Implementing Disposables Technology, Delivering Innovation, and Transforming an Organization

Sanofi Pasteur's disposables implementation plan is part of a larger evaluation of technology innovation. Here's how they approach it.
Dec 01, 2010
Volume 23, Issue 12

Andrew Sinclair
When organizations move from reusable manufacturing to single-use technologies, What are the issues the organization faces? And in the case of large multinational companies, How do you assess and deliver innovative technologies that add real value to the development and manufacturing groups? In this article, we focus on one organization's structured approach to this challenge.

Miriam Monge
Sanofi Pasteur is a complex organization with manufacturing and R&D sites across the world. One key technology that they are actively evaluating as a part of their innovation program is single-use technologies. We spoke to Jean-Marc Guillaume, the head of Bioprocessing Research and Development (upstream) who leads the disposables technology domain within the Sanofi Pasteur "Knowledge & Innovation for Technology Excellence" (KITE) program.

We also asked Jean-Marc to provide an example of how the KITE initiative has helped Sanofi Pasteur evaluate and implement a specific technology. His case study, prepared in collaboration with colleagues at Sanofi, follows the interview.


Q: You head up a disposables group that is part of the Sanofi Pasteur KITE program. What this program is about?

The KITE initiative started in 2008, and spans Sanofi Pasteur's global R&D and industrial operations groups. Its goal is to ensure the availability of innovative enabling technologies to sustain the evolution of our industrial activities and product development. The mission is to stimulate the development of innovative enabling technologies from discovery to production, to develop a robust methodology to prioritize and manage those technologies across a portfolio of opportunity, and to be an intelligence forum for new technologies. This means that our groups scan, investigate, evaluate, and recommend innovative enabling technologies and ensure their implementation.

Q: How is the program organized?

The program is sponsored by top management, who define the budget and resources assigned to the program based on group recommendations, cross-domain coherence, and alignment with company strategy. For all domains, common governance and process rules have been established. Domains of expertise or key programs to foster have been selected company wide. Disposable systems is one of the domains.

For each domain, management identifies a group of people from various functions to represent the whole company's scope of activities. The people involved are to spend 20% of their time on the program, and have specific personal objectives linked to the program. Each group has a sponsor, with the overall KITE project sponsorship being shared between the group heads of research and industrialization.

Q: In your role leading the disposable systems technology domain, what results have you seen so far?

We are already seeing the benefits of this program. It leads not only to improvements, but in some cases the outcomes of our analysis lead us to completely change the way we work to ensure that we are taking full advantage of technological advances when it makes sense to do so. A further outcome is that we are stimulating an innovative spirit and developing innovation synergies between the R&D and industrial operations groups.

Q: At what stage of your process development do you start evaluating when and where to implement disposables?

The answer here is that it really depends. Innovative technologies such as disposables can be implemented as much in early development processes as in commercial manufacturing; the difference is in the amount of effort required, notably in terms of qualification and validation. Considerable savings are achieved by doing a scan of technologies across the company and taking advantage of the KITE forum to see if common standards and solutions can be established.

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