Preparation has started for the 2022 edition of the Testa Challenge – The challenge where you test and verify technical and digital innovations in real-world biomanufacturing.
Introducing new technology in biopharma and biomanufacturing is very challenging as quality assurance and regulation keeps high barriers up. You may utilize the Testa Challenge to understand these barriers, to test and verify your technology in a bioprocess batch controlled by experienced staff, and prove that your sensor, app, digital ecosystem, or whatever technology you might have, is up for the task in the real world.
It was now day five – the last day of the Testa Challenge 2020. Not even such an intense week could bring down the energy levels of the Testa Challenge participants. Ambition, passion and drive are something these participants brought in abundance. So much that when the time came, no one really wanted to leave!
Presentation of analysis
First up on day five was the presentation of analysis of the downstream processes samples. Ann Eckersten had been analyzing samples using the xP Workstation from Gyro Protein Technologies. Now she and her collogue Ian Sheldrake dedicated the day to help participants better understand the system, the results, as well as run some of the collected samples.
With only a few hours left in the labs it became hectic as some of the companies began packing away their instrumentation. Some where in the middle of processing their results. Others were still running their system working in tandem with the AKTA Pilot 600. The Pilot 600 is a true workhorse when it comes to protein purification that you like to run as much as possible. All this while also continuing to network, speaking to R&D scientists to learn more how they could improve their innovation. As David Levy, Product Manager at Scitara highlighted ”Learning from the industry”.
The challenge continues…
It was now close to 4 PM as we gathered all participants for the wrap-up meeting. The week had been very intense and the open attitude among the participants had sparked a lot of new connections and new collaborations. Perhaps one thought Friday was the day when we were closing the project and start reflecting on the results. Instead Friday was just the beginning on a new journey.
With a pitch session upcoming the following week for the companies to present their innovation to a panel of investors, chief technical officers and innovation leaders, their reserve energy tanks are put to the test.
Testa Challenge; to verify innovation, accelerate industrialization and secure excellence
Given these trends, can you please describe your product-market-fit? -A question that all participants, in one way or another, had to answer to during the Testa Challenge.
Deep-dive into innovation in biopharma trends and strategies
Day four was in addition to day one, two and three, an intensive day. As a further aim for the Testa Challenge week, we had invited several guest speakers (due to the pandemic only virtually) to talk about various topics ranging from “Bioprocessing market trends: Addressing the challenges in the analytical and regulatory interface for novel biologics” to “The industrial perspective on innovation and startups” in order to is to really connect startups with industry.
After each of the the presentations we opened the floor for questions. The discussions that arose during these meetings quickly became a unique opportunity to ask those key questions to help the startups put themselves ahead of competition, as well as better understand their value within the current and future market.
Meeting industry and experts
Mixing industry and startups is a key element in the Testa Challenge. Meetings and discussions have been carefully set up between the participating companies, and industry representatives. The Testa Center functioned as an open arena for investigating the innovations of the startups with clear preconditions regarding their intellectual property rights, without the risk for loss of confidential information.
As the Testa Center is based on the Cytiva company grounds, we were able to further strengthen the interactions between the participating companies and industrial experts. Leveraging the ideal location of the Testa Center, the six startups were able to have individual “focus meetings” with principle scientists and possible future users of their products.
Listening and learning from previous expert experiences meant that participants could re-evaluate their product if needed in order to not avoid “reinventing the wheel” or perhaps certain pitfalls. Additionally, it provided a platform to future-proof their products by understanding what the current and future demands in the industry are. In some cases, the discussions lead to a collaborative approach to solve common obstacles both parties were facing from different angles.
Meeting potential future users
When meeting potential future users lighting started to strike. Learning from senior application specialists what are prioritized product features was said to be something very valuable for many of the participants.
“The discussions we had, and contacts we made today might be as valuable, or even more valuable, as the lab experiment.” Was one of the final remarks from Erik Martinsson, CEO of ArgusEye, as we closed the doors for the night.
Together we accelerate industrialization
The day really symbolized what we do in the Testa Center. The method of mixing industrial expertise, senior application specialist with entrepreneurs and academic spinouts is one of our core concepts which we also wanted to incorporate into the Testa Challenge. With less than a week into the Challenge we already see a magnitude of great outcomes where companies were able to accelerate their projects during the intense few days working with the Testa Center.