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A major element of the BioPhorum program this year was to hear updates from all the participating companies. Whilst there was a diverse range of company sizes and market focus, common themes emerged in respect of healthy new product pipelines, sustained investment in new manufacturing facilities and increased changes of personnel at CEO level.

The first guest speaker was Steve Hadley, representing the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who inspired us with the idea that biological drugs can and should be made accessible to a global population. Their work to fund high impact innovation in bioprocessing technology especially at the pre-competitive level was well received by the group and provided many subsequent discussion points.

The group visited one such ‘Gates’ supported organisation; Just Biotherapeutics, and heard how their integrated approach to development and manufacturing is aiming to rapidly deliver biologics with lower CoGs and increased clinical success rates by focusing on: optimized molecular design, high throughput screening, alternative host systems and, flexible and low cost facility design.

The group moved on to discussing the trends and opportunities arising from the use of digital technology in biomanufacturing supply chains with speakers from Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud. A practical case study was presented by Amgen in the Energy Optimization and Reliability Centered Maintenance area. Jane Selva outlined how the BPIT collaboration team had developed a Digital Plant Maturity Model that defines capabilities at each stage of the digitization journey. With the imminent publication of the BPOG Technology Roadmap the meeting took the opportunity to gain an insight into the key business / market needs and technology gaps in the document. Sponsor level comments and suggestions were provided for communication to the TRM steering committee in readiness for an upcoming implementation and prioritization workshop.

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