At last month’s Bioprocess International convention in Boston, some end users - including Pfizer and Merck - expressed their concerns about the growing reliance on systems vendors in the supply chain, especially as the industry continues shifting towards single-use.
Kurt Gilson, Western Regional Manager at Total Facility Solutions (TFS) – a subsidiary of architectural, engineering, and construction management firm M+W – believes these fears are unfounded and if vendors take a more active role in facility design then this could lead to greater flexibility and reduced costs.
“The use of disposable or single-use technology is dramatically changing plant design and construction,” he told Biopharma-Reporter.com.
“If the bioprocess manufacturing requirements align with the technology capabilities of the systems vendor, then the detailed design and construction of the plant by a systems vendor does not limit the plant flexibility any more than traditional delivery methods, and could offer schedule and cost advantages.”
In TFS’s experience, equipment manufacturers do not typically design and build bioprocess facilities he continued. “They are typically a key contributor to the bioprocess engineering, but few vendors have the breadth of process technology to deliver complete systems including support utilities and cleanrooms.”
However, one vendor, Sartorius Stedim Biotech, recently received an award for the design of WuXi Apptech’s fully disposable biomanufacturing facility in China, with spokesperson Miriam Monge telling this publication the advent of single-use was making such a design/supply client relationship possible.
Similarly, supplier of bioprocessing systems GE Healthcare is designing and building a modular biopharmaceutical facility on behalf of JHL Biotech, also in China.