Aldevron Breakthrough Blog

Using Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) to Reduce Turnaround Times

"Biomanufacturing" and "efficiency" are two terms that are not commonly seen together, but researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Engineering Department along with protein manufacturing experts here at Aldevron are taking big steps to change that.

The application of Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) theory to biological processes is a unique initiative whose goal of reducing lead times for manufacturing operations is the core focus of the UW and Aldevron partnership. 

QRM in a nutshell

In the simplest terms, QRM is a manufacturing framework designed to account for critical variabilities in the production process, like the culturing of cells, with the objective of eliminating "distruptive" variabilities that lead to rework and shifting deadlines.

While scale, cost and quality defined a manufacturer's competitive advantage throughout the later 20th century, QRM recognizes speed as the primary capability separating one manufacturer from another today.

The biomanufacturing connection

This model has been particularly useful for manufacturers whose output is highly-variable, a common trait among biomanufacturers like ourselves. To better adapt the QRM approach to biological applications in particular, we teamed up with researchers at UW-Madison to develop a "Bio-QRM" system capable of identifying radical improvements to biomanufacturing efficiency, with the goal of bringing life-changing therapies to patients sooner.

Earlier this year, this joint effort led to Aldevron being awarded first place in the 2016 Applied Research Challenge organized by the Production and Operations Management Society (POMS).

How we're using QRM to accelerate drug discovery and development

The tools, systems and processes developed through our collaboration aren't just ideas for the future –– they're helping us more rapidly manufacture the biomolecules our clients need to discover and develop new drugs right now:

Since working with the QRM Center on campus, the new approach to manufacturing has given us a system for mitigating and possibly eliminating the variability and risks associated with producing products inside of living cells.

Now, even before production begins, we use QRM's statistical models to avoid promising too much and delivering too little. By applying this math to preliminary testing, we can determine whether or not successful outcomes are feasible given certain timelines, quality standards, and budget, sooner rather than later. Put simply, QRM can help us to identify costly failures before they happen.

Learn more at the 2016 Wisconsin Biohealth Summit 

BioFoward BioHealth Summit 2016

BioForward's Biohealth Summit provides a platform for discovering the convergence of many diverse sectors of science, technology, manufacturing, engineering and healthcare.

Tom Foti, Vice President & General Manager of Aldevron's Madison, Wisconsin, location will chair a keynote panel to discuss the ongoing QRM initiative and how research institutions, biohealth companies and manufacturing plants are collaborating across Wisconsin to explore the next frontier of medicine and manufacturing.

The 2016 Wisconsin Biohealth Summit will be held September 27 in Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more and register here.

Want to learn more about Aldevron's biomanufacturing capabilties? Contact us today to get the conversation started.


About the author

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Tom Foti

Tom Foti

Thomas Foti has more than 25 years of biotechnology experience and serves as Vice President/GM of the Protein Business Unit. He was one of the original founders of Aldevron’s protein services business, which was formed in 2009. Prior to working for Aldevron, Foti served in several roles in the Merck KGaA Bioscience Division, most recently as the Director of its Global Custom Services Business. He started his career in 1992, with Novagen, Inc. serving in manufacturing and operational roles until 1999. He played college basketball while earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Biotechnology and Microbiology from North Dakota State University. Foti also holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Edgewood College and a Management Leadership Certificate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Topics: Protein, Research Grade Manufacturing