Professor Gerald Striedner is Deputy Head of the Institute of Bioprocess Science and Engineering at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna and has provided academic support for the research project to develop Qubicon in cooperation with Bilfinger.
What potential do you see for a software solution like Qubicon in the pharmaceuticals industry?
The market for biopharmaceuticals is marked by very high growth rates with a large number of newly approved active ingredients. However, the products are expensive and thus exert enormous cost pressure on public healthcare systems. Ensuring that these drugs are widely available to society can only be achieved by significantly reducing manufacturing costs. This is why the authorities and industry have devised an approach for the direct in-process control of product quality. Intelligent software solutions such as Qubicon are of elementary importance here. This new approach to quality assurance will likely be accepted and become the recognized standard in pharmaceuticals production.
Why are solutions like this not yet in widespread use?
Implementing them represents a major interdisciplinary challenge and many pharmaceuticals manufacturers, software developers and engineering companies have already developed their own solutions for certain segments. However, until now, there was no all-in-one software solution like Qubicon on the market that unifies, stores, processes and analyzes all data in one system and enables automation. Drawing on its expertise in biopharmaceutical plant equipment, Bilfinger has developed the software to allow flexible integration into existing systems and precision tailoring to customers’ needs.
You’re already working on a follow-on project. What is its objective?
We’re looking at continuous production processes and fullscale integration of the individual process steps – from the cell culture through separation of the product from the cells to final purification of the product. The software will be enhanced for use in the fully automated, continuous production of biopharmaceuticals.