Life Sciences & HealthcareFebruary 23, 2022

Ensuring sustainability in the Life Sciences industry in the age of precision medicine

In a recent LinkedIn article, I shared my vision for our industry…
Avatar Claire Biot

In a recent LinkedIn article, I shared my vision for our industry – about how my vision is to extend the healthy life expectancy for all with sustainable healthcare systems … but this comes with its challenges and the key word here is ‘sustainable’!

When we talk about sustainability in the Life Sciences & Healthcare industry, I believe we need to take a 3 pronged approach.

  • First, science sustaining Society – This is all about enabling science driven companies to create affordable accessible therapies for all. The means not only developing and manufacturing precision therapies in a sustainable, affordable manner but also ensuring that these therapies and healthcare as a whole is available to those who need it when they need it. The potential of changing access to healthcare is easily imaginable now that we are all accustomed to our new online world.
  • Second, sustaining the Environment – This is all about how our industry is reacting to the sustainability mandate and reducing its carbon footprint and sustaining nature. In a recent study by The Kingsfund, they found that carbon dioxide emissions attributable to the NHS in England alone are greater than the total admissions from all passenger aircraft departing from Heathrow Airport. The production of pharmaceuticals and medical devices constitutes the biggest contributors. This shows just how important it is for our industry to actively engage in sustainability efforts to reduce the carbon emissions across the entire value chain.
  • The third and final area is all about Life Sciences companies being able to sustain their business by confidently demonstrating global manufacturing compliance and integrity in a transparent & cost effective way thus engendering trust from regulators and patients and sustainable revenue generation. COVID has thrust a spotlight from governing bodies and regulators on our industry – now is the time for life sciences companies to leverage best-in-class scientific tools to revolutionize their business and deliver innovative therapies while ensuring environmental, social and business sustainability.

Today I want to focus on one specific area… biomanufacturing. According to a , analyses of emissions per million dollars of revenue find that the global pharmaceutical industry is approximately 55 percent more emissions-intensive than the automotive industry and the pharmaceutical industry’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are increasing despite efforts to decarbonize. In addition, 28% of the pharmaceutical sector (by market share) has joined the United Nations’ Race to Zero commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 (Source). 

. Virtual twins allow organizations to model, simulate and optimize the system under consideration: at the plant level, at the process level, at the production line level and at the equipment level. It provides a way to capture all knowledge around behavior and features of those systems by facilitating continuous improvements of processes and simultaneously facilitating regulatory readiness through knowledge management.

To build impactful virtual twins a solid scientific foundation is required. Indeed, you need to understand the product characteristics at multiple scales, from the molecular level to higher scales. Let me take 2 examples:

  1. At the molecular level: the 3D shape of the protein dictates its function and can be impacted by many parameters – you want to get them right if you want to guarantee the product efficacy
  2. When you simulate speed of syringe filling, on a F&F line, you want to make sure you accurately predict the production of air bubbles, as they will impact product quality.

So, science is key.

But, let me add another dimension: Collaboration. Indeed these virtual twins for biomanufacturing require a multiscale approach, but also a multidisciplinary one. If you want several disciplines to collectively model & simulate twins of the manufacturing line, then collaboration is required to support data and information sharing and permit creative ways of engaging with that data to truly accelerate the time-to-market and to avoid any duplication and wasted efforts.

We have witnessed this during the race to deliver COVID vaccines globally. Pharmaceutical companies are moving from relatively rigid and difficult-to-change supply chains to dynamic supply networks consisting of a range of contract manufacturers, engineering services providers, Biotech companies and clinical research organizations.

Using a scientific platform hosted virtual twin, collaborators can design and engineer the complex processes and operations that involve many stakeholders and actors and thus enable pharmaceutical companies to have more sustainable manufacturing operations delivered by all partners in the network efficiently and without any delay.

The use of virtual twins for complex systems such as modern pharmaceutical manufacturing processes ultimately are, are endless and I am unable here to go into each of the applications but you can get in touch with us to find out how virtual twins can transform your biopharma manufacturing organization.

Stay up to date

Receive monthly updates on content you won’t want to miss


Register here to receive a monthly update on our newest content.