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March 31, 2022

Manuel Carrondo, Full Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at the Faculty of Sciences and Technology at NOVA University of Lisbon (retired), founder of iBET (1989) and GenIBET Biopharmaceuticals (2006), and currently iBET’s vice-president, has been distinguished with the Cell Culture Engineering (CCE) Award 2021. 

This prestigious award recognises outstanding contributions to the field of Cell Culture and is given bi annually at the Cell Culture Engineering conference, organised by Engineering Conferences International (ECI). This recognition distinguishes Manuel Carrondo’s efforts to create and develop iBET with strong partners and supporters, since 1989, in the absence of CCE R&D in Portugal.  

In the award announcement, ECI enumerates Manuel Carrondo’s supporters in this path:

“Daniel I. C. Wang gave Manuel the entrance to the CCE “boiling pot” he directed at MIT’s BPEC (visiting in1984 and 1988) and its outstanding network. Joachim Klein, director of Geselschaft für Biotechnology Forschung, Braunschweig, GBF (now Helmholtz) (visiting 1989) opened the door to the European biotechnology core. Both kept membership of iBET´s Scientific Advisory Board for almost twenty years, proposing challenging ideas and broadening  iBET’s operation. John Aunins, Danny’s ex-Ph.D. student and iBET champion, exposed iBET to Merck & Co, where Barry Buckland was building the “industrial” CCE powerhouse, while Hansjörg Hauser, molecular cell and virus geneticist at GBF contributed the “bio” to the “technology” at iBET. Over the last decade, Clive Wood (BI) became a key supporter for Translational Medicine inroads at iBET.” 

Manuel Carrondo is also described as a “risk taker” in process development due to his ability to motivate top students into PhDs who contributed to achievements such as perfusing and purifying retroviral vectors (late 90’s) to expanding and differentiating human Embryonic Stem Cells (mid 2000’s), always bridging USA – EU partnerships. José Luís Moreira, his first CCE Ph.D. student and enthusiastic “icebreaker”, and Paula Alves, iBET’s CEO since 2012, deserve special mention.  

Also noted by ECI is the foundation, in 2006, of the spin-off GenIBET Biopharmaceuticals, targeted to the production of proteins, cells, and viruses for phase I/II clinical trials. The iBET/GenIBET team was able to build multiple partnerships with knowledgeable companies, leading to successes such as the production of various oncolytic viruses or the first and following mRNA lots for Moderna (2015-2018) as well as Seres C. difficile microbiome product (2016-ongoing). 

ECI additionally underlines key process development areas impacted by Manuel Carrondo, including monoclonal antibodies, viruses, and cells and tools for research and gene therapy. Manuel has also been strongly committed to the European Society of Animal Cell Technology (ESACT), since 1995, and various Engineering Conference International biotechnological series. 

A final highlight goes to Manuel Carrondo’s key role in mentoring and serving the field through his efforts in attracting, training, and retaining qualified and committed scientists at iBET, whenever possible. Of note, are the 37 Ph.D. students supervised, plus MScs and postdocs, and 250 papers published.  

With the 2021 Cell Culture Engineering Award, Manuel Carrondo now joins the list of prominent awardees, which include Wei-Shou Hu (2002), Eleftherios T.  Papoutsakis (2004), W. Robert Arathoon (2006), Martin Fussenegger (2008), Michael J. Betenbaugh  (2010), James M. Piret (2012), Jeffrey J. Chalmers (2014), Konstantin B. Konstantinov (2016) and William Miller (2018).

More info on this award at the ECI – Cell Culture Engineering Website.  

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