Pharmaceutical and biotech companies are in a race against time when it comes to getting new medicine from the lab into the hands of the consumer—a process that can take upwards of 10 years. Although use of automation to accelerate that time to market is likely the last thing people think to apply, it is, in fact, a way to solve the disconnect between the lab and production applications. By bridging that gap with technology, a company can make different development phases more efficient.
With that in mind, this month Emerson introduced the DeltaV Discovery platform designed to streamline the product lifecycle through a common control architecture. Leveraging the capabilities of the DeltaV distributed control system (DCS) currently used in large-scale manufacturing, this more compact approach for the research lab enables an accurate hand off of key process parameters from the lab through production operations.
DeltaV Discovery is a technology component of Emerson’s Operational Certainty program designed to help companies in oil and gas, chemical, pharmaceutical and other process industries achieve top performance by reducing the money lost every year due to project excesses. To that end, procedures and control strategies can be developed and easily transitioned through the evolution of the product.
DeltaV Discovery provides the power of DeltaV for non-production, non-GMP laboratory applications in a single workstation. It supports Ethernet-based I/O, which can further reduce the footprint by eliminating the need for I/O cards and physical controllers. Ethernet-based I/O includes standard OPC communications as well as direct Modbus TCP and Ethernet/IP communications using Emerson’s Virtual Ethernet I/O Card (VEIOC), which runs in the workstation.
In addition, support for ISA-88 standards offers the ability to add batch process control and historical event collection using using DeltaV Batch Executive, Batch Historian, and Advanced Unit Management applications. It provides alarms, events and advanced batch data integration to the user in a single workstation, delivering the automation and compliance capabilities of commercial manufacturing to the lab.
“With a $2.6 billion average cost to develop a commercially viable drug over a ten-plus year development period, companies must find ways to more efficiently scale up to commercial operations and reduce the time-consuming process of technology transfer,” said John Nita, vice president of the life sciences group at Emerson Automation Solutions. “DeltaV Discovery is vital in helping our life sciences customers ensure the work done in the research stage translates to a successfully operating production facility in the fastest possible time at the lowest possible cost.”