Achieving Disruptive Improvement in the Bioprocessing Industry

“It’s not sufficient to have incremental improvement, what we need to
achieve is disruptive improvement”
Q&A with Alexei Voloshin, Global Scientific Services Leader, 3M

We spoke to Alexei Voloshin, Global Scientific Services Leader, 3M, in October last year (see the full interview here) about the challenges facing the bioproduction industry and how they can be met.

What are the biggest challenges facing the industry right now?

“There are two main issues in the industry if you look at it from a 30,000 foot view. Number one is the speed from discovery to clinic. As the pipelines of the products fill up and as the products get tougher and tougher, there is a lot of competition between the companies to bring value to the patients through these very innovative new generation biopharmaceutical treatments. You need to be able to move very effectively and very quickly from discovery to clinic. For that you need highly efficient platform processes and to have very available toolkits for process engineers in order to push that pipeline. We are still stuck in the ‘legacy world’ where we are using the same chemistries and the same types of approach.

The second is the productivity of commercial plants. If you look at where the world is going, chances are there will be, to an order of magnitude, more biopharma products approved over the next 10 years than there were in the previous years. So obviously the productivity of the plants will have to rise by a factor of 10. You cannot simply build 10 times the number of plants in the next 5-10 years, so that means that every plant has to be a lot more productive, which involves solving some very serious problems.”

How should these challenges be met?

“It’s not sufficient to have incremental improvement, what we need to achieve is disruptive improvement – 10x improvement rather than 20% improvement. That’s what will help the industry to take the next step and to be able to address all the challenges that we have today and in the near future.

Being able to solve very difficult next generation and present generation problems in biopharma is a combination of very advanced strategies for bioprocess development coupled with the new process technologies. Neither one will be able to give you that disruptive innovation alone. Simply because, you have to understand the nature of your product, but you also have to be able to apply novel chemistries and novel physical platforms in order to be able to solve problems and develop next generation processes.”

3M will be exhibiting at BioProcess International European Summit in Vienna on 11th-14th April 2016. Find out more about the event and buy tickets at

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