Biogen maps way to future factory


Biogen Idec sees the bioprocessing factory of its future. It's not some pie-in-the-sky concept, but the result of a technology map created collaboratively by the company's heads of engineering, development and manufacturing to help coordinate their forward-looking thinking.

Here's what the company sees: smaller, more flexible facilities based on new technologies to improve production results in line with changes in demand and changes in the pace of production. The vision includes little of the $500 million to $1 billion worth of stainless steel bioreactors, piping, instrumentation, equipment and support systems of traditional bioprocess plants, reports Investor's Business Daily. Shiny two- to three-story bioreactors will give way to much smaller disposable bags and single-use technology components.

"By changing the equipment, the time it takes to bring into operation a new plant is transformed," says John Cox, EVP for pharma ops and technology, in the article.

The map-building is ultimately a silo-buster, too. The technique helps the company leaders coordinate their thinking. And as their coordinated ideas become manufacturing and operations reality, traditional barriers between the three functions will no longer be sustained.