With the acquisition in February of Finesse Solutions, Inc., Thermo Fisher Scientific now is in a unique position as the only bioproduction supplier that can provide products spanning the entire workflow, offering process automation and software to tie the technology together.
In a follow-up to last week’s INTERPHEX 2017 coverage, Pharmaceutical Processing caught up with Jim Bylund, Vice President and General Manager for Single Use Technologies at Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Barbara Paldus, Vice President and General Manager of Finesse.
Q. Thermo Fisher Scientific has been partnering with Finesse Solutions since 2013. What market developments led to the establishment of that original partnership and why was Finesse chosen over competitors in that space?
Jim Bylund: Finesse has taken a fresh and innovative approach to the market that brings great value to our customers. The Finesse platform integrates seamlessly with our hardware and consumable solutions. We found the customer-centric and service-oriented mindset of the Finesse organization consistent with the Thermo Fisher philosophy.
Q. How does Finesse Solutions complement Thermo Fisher Scientific’s current bioproduction business?
Bylund: The automation solutions Finesse supplies allow Thermo Fisher to provide a more integrated solution for our customers. The reach of the Finesse automation spans upstream and downstream processing and from lab to production scale synchronizing well with the Thermo Fisher product line. At the SmartFactory level we can combine our superior products together into a full workflow solution for our customers.
Q. Is the ability to offer single sourcing of combined technology and services a distinct advantage for Thermo Fisher Scientific in the marketplace?
Bylund: It is a distinct advantage because of the strength of our individual product offerings and the services we offer. Excellent products and services integrated together form an excellent solution.
Q. Briefly describe the key technologies required in today’s bioproduction workflow and how the Finesse components help tie together the entire process.
Barbara Paldus: Key technologies are: bioreactors, BioProcess Containers (BPCs), media, filters, chromatography resins and the skids/automation that enable their automated use. Finesse provides the controllers and software for running these skids, and is developing these skids. Finesse also allows the data from the workflow and third party analytics to be collected in one repository and analyzed for process optimization. Essentially, Finesse provides the binding layer for the workflow process control and data management leading to improved productivity in cGMP production and faster scale-up from R&D through production.
Q. Will that continue to be a major growth area in this space over the next few years?
Paldus: We believe that this will be the case for labscale and personalized medicine, which are both small volume applications. We also believe that the key technologies will be instrumental in enabling continuous processing in the near future.
Q. Since companies may still use a variety of legacy systems, how important is customization when working to bring all of the individual workflow elements together?
Paldus: When customers require the integration and harmonization of legacy hardware systems with proprietary control algorithms, then customization cannot be avoided. However, when customers are willing to upgrade the controller, leaving the legacy skid hardware, then better measurement and process control can be implemented, oftentimes with a configure-to-order solution. This is closer to a standard product.