Information Technology

Finding Efficiencies to Accelerate Biopharmaceutical Development

An old engineering adage says that in any technical project, you can get speed and/or quality and/or cost-efficiency — but you never get to have all three. The idea is that emphasizing any one of those parameters necessarily deemphasizes one or both of the others. For most of the biopharmaceutical industry’s early years, companies operated on that assumption. Many organizations saw speed as the weakest link that could be more or less ignored; others had money to burn. The smartest…

Challenges and Benefits of Networking Process Control Manufacturing Systems: Integration to Business Systems in Industry 4.0

Networking of manufacturing process control systems can lead to benefits of efficiency, increased productivity, and better facility use, leading to lower cost of goods (CoG). Furthermore, integration of manufacturing systems with manufacturing execution systems (MESs) upward to an enterprise resource planning (ERP) business system improves overall organizational efficiency. An ERP system enables optimization of intrafacility manufacturing resources. For multiple manufacturing facilities, it facilitates optimization across a company’s manufacturing network. Enabling Technologies and Systems At the enterprise resource planning level (Figure…

Designing the Right Strategy for Digital Transformation: How a Pragmatic Approach to Digital Transformation Can Help Biomanufacturers Adapt to a Challenging Future

Although the biopharmaceutical industry has enjoyed explosive growth over the past three decades, it still faces an assortment of challenges. Those include growing portfolio complexities, increased demand volatility, stringent regulatory requirements, increased pricing pressures, and growing technological complexities, all leading to severe pressure on profit margins. To overcome such pressures, biopharmaceutical operations need to become more reliable and agile, and they must realize efficiency gains in both manufacturing and supply chains. Digital transformation offers strong value opportunities, including a potential…

Soft Sensors for Bioprocess Monitoring

Achieving the high process efficiencies and optimization of Manufacturing 4.0 will require sophisticated software systems, mathematical modeling, and on-line process monitoring. Soft sensors are valuable tools that enable users to measure process parameters in real time. I spoke with Benjamin Bayer, data scientist at Novasign GmbH and doctoral candidate at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, Austria, about the potential of soft sensors for bioprocessing and important considerations for their use. Introduction How would you describe…

Bioprocessing 4.0 Accelerates Biological Research and Development Using Computer-Aided Biology

Computer-aided biology describes a growing ecosystem of tools that augment human capabilities in the laboratory. In this report we give two case study examples of how computer-aided biology has transformed industrial gene therapy bioprocessing. Read on to discover how Synthace’s Antha cloud-based software platform has enabled industrial collaborators Oxford Biomedica and the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult to harness the power of Bioprocessing 4.0 by: incorporating new process analytical technologies (PAT), such as Raman Spectroscopy, into their unit operations automating…

Using Blockchain Technology to Ensure Data Integrity: Applying Hyperledger Fabric to Biomanufacturing

Digitalization of manufacturing operations is a major challenge that many industries face. With the advent of smart equipment, automation of unit operations and complete processes, and digitalization of batch documentation, more data are generated now than ever before. The information must remain manageable, and data integrity needs to be ensured. The challenge for biomanufacturers will be to ensure that their entire large output of data will be attributable, legible, contemporaneous, original, and accurate (ALCOA) as defined by the US Food…

From Big Data to Precise Understanding: The Quest for Meaningful Information

High-throughput technologies have transformed the biotechnology industry. The amount of data they generate is at least a hundred times higher now than it was two decades ago, primarily because of the rise of “-omic” technologies. As in many other industries, the biopharmaceutical sector entered the era of big data the day that high-throughput analytics were routinely implemented in experimental research. Big data refers to “datasets with sizes beyond the ability of commonly used software tools to capture, curate, manage, and…

Trends in Data Analytics As Organizations Undergo a Digital Transformation

The biopharmaceutical industry is in the midst of an exciting transformation as biologics experience massive growth — even outpacing the small-molecule segment (1). Biologics are predicted to comprise over a quarter of the pharmaceutical market in 2020 (2). At the same time, a plethora of new biologically derived therapy concepts — e.g., cell and gene therapies — are in development. Some biologics classes have become mainstream — e.g., monoclonal antibodies — with biosimilars entering the market and contract manufacturing organizations…

The Value of Plug-and-Play Automation in Single-Use Technology

Automation can improve efficiency, track performance, adjust operations, and liberate operators from mundane routines. Automation requires a flexible set of tools that align well with the inherent flexibility of single-use technology (SUT). Although SUT flexibility enhances a biomanufacturer’s ability to modify operations to meet the needs of today’s dynamic industry, it also increases timelines and costs related to customizing and validating automated additions. We present herein the findings of a team of industry automation experts who are sharing their experiences…

eBook: Automation — The Value of Plug-and-Play Automation in Single-Use Technology

The biopharmaceutical industry’s movement away from large-scale, fixed-tank facilities to flexible facilities featuring single-use technologies (SUTs) has demonstrated the value of modular equipment and agile process design. SUTs have proven to be clear advantages to end users because those technologies enable quick facility build and changeover times. But linking SUT equipment with equally flexible automative technology has been difficult. Herein a group of automation experts from the BioPhorum Operations Group (BPOG) elaborate “plug-and-play” principles and introduce a supervisory control system…