Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"Think Beyond a Single Batch" says Nick Timmins' of CCRM

By: Leah Kinthaert

On October 26, Nick Timmins, Director of Product and Process Development at CCRM returns as a speaker at the BioProcess International conference in Boston. For a preview, here's a brief recap of the highlights from his half hour discussion at the recent Cell Therapy Bioprocessing & Commercialization event held just a few weeks ago in Alexandria, Virginia. The title of Timmins' lecture was: "Solutions to Process and Technology Bottlenecks."

Process Bottlenecks and Technology Gaps – Timmins started his talk off with the pronouncement that he should call his lecture "Process Bottlenecks and Technology Gaps".  He explained: "We tend to throw the term bottleneck out there without really using it in the right context, at least not the context that is formally taught, an engineering-type context." If you have a technology gap "you need to create a new solution. If you have a bottleneck you can always add more capacity, up to certain limits."

Bottlenecks can cause an accumulation of inventory – The beginning of Timmins' talk focused on defining bottlenecks in cell therapy. He describes one of the major pitfalls of a bottleneck: "If you spend a whole lot of effort running at maximum capacity, you're going to get an accumulation of inventory. Inventory costs money. In our case (cell therapy) inventory is often labile. Cells sitting in a hold doing bad things to your cells."

Think beyond a single batch –  Timmins cautioned his audience "to think beyond a single batch" because "as we move beyond commercialization and industrialization, plant and equipment utilization becomes very important" and a "major component of costs."

About Nick Timmins – Nick received his PhD in Chemical Engineering from The University of Queensland, Australia, specializing in novel methods and applications for 3D multicellular spheroids. Nick is the Director of Product and Process development at CCRM. Nick’s previous work experience includes Team Leader, Cell Therapy for the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) at The University of Queensland. In this role Nick was responsible for the bioprocess development for clinical scale manufacture of blood products from haematopoietic stem cells and process scale-up and automation of mesenchymal stem cell manufacture. Prior to this, Nick completed his Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Tissue Engineering Laboratory, ICFS at the University Hospital Basel in Switzerland where he designed and developed a bioreactor for 3D cell culture and tissue engineering, a joint industry/university project.

Timmins will be speaking at the PreConference Symposia on Cell Therapy Bioprocessing on Monday, October 26. More information can be found here.

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