Careers

Elucidation: The Medical Products Industry Must Resist the Pharmaphobes

I often ask people: “Do you think medical practice is better, worse, or the same compared with what it was when I graduated from medical school nearly 50 years ago?” The most common answer is “I guess it’s somewhat better,” although some say “Worse!” I explain that the unequivocal right answer is “hugely better!” For example, our average lifespan is now a decade longer, and we suffer far less from incapacitating diseases such as arthritis. Then I ask, “Why are…

Information Instead of Data: User-Friendly HMI Concept Increases Process Control Efficiency

Today, most plant operators are much more than classic process operators. In addition to operational process control, their range of tasks includes product quality assurance, optimization of resources, and maintenance of high‑throughput rates. Qualified information is necessary to reliably perform those tasks. The human–machine interface (HMI) of a process control system provides visualization. Siemens regards new HMI concepts such as advanced process graphics (APG) as the key to task‑specific or situation‑specific decision‑making (Photo 1). Graphics Monitor: the Process Window Before…

When Is a Virtual Business Model Suitable for Biopharmaceutical Companies?

Virtual companies are based on the model that all activities are outsourced. Such companies have no (or few) employees, occupy no laboratory space, and use contract service organizations for all activities. Over the past decade, several virtual biopharmaceutical companies have formed (1–4). They are primarily start-up ventures that use contract research organizations (CROs) for R&D and contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs) for product manufacturing. By contrast, a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company is based on the model that all activities are internal to…

A Case for Biopharmaceutical Operations in Low-Cost Countries to Maximize Return on Investment

A company’s success is associated with its growth. An expanding company hires more employees (full-time equivalents, FTEs) to support its commercial products, to develop new products, and to provide administrative services. As it grows, an organization can become more complex and its operations less efficient. Analysis of 2013 financial data showed that revenue of US biopharmaceutical companies increases with a growing number of FTEs at a slower rate than does cost (1). That study assumed that all US biopharmaceutical companies…

Entrepreneurship, Lessons Learned, and Bioindustry Perspectives: An Interview with Roger-Marc Nicoud

Roger-Marc Nicoud received his PhD from the University of Lorraine in process simulation for the nuclear industry. He joined Separex in 1987, first as a technical director and then as a managing director until 1995. Between 1993 and 1995, he also worked as professor and headed a research laboratory involved in thermodynamics at the University of Lorraine. Nicoud founded Novasep in 1995 with the objective of developing comprehensive solutions for producing biologic and synthetic molecules. Novasep became a leading life-sciences…

Process Effectiveness Analysis Toward Enhanced Operational Efficiency, Faster Product Development, and Lower Operating Costs

Complex drug development and biomanufacturing processes involve back-and-forth shuttling of activities among multiple functions. Close communication, collaboration, and coordination among stakeholder departments and functions are needed to successfully execute these processes. Whereas collaboration between multiple functions leverages each function’s expertise, the resultant structure also poses several challenges, as listed in Table 1 (1). These challenges are further exacerbated as an organization grows in size and geography (2, 3). In the absence of clarity and appropriate assignment of roles and responsibilities,…

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Why the “Central Dogma” Isn’t

For decades, professional biology education programs, universities, community colleges, and some high schools have inoculated students with the phrase central dogma to refer to the basic paradigm that “DNA encodes RNA, which encodes for protein” (1). Although that is in large part true, we do need to break with tradition, let science take its course, and call it like it is. Background In 1970, Francis Crick’s seminal paper in Nature (“Central Dogma of Molecular Biology”) was published. Eventually its premise…

Managing Collaboration Across the Extended Organization

In an increasingly competitive life-science landscape that includes numerous mergers, acquisitions, and changing business models, the demand for collaboration is increasing at such a pace that it exceeds information technology (IT) capabilities. The need to manage and control this collaboration across the supply chain has become mandatory. That is particularly true for larger organizations with hundreds or thousands of partners that are finding new ways to connect, interact, and conduct business. Individual businesses are forming contractual affiliations that extend beyond…

An Industry–Academia Partnership

GE Healthcare Life Sciences recently launched a joint program with Osaka University to support future growth of the biopharmaceutical sector in Japan. Together, they offer students access to GE Healthcare’s expertise in training and technologies for bioprocess research and manufacturing. The program is funded by Osaka University as part of its “Interdisciplinary Program for Biomedical Sciences” (IPBS), a government-funded commitment to graduate education. The goal of IPBS is to educate young scientists to undertake global-scale collaborations to develop effective treatments…

Women Helping Women in Biotechnology

How can we empower women to advance their own careers? How do we encourage entrepreneurship for more female scientists? What will get more girls excited about science? Those are questions that the Women In Bio (WIB) organization seeks to address as it creates programs and networking events across the country. WIB is an organization of biotechnology professionals whose mission is to promote careers, leadership, and entrepreneurship for women involved in life sciences. Started in 2002 as a small support network…