNI BioPharma Hub will be located near MU Simulation Centre.

Monika Ladmanová, Head of Representation of the European Commission in the Czech Republic, also commented on the importance of the MUNI BioPharma Hub in the European context: “The European Union is investing in the Czech Republic to revitalise and modernise the economy after the Covid-19 pandemic and the energy crisis caused by the reduction of natural gas supplies from Russia. The construction of the three university complexes is an intersection of these efforts and the EU’s long-term support for science and research. The new facilities will enhance the attractiveness of the respective fields of study, make the work of teachers, students and researchers more enjoyable, and even encourage more cooperation in science and research. World-class science needs world-class facilities. Thanks to the EU’s exceptional support, we hope that the plans will soon become a reality”.

Sustainability and energy management were also key considerations in the design of the building. The building features skylights to maximise natural light, solar panels to generate its own electricity and heat recovery from the data centre. The MUNI BioPharma Hub will also harness heat from 53 geothermal boreholes beneath the building and include a cistern to store rainwater for flushing and irrigation. There will also be vegetation on the roof to regulate the climate in the heated roof areas.