Hood College to partner with pharmaceutical company

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Mar. 17—Hood College plans to partner with a pharmaceutical company to train employees for a new facility in Urbana.

Kite Pharma is based in California and focuses on cell therapy. The company plans to install state-of-the-art lab equipment and train new employees and Hood students in cell therapy manufacturing in a new 400-square-foot lab area located within Hood's Hodson Science and Technology Center, according to college officials.

Hood students will have the opportunity to learn cell therapy manufacturing skills. Kite scientists and Hood faculty will work together to develop academic programs and train students.

"It is our honor and pleasure to partner with Kite and host them in our facilities during their transition," Andrea Chapdelaine, president of Hood, said in a prepared statement. "This is a great opportunity for collaboration between Kite employees and our faculty and students, and we can't wait to get started."

Kite Pharma, a subsidiary of Gilead Sciences, is constructing a new 279,000-square-foot plant in Urbana, after purchasing the property in November 2018. Commercial production in Urbana will likely start in 2022.

Ann Boyd, the biomedical science program director at Hood, said in a statement the partnership will greatly benefit students in the college's biomedical sciences master's program.

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