Turning that into a mobile operation is a prodigious task. The process has to be shrunk by more than a thousandfold and sped up to work in less than 24 hours. And the drugs have to be tested in near-real time to prove they are safe, pure, and potent.

In addition to MIT’s Center for Biomedical Innovation, the project includes researchers from Northeastern University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and industrial collaborators, such as Pall Corp., Perkin Elmer Inc., and Latham BioPharm Group.

The team has promised that the bioreactor will be able to produce two drugs within the next two years. If they meet that goal, the research will be eligible for a follow-up two-year grant to add four more drugs.