National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) Operational Planning and Technology Integration Contract (OPTIC)

U.S. Department of Homeland Security | Manhattan, Kansas

Merrick and Company is the prime contractor supporting the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate to develop and execute all aspects of operational planning and technology integration for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) located in Manhattan, KS. The intent of the NBAF is to replace and augment the current mission of foreign animal disease diagnostics, vaccine development, and agricultural research currently being conducted at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) located in Orient Point, NY.

The $1.25 billion NBAF will be established as a National Security Asset, requiring synthesis of state-of-the-art biocontainment facilities and operations. This 574,000 square foot laboratory complex will house the Nation’s first and only maximum containment large animal laboratory program. This laboratory will focus on transboundary animal diseases that pose a threat to the Nation’s agriculture and economy, such as foot and mouth disease virus (FMDv), Rift Valley fever (RVF), Nipah virus and others. Notably, NBAF will be the only laboratory in the U.S. capable and allowed by law to house FMDv, a viral agent currently only permitted to reside at PIADC. The NBAF facility will also support expansion of complex, zoonotic (transmission from animals to human) disease, advancing a “One Health” approach to agricultural research. In addition to a series of biosafety level (BSL) 2, BSL3 enhanced, and BSL4 laboratory areas, NBAF also boasts a novel Biologics Development Module that will enable pilot studies of vaccine development, potential engagement with academic and industrial partners, and expedited translation of benchtop applications to therapeutics.

Merrick was selected as the prime contractor for our ability to translate the capabilities of this complex facility to the needs of the cutting-edge science that will augment our Nation’s biological defense systems. Merrick’s contract, the Operational Planning and Technology Integration Contract (OPTIC) is a 10-year, $32 million professional services engagement enabling a team of approximately 65 personnel from Merrick and our contracted partners.

Merrick’s scope is a complex, integrated planning and execution of all facets of NBAF operations, including:

  • Development of the NBAF Operational Model
  • Development of an enterprise IT architecture
  • Planning laboratory operations
  • Facility and scientific standard operating procedures
  • Development of a novel biorisk (biosafety and biosecurity) management system capable of embracing and advancing new diagnostic and research capacities
  • Risk assessments
  • Development of the NBAF quality management system
  • Program and project management functions in support of DHS

Notably, Merrick is responsible for the planning and execution of the transfer of one of the largest biorepositories in the country. The OPTIC vehicle and Merrick’s role at NBAF will span NBAF construction completion, into operational stand-up, and into steady-state operations. Merrick was selected because of our history of executing complex facility and operational programs.


Biorepository Transfer;Biosafety & Biosecurity;Consulting Risk Assessments;Update Room Data Sheets; Biosafety & Biosecurity; Consulting Risk Assessments; Update Room Data Sheets; Biorepository Transfer
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