Skip to main content

BPD 2014 Facility Tour Event at Biogen Idec

The Biomanufacturing and Process Development (BPD) group is dedicated toward providing opportunities for the local bioprocessing group, professionals and students alike, to network, share information and discuss technical issues. As one of the many avenues to do so, we conduct an annual Facility Tour event. A tour of a local biomanufacturing facility is a great opportunity to observe the operations and people in action, and appreciate their role in making high value metabolites, drugs and vaccines that serve to improve the health care of United States and abroad. In the past we had organized tours in Novartis and Novozymes. This year, the tour was conducted on 23rd January at the Biogen Idec 2,000L and 15,000L manufacturing facilities. Biogen Idec is a biologics company that makes antibody drugs for debilitating disorders, and is most known for its blockbuster drugs in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

The event was kicked off with a presentation by Steve Doares, Director of Manufacturing Sciences at Biogen Idec. Steve talked about the background and history of Biogen Idec and in particular the RTP site. He was also one of the 5 tour guides who later took the attendees on the tour. The other guides were Chad Cooper, Kevin Jones, Jack Armitage and Rich Guerra, all of them serve as Directors/ Managers of Manufacturing and were happy to take time off from another busy day to contribute to the event.

The tours began from 5 different places in the Manufacturing facility and made their rounds before finally making it back to the Auditorium 60 – 70 minutes later. Attendees were able to see the 2,000L and 15,000L cell culture and purification suites, the warehouse, dispensary and the recently built disposables/ single use suite. No gowning was required as the tour was mostly through grey space. According to Brad Kosiba, an independent consultant at BK Collaborative LLC, “the accessibility of the 15K grey spaces made it far better than the usual window tour of clean rooms”. Cynthia Sollod, Director of Science and Technology Development at the NC Biotech Center, who was also at the tour said, “I enjoyed every aspect of the tour and found our hosts at Biogen Idec to be very gracious and informative. The highlight for me was entering the room with the large bioreactors and climbing to the top level and being able to peer down into the huge tank that was making product.  It was amazing to see the process in action”. Brad was excited to bring his Chemical Engineering Senior Design Project team from NCSU to the tour. “The students have been running design calculations on a fictitious process using both batch and integrated continuous approaches at 15K scale batch and 4K scale for continuous”, said Brad.  “Seeing the 15K bioreactor bay brought home the sheer size of batch processes vs. the 4K perfusion continuous equivalent”.

Back at the Auditorium, cookies and coffee were a welcomed treat for everyone while group photos were taken. Please click “here” for photos from the event. Last but not the least, we thank the Biogen Idec Security department (James Austin and his group) for coordinating the security details and making this event safe for everyone. Approximately 80 people had registered for the tour, and the proceeds from the event were set aside to provide sponsorship for the ACS Project SEED program. This summer research program opens new doors for economically disadvantaged students to experience what it’s like to be a chemist. Students entering their junior or senior year in high school are given a rare chance to work alongside scientist-mentors on research projects in industrial, academic, and federal laboratories, discovering new career paths as they approach critical turning points in their lives.

The next BPD event on Microbial/ Cell Culture Expression will be held on March 13th at the BTEC Center in NCSU. Stay tuned for future events on our website.

Blog topic: 

Add new comment

Refresh Type the characters you see in this picture.
Type the characters you see in the picture; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.  Switch to audio verification.