Digitization: Biopharma must keep up with rest of the world, says Cytiva

“You can watch your pizza’s progress on an app, but our customers cannot watch their batches of cells being cultured or have simple access batch data,” says Cytiva CEO Emmanuel Ligner.

Welcome to the second section of BioProcess Insider’s two-part interview with Emmanuel Ligner, who has served as CEO of Cytiva since 2017. If you have not yet read the first part where Ligner discusses how messenger RNA (mRNA) will play a major role in healthcare in 2023 and beyond, please click here.

While Ligner deemed mRNA is here to stay, he also put forward the idea that for it to become a dominant modality “we must apply our learnings and develop the tools and technologies, particularly around digitalization, [to] enable the development and manufacture of these novel therapeutics.”

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According to Ligner, the life science industry’s adoption of digitization needs to catch up with the rest of the world in order to continue the momentum associated with various modalities.

“You can watch your pizza’s progress on an app, but our customers cannot watch their batches of cells being cultured or have simple access batch data, which is highly valuable,” Ligner said.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic helping companies to “overcome the first barrier,” for example Cytiva’s customers had to become familiar with carrying out remote Factory Acceptance Tests, Ligner told us. While we might have “broken the seal,” we “now need to go all in.”

As a result of implementing digitalization to continue activity throughout the pandemic, Ligner says it has caused a shift in Cytiva’s customers’ demands.

“Now, our customers are asking for in-silico process development (where they can digitally simulate experiments rather than using manual resources to set up processes), predictable batch, effective smart hardware, and adaptive plants. Altogether, these digital capabilities will transform our industry.”

Furthermore, Ligner mentioned that he believes “in-region for-region manufacturing will continue to accelerate,” as Cytiva’s clients wants to be situated closer to their suppliers, “but also have the benefits of a complementary global supply chain.”