The mPath benchtop bioreactor control system was introduced this week by New York-based bioprocessing tech firm Pall offering expandable control and data management for its Allegro XRS 25 bioreactor.
The tech was developed and made in-house as while bioreactor control towers are readily available on the market, director of Analytics & Controls Loe Cameron said these did not fulfil Pall’s – and the end-users’ – specific needs.
“We sought to integrate four very different bioreactor product lines and showcase the features of each, but there was no commercially available controller with the focus on single-use, usability and flexibility that we needed to achieve our goals, so we built our own,” she told Biopharma-Reporter.
She added current commercial models for bench scale bioreactors are based on proprietary microcontrollers which are more prone to bugs and stability issues, whereas Pall’s new offering is based on a programmable logic controller (PLC) which can integrate control loops with thousands of hours of testing, ensuring that control is more stable and precise.
“We also looked at the specific needs of single-use bioreactor users, including extensive studies of their workflows. Because other control systems were originally designed for glass and stainless steel bioreactors there were workflow challenges, especially around handling biocontainers for feeds and titrants.”
New core focus
Cameron told us the sector is becoming an increasingly large focus for Pall and its owner Danaher, and further investment in the process control space is likely.
“Pall made significant investments to ensure the project was a success because of the impact we expected on both the product line and customer experience. Now more than ever, process control is a core focus area for Pall.”
She added: “We believe that continued strategic investment in this space best supports our fundamental goal of delivering best-in-class total bioprocessing solutions.”
Pall’s Analytics & Controls team is already working on further developments with the mPath tech including solutions for larger scales, but we asked Cameron if the firm would consider supplying its control technologies for single-use systems made by other vendors.
“Our immediate focus is on the Pall range of bench scale bioreactors, but we are open to supplying mPath bioreactor control systems to other bioreactor vendors as it makes sense for the customers and the business.”
Some competitors are also looking to process control technologies as an additional offering. Thermo Fisher acquired its long-term bioreactor measurement and control solution partner Finesse Solutions earlier this year, while GE Healthcare and Satorius have been investing in automation controls for their systems.