Siemens recently purchased French software supplier Elan, known primarily for its XFP manufacturing execution system (MES) solution for life sciences companies. Since Siemens already has its own Simatic IT MES product, we decided to find out more about why the deal was made, and what it means for pharma.
Simatic IT marketing manager Inez Costenoble replied to our questions:
PhM: What were the main reasons for the purchase of Elan? What's the most obvious benefit for Siemens?
I.C.: Elan provides an ideal portfolio extension for the Siemens MES Business Unit to complete the offering of Manufacturing Execution Systems for pharmaceutical companies. Following the increasing challenges of many manufacturers, we see a big opportunity for customers implementing SIMATIC IT and XFP to benefit from the combination of both systems of the most advanced product offering especially for the implementation of corporate strategies, particularly in regulated industries.
With the integration of SIMATIC IT and Elan XFP MES Suite, Siemens will offer the most advanced and flexible offering for pharmaceutical and life sciences customers.
PhM: Elan's expertise is solidly within the life sciences. Will there be specific features of its software, or specific expertise, that Siemens will be able to take advantage of immediately?
I.C.: Siemens will benefit from the dedicated pharma capabilities comprised in the product portfolio of XFP, specifically developed for regulated industries. Dedicated XFP functionality such as Weighing and Dispensing and full EBR are critical features for pharmaceutical customers to comply with regulations in pharmaceutical and life sciences industries.
Elan Software Systems, moreover, is able to provide strong skills in terms of validation support and guidance for regulated industries.
PhM: Siemens is already solidly in the MES market with Simatic IT. How will Elan supplement what Siemens already offers?
I.C.: The Elan product portfolio complements the Siemens Automation Systems Business Unit well. Combining the capabilities of both Elan and Siemens products and services will in time result in the best of both worlds, a dedicated MES solution for pharmaceutical and life sciences industries. This offering will cover the full scope of ISA-95, in the production pillar, but also the quality pillar as well as the inventory and maintenance pillars.
The model-based approach of SIMATIC IT, comprising Framework with modeling capabilities and Components and packages for specific functionality, allows manufacturers to add flexibility and adapt business and production processes to changing market demands. Since the SIMATIC IT portfolio also includes functionality such as scheduling, LIMS and Specification Management, together with further dedicated PIMS/ PPA, and with SPC / SQC functionalities, Siemens will be able to not only offer the full scope of “quality by design” as advocated by the FDA in the form of fully integrated offline, at-line and online testing, it will also be able to combine and extend it with the specific capacities of Elan’s XFP.
Thanks to its integration with SIMATIC IT (Modeler), further rollouts of Elan’s XFP — either in combination with other SIMATIC IT functionality or not — will hold potential for considerable increase of efficiency, reduction of project implementation time etc. On the plant level, customers will be able to leverage on the possibility to move towards a Manufacturing IT installation that is fully integrated in the enterprise IT Infrastructure — thanks to SIMATIC IT capabilities to seamlessly integrate with the business level, but also with the control level.
Siemens in turn will be able to benefit from the dedicated pharma capabilities comprised in the product portfolio of XFP, specifically developed for regulated industries. Dedicated XFP functionality such as Weighing and Dispensing and full EBR are critical features for pharmaceutical customers to comply with regulations in pharmaceutical and life sciences industries.
Elan moreover is able to provide strong skills in terms of validation support and guidance for regulated industries.
PhM: How will Simatic IT and Elan's XFP suite be integrated, and how quickly (or gradually) will this be done?
I.C.: The goal of the acquisition is to integrate Elan Software Systems step by step into the Siemens Business Unit Industrial Automation Systems. In the long term, it will be possible to offer a fully integrated portfolio — however, exact timing details are not available now.
PhM: What can Elan customers expect to gain from the agreement?
I.C.: [Elan’s] customers will gain a strong partner for their MES software solution which guarantees long-term investment protection and innovative products for efficient manufacturing operations.
With the integration of SIMATIC IT and Elan XFP MES Suite, Siemens will offer the most advanced and flexible offering for pharmaceutical and life sciences customers. They will be able to rely on a strong supplier that is committed to fulfilling customer needs — and to look forward for the needs to come, that has the broadest range of software functionality in house currently on the market. Existing Elan customers will also benefit from the extensive and globally active support and services organization of Siemens.
PhM: What can Simatic customers expect to gain?
I.C.: Siemens customers in the pharmaceutical industry will benefit from a dedicated, best-of-breed software approach and vision that will be fully embedded in the Siemens AS organization, completed with over 20 years of industry specific experience/ undisputed domain expertise.
Customers will be able to benefit from the specialized nature and years of experience that Elan Software Systems has, specifically for MES in regulated industries.