New Ideas Welcome Here

July 20, 2015
Advancing Pharma’s craft is both art and science; innovation drives them both

It’s All-Star season here at Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, and at game time we’re excited to bring you what we think is a winning roster of technologies from the industry’s most respected and talented suppliers.

Personally, I enjoy editing the All-Star Innovators issue. There are many reasons why, but this issue always resonates with me because it focuses on technology —something I’ve been fascinated with since assembling my first plastic model airplane at age six, a Spitfire I recall. Sentimentality aside, members of the amazing global technocracy we like to call the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing industry have always recognized how important and central applied industrial technologies are to the industry’s mission and ultimate goal, delivering better health by manufacturing safe, effective quality medicines.

The Pharma global industrial complex certainly has its warts, but it’s becoming apparent that the most successful pharmaceutical manufacturers are supporting their innovation and competitiveness by paying close attention to the technical advances and solutions the vendor community brings to the industry. To Pharma’s big leagues, Branded Pharma, Generic Pharma, Contract Pharma and Bio Pharma, much of what is advancing the art, craft and science pharmaceutical manufacture comes from technology suppliers competing for their chance at bat.

Successfully applying technology is everything in this arena and in her column (page 9), digital editor Karen Langhauser talks about the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT to all you acronym fans out there) and how this emerging area of technological innovation has great potential to drive the next wave of operational excellence across Pharma’s manufacturing landscape.

A quick flip through the All-Star Innovators issue will confirm that it is intensely focused on applied technology. In fact, it’s practically obsessed with it. UpFront has an item on Janssen instituting continuous manufacturing into its operations; not only are they doing it, they are publicizing the capability — that’s innovative on several fronts. We’ve got a contribution from Rockwell on managing global engineering projects efficiently and our own contributing editor and PAT guru Emil Ciurzak went mining for innovation at PittCon and found several process analytical technologies worth a close “scan” on page 26. In Technology Up Close, I cover Festo’s innovative approach to automating and controlling modular water processing plant modules with Craig Correa, that company’s process control expert. From concept to application, Festo’s Lego approach brings the benefits of modularity to process automation system integration to add capacity without the headaches associated with scaling up processes to meet demand and other competitive and operational imperatives.

We dig deeper into automation’s role in delivering better control and outcomes for the world’s largest maker of custom oligo products, a key building block for molecular research on page 34. This case study details how Beckhoff Automation helped IDT streamline a solid phase synthesis process and deliver solid gains operationally and financially.

The All-Star Innovators the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing team has chosen for this year’s roster were introduced over the last 12 months. These players, through outstanding effort and resulting performance and other operational gains are being recognized for their technical innovation. From robots ideal for tricky maneuvers within sterile containment, to hand-held PAT scanners, and a steam trap that takes full advantage of steam’s potential energy and in doing so came up with a design that eliminates all moving parts!

New ideas are always welcome on the pages of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and our goal is to bring to light the best ones from the brightest minds across the commercial manufacturing landscape. For Pharma’s biggest teams there’s virtually no room for anything but operational excellence, and this year’s All-Star Innovators are ready to help drug makers bring home the wins.

About the Author

Steven E. Kuehn | Editor in Chief