By JOHN BOEHM
Manufacturers across industries rely on innovative technology to meet two critical production requirements: speed and cost-efficiency. Biopharmaceutical manufacturers understand this concept and are implementing new ways to leverage existing plant infrastructure to enhance process reliability and flexibility. One solution that continues to gain momentum is single-use systems — particularly single-use transfer lines — which can deliver significant value through added flexibility, improved asset/equipment utilization, and increased cost savings.
Initially, single-use systems that gained market acceptance consisted of tubing, bags, filters, and connectors. Bioprocessing facilities used these systems for process storage applications and sterile cell culture media. Single-use bioreactors then entered the market in research and development labs and rapidly moved into pilot plants and larger scale production facilities as integral systems for production and seed train scale-up.
Now, single-use transfer lines are used throughout the bioprocess to reduce operational costs. Unlike hard piping, the flexible tubing in single-use transfer lines does not require expensive and time-consuming cleaning and validation. Manufacturers can manage business cycles by quickly changing process steps or converting to a new product — a key advantage for multiple product facilities in which process requirements change with the drug being produced. Innovative manufacturers now incorporate single-use transfer lines in seed trains, suite-to-suite transfer, and final-fill applications.