“Bioprocessing for Engineers” at Pfizer’s Grange Castle biotechnology facility
Engineering as a discipline will always be crucial to the successful manufacture of biopharmaceutical products. With constantly evolving pipelines and production scenarios engineers will continue to play a key role within our manufacturing sites. With the emergence of newer more flexible unit operations, innovative production methodologies and the developing interest in the manufacture of more complex and personalised protein products, there is a focus from engineers to upskill accordingly or perhaps transition to a different role within their company.
It is becoming more apparent that engineers who perhaps traditionally remained in the background focusing on utilities and equipment support, are now playing a more important role to support front line manufacturing operations and as a result training programmes, that help to increase their fundamental bioprocessing knowledge are deemed to be highly beneficial.
In 2013 Pfizer Grange Castle first contacted NIBRT to collaborate on the development of a customised training program for their Engineering group. The pilot program was designed to deliver training on the overall process of biopharmaceutical production and the key operations involved including upstream processing, downstream processing and concepts in bioprocess engineering.
Additional sessions were included focusing on current and emerging trends within bioprocessing. Based on the success and positive feedback from attendees the course has been further developed and refined and to date five iterations of the course have been held, with the latest iteration started in October 2020. Over 100 employees have successfully completed the programme drawn primarily from the Engineering discipline, although the course has also been attended by employees from other disciplines such as process sciences and quality assurance.
The current program is delivered on site in the Grange Castle facility and involves ten half day sessions covering all aspects of biologics manufacturing that are delivered by subject matter experts from NIBRT and also guest presenters drawn from industry and academia respectively.
Trainees are then given the opportunity to build on the theoretical knowledge gained with subsequent hands-on practical training in the NIBRT production training facility. The course is finally completed by a written examination based on the content covered.