Successful Project Management for Implementing Single-Use Bioprocessing Systems - - BioPharm International


Successful Project Management for Implementing Single-Use Bioprocessing Systems

BioPharm International

Economic analysis

In a disposables implementation project, an in-depth understanding of the investment requirements, return on investment, and associated manufacturing costs is required. Implementation strategies must be compared to determine the maximum capacity required for the short term, and future expansion strategies; and to make cost comparisons of rival technologies.

Indirect expenditures related to operator training, validation, and utilities are usually much greater than direct equipment costs and are considerably more difficult to measure. Industry guidelines are clearly needed as many companies are uncertain about how to carry out an economic analysis of manufacturing options and comparative technology evaluation.


In BioPlan Associates' 2006 annual survey of biopharmaceutical manufacturing, the number one reason given for restricting the use of single-use or disposable systems was concern about leachables and extractables, with 63% of respondents expressing concern in this area (down from 68.9% in 2005).4

Industry end-users considering implementing a disposables manufacturing approach will evaluate various supplier validation packages. These packages usually contain physical, chemical, and functional test results for film, filter, tubing, and connector qualification. They also may contain extractables and leachables testing results. The packages are currently based on a variety of industry standards, which makes comparative evaluations of validation packages more difficult. In addition, some suppliers have more complete packages than others, so individual assessment is required. Each package should be reviewed and a risk analysis developed with respect to product-specific studies.

Other process-specific studies that need to be carried out include:

  • Integrity studies
  • Aseptic simulations (media fill)
  • Cleaning agent compatibility for outer surface wipedown
  • Process exposure compatibility tests.

So how can end-users work their way through the variety of guidelines and standards to make an evaluation? At present, many companies set up their own process or product specific tests, as we saw in the case of Amgen.

Bavarian Nordic based their analysis primarily on audits of suppliers (including film manufacturers), combined with supplier validation packages and knowledge from previous use in process development and optimization. This was all combined in a risk evaluation, which was the basis for prioritizing items for process-specific testing.

A sign of industry maturity and the drive for disposables implementation is that committees such as the Bio-Process Systems Alliance are being set up with the aim of evaluating the guidelines already in use and making recommendations for harmonizing the validation approaches proposed by disposable manufacturers.5

Supplier evaluation

The second most common reason industry members cite for restricting use of single-use or disposable system components was to avoid dependence on vendors—i.e., single-source issues. In the 2006 BioPlan survey, 54.5% of respondents expressed this concern, up from 34.2% in the previous year. It is not surprising, therefore, that single-use system manufacturers are being asked to supply far more detail around supply security. Further definitions in this area will no doubt be part of the guidelines set up by industry standards committees.

Take home messages

Single-use systems have a key role to play in the drive for operational excellence in biotech manufacturing. This article has set out to analyze the current status and to determine the key areas that require set up of guidelines and standards to facilitate successful project management of single-use system implementation.


The author wishes to thank Adam Goldstein of Amgen, Karine Wassard of Bavarian Nordic, and Andrew Sinclair of Biopharm Services.

Miriam Monge is a marketing director at Stedim Biosystems, Z.I. des Paluds, Ave. de Jouques, BP 1051, 13781 Aubagne Cedex, France, +33 (0)4 42 84 56 11, fax + 33 (0)4 42 84 68 70,


1. Biopharm Services, Lancer House East Street, Chesham HP5 1DG, UK: e-mail:

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