Skip links

Biopharm interview with Dr David Pollard

General questions

       What is your name, company name and position?

D    Dr David Pollard, Head of Advanced Materials and Processing, which is one of the three pillars of the newly formed Sartorius Corporate Research. The other two pillars of corporate research being advanced biotech applications and advanced data analytics. My team is working on the next generation novel materials aswell as new processing approachs for biologics, vaccines, and cell/gene therapy. The group is globally positioned with research expertise at the Gottingen headquarters in Germany, in Aubagne France, in New Oxford in Pennsylvania and in Boston. We have open collaboration labs so we can create new innovative concepts through collaborations with the scientific community such as academics and start-up companies.

      Would you classify yourself as a beginner, intermediate user or power user of BioSolve Process?

H     Historically I have been an intermediate user during my exciting days of technology development at Merck & Co. Inc. NJ, while working with Mark Brower and his team on next gen continuous bioprocessing. I am now working my way back into a power user mode to drive concepts and ideas around designing sustainability into next gen bioprocessing.

      What do you like most about BioSolve Process?

        I see the one of the main power aspects of Biosolve Process is the ability to execute complex sensitivity studies with a set of parameters or criteria, for a specific unit operation, and to then see the impact across the complete bioprocess. This is immensely powerful and we learnt by doing these sensitivity studies, when early stage concepts are being drawn on paper, that we can directly help to identify unanticipated gaps and focus resources to the optimal experimental studies. Unfortunately I still think the power of this early concept approach, during early process selection, is still under appreciated & underutilized in the industry.

      How steep did you find the learning curve for BioSolve Process? Where there any specific aspects of the tool that you found more difficult to learn than others?

L     Like any software tool, routine continued use really helps to maintain the user skills. Certainly the ability to create a new unit operation and its interrelationship with different tabs can be cumbersome to remember.

      You are part of the Steering Group for the User Group Forum. What made you decide to participate the forum as an advisor?

       I still remain passionate of the value of user forums for industry wide applicable tools used across an industry. I saw the benefit of such concepts from the early days of the Ambr250 user forum. There are always new ideas to be learnt from other end users, and the sharing of ideas in a community, ultimately helps to improve the tool and the collectively the industry becomes more efficient. I was active in the early days of the Biosolve user forum, as I wanted to lead by example, to create a culture of end users being willing to share the details of their experiences, in an open and collaborative approach. This is particularly important where the total cost of ownership analysis, combining the impact of COGs, CAPEX, OPEX and also sustainability criteria) is still a complicated subject and how the forum can rally to educate the industry.

      What aspect of Forum do you like the most?

      The continued improvement via best practices was really useful. In addition the community prioritization discussions on the next Biosolve improvements that Biopharm Services should work on.

Your thoughts about BioSolve Process

      For past many years, you have been user or reviewer of BioSolve Process. Do you see many differences with the current version to the older versions? If so, what do you like the most about improved functionalities?

      Clearly the ability to compare different processes and facility designs is immensely easier than from the early days of Biosolve Process. Similarly the new ability to complete a parameter sensitivity analysis on thousands of settings (Advanced Scenario Analysis) is fantastic to the early historical approach of ‘one at time’. This capability with the future linkage to real process data drives the industry closer towards a guided decision making tool.

      We saw you as one of thoughts leader in the industry with your visions. Where BioSolve Process sits in your vision?

      The need for guided decision making during process development and optimization is one key factor in driving industry efficiency improvements. The linking of process development data to cost analysis is a key step in this approach. The ability to quickly and easily evaluate different scenarios, facilities, and concepts will be vital as the industry tackles the challenges of drug portfolio management of different modalities and technology platforms. These decisions of which technology or facility design to select will not only depend on productivity but also with sustainability goals such as minimizing water use, energy consumption, raw material usage and waste recycling through circular economies.

      We understand that industry is increasingly moving towards more digitalization. Where do you think the software such as ours will sit? And what role it will play?

      I see the bioprocess end users needing a software toolbox at their fingertips for integrated guided decision making tools. This includes Biosolve Process cost analysis alongside life cycle assessment tools which will be interlinked to experimental design DOE tools such as Sartorius MODDE, data analytics such as MVDA (Sartorius SIMCA), alongside AI and deep learning tools.

      Moving onto future, what aspect of our latest developments in progress you feel excited about?

      The upcoming improvements to the process mass intensify tool will be immensely useful to the industry. There is growing momentum in the industry to improve not only efficiency of processes but also the sustainability. The continued industry efforts to intensify bioprocesses has led to improved productivity but also examples of reduced environmental impact. For example the intensified upstream with single use bioreactors leads to reduced water usage and a smaller footprint enabling lower HVAC energy consumption.

Nevertheless there are still basic lack of understanding around design principles of how for improving productivity alongside sustainability . The new improved PMI tool should allow end users to understand the fundamental impact of process changes to the parameters of water use, raw materials consumed, energy usage and waste production including plastic waste. Industry LCA analysis of bioprocesses has shown the energy consumption to be key factor via HVAC operation. So the ability to evaluate the impact of the facility footprint size, its geographical location and different power generation source will be immensely powerful.

Final questions

      If you are to explain about BioSolve Process to anyone who is completely new to our software. How do you explain it from user perspective?

      A tool to assess the total cost of ownership of a complete process that includes COGs, CAPEX, OPEX and also sustainability criteria. A tool that allows the key gaps & challenges to be identified across a process via the unique sensitivity analysis approach. A tool that supports the key decision making required for efficient bioprocessing development and improvement.

      What three words would you use to describe BioSolve Process

      Cost Decision Maker !