The overall goal is to work towards a common way of innovating to increase sustainability measures, says firm.

Millie Nelson, Editor

October 30, 2023

2 Min Read
Sustainability could be opportunity to innovate, says Merck

The overall goal is to work towards a common way of innovating to increase sustainability measures, says Merck & Co.

Sustainability is the hot topic of the moment and a continuous talking point in the biopharma space and there is a general consensus amongst experts that organizations must work together to create meaningful changes.

It is no surprise that the topic made its way to Biotech Week Boston (BWB), 2023. David Roush, distinguished scientist, Merck & Co. (known as MSD outside North America and Canada) told a packed-out audience “sustainability requires collaboration across the network” and it is a “community responsibility.”



Industry experts clearly identify the need to work together to reap results, but Roush also said a way to successfully become more sustainable is to look at sustainability efforts as an opportunity to innovate.

“The key is to look at [your processes] critically and to think what is going to have the biggest impact and where should I invest? What can be done from the very beginning to minimize the environmental impact? If you are going to develop a new product, see that as an opportunity to innovate.”

Roush told attendees that there are ways to innovate based on science, which have a direct impact on environmental footprint. For example, increased efficiency of membrane utilization reduces water, electrical requirements, and CO2 emissions.

He placed the responsibility on the bioprocessing community to “take these concepts and put [them] into our processes.” Additionally, Roush said “if you were to start today, you probably would not use the tools we have had for 100 years. It is an opportunity to innovate.”

Roush referenced looking at alternatives to single-use components and suggested utilizing biodegradable plastics as a substitute, as well as the development of next generation plastics that are more amenable to gamma irradiation.

To round off the talk, he circled back to the importance of collaboration and said the ultimate “goal is to work towards a common way of innovating” and therefore, being able to improve sustainability measures collectively.

About the Author(s)

Millie Nelson

Editor, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering global biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing news and host of the Voices of Biotech podcast.

I am currently living and working in London but I grew up in Lincolnshire (UK) and studied in Newcastle (UK).

Got a story? Feel free to email me at [email protected]

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