(599bo) Next Generation Fermentation R&D Facilities: Designing for the Dynamic Biotechnology Landscape

Stowers, C., Dow AgroSciences

Today’s biotechnology field is a fast-paced and dynamic environment with rapidly changing technology and market conditions. Agile fermentation R&D facilities are required to capitalize on new business opportunities spanning a variety of fermentation types ranging in complexity. These R&D facilities must also be reliable, safe and efficient.  Creative engineering design that enables the highest levels of safety is at the core of the ability to meet these needs. Equally, fermentation systems must provide ultimate flexibility in experimental designs and capabilities to accelerate product development timelines.  The use of modular design principles and ASME Bioprocessing standards adds flexibility, ensures cleanability while improving aseptic reliability.  Another critical consideration is resourcing and experiment cycle-time because fermentation based processes can quickly become labor intensive. Investment in state-of-the-art automation technologies can reduce required manpower, shorten experimental turnaround and improve operational accuracy and consistency. Once a lab is constructed or upgraded, a detailed commissioning plan and process can navigate the competing demands of quick start-up and safe execution.  The Dow Agrosciences Fermentation Development Lab (FDL) has been able to apply these principles to construct, start-up and operate a highly automated fermentation facility that enables more complex experimental designs, supports a growing variety of technologies, and ensures safe and reliable operation. Leveraging these attributes, the FDL was able to expand bioreactor capacity without increasing manpower. Ultimately, fermentation labs of the future will likely face dynamic market conditions and a rapidly evolving scientific landscape. Those facilities best equipped to handle the dynamic environment, execute efficiently, and start-up safely will be significantly advantaged for success.