Sanofi, a Paris based biopharmaceutical company, has opened it’s first digital manufacturing facility. The new digitally-enabled biologics production facility was inaugurated in October 2019 and is located in Framingham, Massachusetts, U.S.
The company believes that the digital integration of the manufacturing plant will facilitate better use of data to optimise manufacturing processes and increase efficiencies and levels of productivity. According to Sanofi, the cutting-edge technology will promote improved commercialisation of important new medicines.
The Digital Manufacturing Facility
The new digital biomanufacturing facility will produce next-gen biological medicines for the company’s Speciality Care portfolio. It is one of the world’s first digital manufacturing facilities to use continuous, intensified biologics production technology. Fully digitally powered from end to end, the facility uses millions of data captured by sensors placed throughout the facility to continually optimise it’s manufacturing processes.
Sanofi’s Digital Manufacturing Facility also has a key advantage in its location. The site is part of the Framingham biologics hub which provides the infrastructure to support activities ranging from early-stage development through to commercial manufacturing. This facilitates for a smooth, organised and harmonious end-to-end design and production. In addition, Sanofi is making sizeable investments in flexible facility design, which will allow the factory to manufacture different products using more of the same equipment for all of them.
Sanofi’s new facility will focus on biologics-based therapies, in conformity with the revamping of its research and development pipeline.
The plant’s digital biomanufacturing technologies
Employees of the digital plant will work side by side with “Cobots”, which are collaborative robots that recognise their environment ensuring safe operation. All of Sanofi’s digital plants and equipment will eventually be fitted with modern sensors. In addition, Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR)’s will automatically transport raw materials, single-use equipment and finished products within the facility.
Sanofi’s digital plants will have a simulated 3D computer model, a“digital-twin”, giving data managers a real-time view of the operations.
Advantages of biopharmaceutical manufacturing digitalisation
It is expected that the progressive paperless data-driven manufacturing technology will facilitate for therapies to move from development laboratories to the manufacturing plants much faster.
The real time data flow and 3D simulation model can pave the way for the next generation of digital manufacturing for biopharmaceuticals. The digital technology will allow the company to produce more complex medicines on a large enough scale to reach growing patient populations and improve affordability by lowering production costs. Simulation on the model can also provide the level of manufacturing modularity and flexibility needed to support personalised medicine.
Sanofi’s Digital Manufacturing Integration
The company is accelerating its digital transformation with six pilots where the cutting-edge technologies applied in the Framingham facility will also be introduced. Sanofi has invested $5.51 billion, over the last 5 years in the construction of production facilities. The biopharmaceutical giant has an objective to implement the digitalisation globally within the next three to five years. With more than 100,000 employees in 100 countries, Sanofi’s pharmaceutical innovations are set to make a significant impact on the healthcare industry around the world.