Even more than visiting the exhibit floor, I enjoy attending the presentations at INTERPHEX, which will take place next week in New York. The sessions always reflect the current hot topics within the pharmaceutical industry, and this year is no exception. Observers have been predicting that vaccines will be the industry’s new growth area, so my eye was drawn to the various biopharmaceutical talks listed on the INTERPHEX schedule of events.
On Tuesday morning, representatives of Shire and Honeywell will explain how the former rapidly designed and completed a biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility that relies heavily on single-use equipment. Shire say they set themselves an ambitious timeline for completing the facility, and the company apparently finished it earlier than it had planned. I’m curious to learn how the crew managed to design, equip, commission, and validate the facility in a seemingly short period. I’d also like to know which of the plant’s operations use disposable components, and how Shire decides when single-use items can take the place of traditional stainless steel.
A session about designing modular vaccine facilities on Wednesday promises to be interesting, too. Modular facility design has been touted as a way to reduce operating costs and make a manufacturing plant more flexible. A representative of NNE Pharmaplan will describe how standardization and single-use equipment helped to lower the costs of BSL2 and BSL3 vaccine facilities. He’ll also describe how these techniques can speed up the completion of a facility, and it will be instructive to compare his remarks with what Shire says on Tuesday. I’ll also be curious to hear about the challenges that any company must face when they want to design a modular facility.
Several other sessions will relate to large-molecule facilities. Speakers will talk about applying risk assessment to the design of biopharmaceutical manufacturing plants, and also about establishing appropriate microbial controls for these sites. It might be difficult for attendees to choose among the many presentations at a given time. Regardless, I’m sure we’ll walk away with a better understanding of where the industry is headed in the near future.