Upstate News

December 6, 2005
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Former Amgen engineer named executive director of Central New York Biotechnology Research Center

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – John Fieschko, Ph.D., a leading consultant to the biotechnology industry and a former director and scientist with the biotechnology industry giant Amgen Inc., has been named as executive director of the Central New York Biotechnology Research Center.

The Central New York Biotechnology Research Center is a collaborative effort among SUNY Upstate Medical University, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, the Metropolitan Development Association of Syracuse and Central New York and the Veterans Administration Medical Center. Le Moyne College and Syracuse University are also participants in the center.

As the executive director of the Central New York Biotechnology Research Center, Fieschko brings to the center nearly 30 years’ experience in biotechnology, drug development, bioprocessing and biomanufacturing

Since 1999, Fieschko headed his own bioprocess consulting firm, based in Westlake Village, Calif., assisting biopharmaceutical and bioagricultural companies and governmental agencies with the technical development and manufacture of biotherapeutics, vaccines, biofungicides and biopesticides. Fieschko also worked on the design of several biotechnology development and manufacturing facilities, including leading the technical design efforts for a state-of-the-art $30 million cell culture process development facility.

In 1983, Fieschko was the first engineer to join Amgen, one of the world’s leading biotechnology firms and a leader in drug development, and served in several roles during 15 years with the firm, including scientist, laboratory head, director of process development and director of clinical manufacturing. He was project leader for the hepatitis B vaccine, and led the manufacturing process development and transfer of many of the company’s products into clinical and commercial manufacturing facilities. He led the manufacturing process development for Amgen’s first two products, Epogen, which stimulates red blood cell production for patients on dialysis, and Neupogen, which stimulates neutrofils and white blood cells for chemotherapy patients.

In a joint statement, Gregory L. Eastwood, M.D., president of SUNY Upstate Medical University, and Cornelius Murphy, Ph.D., president of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, praised Fieschko’s appointment. “John Fieschko brings to Central New York a great knowledge of and a record of success in the biotechnology industry from having been part of it for nearly three decades. We expect the Central New York Biotechnology Research Center to flourish under his leadership.”

The CNYBRC seeks to create research and development activities focusing on biprocessing, biomanufacturing and the development of novel biomaterials. Novel technologies and substances created by the center will be the basis for spin-off companies that will be housed in the incubator space within the center. The center will also conduct development and research for biopharmaceutical and renewable resources.

Additionally, the center will provide educational programs focusing on bioprocessing and biomanufacturing in partnership with SUNY Upstate, SUNY ESF, LeMoyne College and Syracuse University. A certificate program in bioprocess engineering was launched this fall through SUNY ESF. More than 20 individuals, mainly from the manufacturing sector are currently enrolled in the program. Baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degree programs in bioprocess engineering are being planned for the future.

Since plans for the center were announced, officials have sought legislative and private sector support and partnerships for the project. To date, more than $20 million from state and federal government has been allocated to the project to assist with planning and the center’s design phase.

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