September 7, 2018 -- Biomanufacturing instruments and techniques have become influential in everything from generating high yield pharmaceutical precursors, to biofuel conversion from biomass. Bioprocessing, or the mass production of therapeutic products, includes three production phases: upstream, fermentation, and downstream processing, each providing an opportunity for improvement in efficiency.
Last October, at the biannual Bioprocess International Conference & Exhibition (BPI), exhibitors had focused their efforts on three ongoing trends affecting the industry: the emergence of continuous processing, the move towards single-use technologies and the focus on improved process productivity. Single-use technologies (disposable bioreactors made of plastic, for example) are beneficial in contamination prevention, and, by extension, they reduce cleaning costs. When a scientist disposes of a reactor after each use — it eliminates any chance of cross-contamination thereby vastly reducing the time and effort required to test for and identify contaminated batches. Normally, bioreactors and their accessories need to go through an autoclaving process both before and after fermentation to prevent contamination and allow for the disposal of used products. This process is lengthy and consumes high volumes of water. Alternatively, with single-use instruments, manufacturers can be cost-efficient while conserving water. Unfortunately, the largest drawback of single-unit products is a significant drop in efficiency between upstream and downstream processes, which brings us to the effort of improving continuous processing. Here, we reflect on some of the advancements within the last year that have tried to achieve some of these goals as well as highlight notable collaborations and events.
The Science Advisory Board has been working hard to understand how these trends have impacted the bioprocessing industry. As we started to compile information, we noted several significant obstacles still exist to implement commercial continuous processing, including the conservative nature of the pharmaceutical industry, and the development of other enabling devices that allow for real-time monitoring and control of the process.
We found the movement towards improving single-unit technology had stirred much activity as well:
Amongst others, these were noteworthy efforts toward enhancing process productivity and general advancements:
As you can see, the bioprocessing industry is one full of recent developments, technological improvements, and scientific opportunity. What are your thoughts on these new trends? Join the discussion in our forums.