Biological drugs, bioprocess-, technical- and digital innovations comprise an important and growing industry. Testa Center, located in Sweden, is an open access facility available to all companies – regardless of size – for testing new technologies and innovations at scale. This means new opportunities, even for a global company like Cytiva, which has just completed a large and advanced project at Testa Center.
Testa Center is located in the heart of Cytiva’s research facility in Uppsala, Sweden. At Testa Center, small and big companies can develop and verify their large-scale production methods for biological drugs, bio-processes and innovations. In total, four bio-processing labs are available, equipped with the latest technology and modern equipment – ready to use. This capability is valuable for small companies that can’t afford this kind of lab and equipment, as well as larger industrial companies like Cytiva.
“We were able to test our products in a realistic environment very similar to that of our customers”Christel Fenge, VP R&D at Cytiva.
”We were able to test our products in a realistic environment very similar to that of our customers. We ran an entire process from start to finish and were given the opportunity to test everything in large scale. Moreover, we could run a connected process where certain steps, e.g. upstream was run in continuous mode, which is a general trend for modern production processes being developed today. Having access to Testa Center’s laboratory to test new products has given us the opportunity to be even closer to our customers,” says Christel Fenge, VP Research and Development at Cytiva.
The realistic environment, almost identical to the customer’s own setting, is one important aspect. Another is being able to run the whole process in large scale, also very similar to the customer’s process. In the past, Cytiva has been limited by access to premises and equipment at the right scale at the right time. This is because Cytiva primarily focuses on product development – as opposed to the manufacture of biological products – and hence the R&D premises are not adapted to drug production. Testing products in an entire customer process flow has therefore been a challenge and Testa Center has helped a lot to address this.
Another benefit of working at Testa Center is that Cytiva has been able to test products that have not yet been launched. Tests and outcomes are now being analyzed, recorded, and will be used in video-logs to showcase products and explains the best way to utilize Cytiva’s products for customers.
”It will be exciting to be able to share our data with customers and at conferences. We will also publish articles on the work,” says Christel Fenge.
Other parts of the world, including the West Coast of the US, have shown an interest in facilities similar to the Testa Center in Sweden. There is a need for a facility that offers opportunities to test products and processes at scale and in a real production environment – a facility that welcomes companies of all sizes.
Cytiva is now gearing up for more test runs at Testa Center and next time around will implement an even more automated process. Åsa Lagerlöf, the project manager at Cytiva for the “Connected” initiative, says that the time spent at Testa has been very valuable not only with regards to the data generated that can be used with customers, but also the team, which has developed a good team spirit.
”We have really worked together as a team throughout the process, upstream and downstream. It has been extremely fun and rewarding,” says Åsa Lagerlöf, who looks forward to returning to Testa soon.
”They have really used the premises and equipment in an effective way. They knew exactly what they wanted to achieve and were very well prepared. They are a very professional and a fun team to work with and it has been a fruitful collaboration”, says Jesper Hedberg, Director Testa Center.