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Customer Story

Biogen Alzheimer's treatment becomes affordable with the PI System

  • Benefits
    New reports simplify the quality assurance process and reduce number of delays in product delivery.
  • Challenge
    Batch reports delivered large amounts of irrelevant data, requiring lengthy manual review and slowing down product release process.
  • Solution
    A digital twin of oil field assets to run advanced algorithms and production simulations.
Biogen is a leading developer of drug therapies for neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. Headquartered in Cambridge, MA, for nearly 40 years, the Biogen team has worked to combat the effects of diseases such as MS, Alzheimer’s and spinal muscular atrophy. Biogen is in the process of rolling out its Aducanumab drug, which is designed to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Phase 1b results noted that the drug significantly slowed the decline in Alzheimer’s patients, giving hope to the over 25 million people around the world who suffer from the disease.
A next generation manufacturing process

While Biogen has made significant progress in the fight against Alzheimer’s, it’s goal is to treat one million more patients by 2020. To do so, the drug needed to become more affordable, and affordability starts with production. With a long-term goal of reducing its biologics manufacturing process by 80 percent and cutting costs from $10,000 per gram to $100-150 per gram, the team created a Next Generation Manufacturing plan for its Solothurn, Switzerland facility. Comprised of two cells and four bioreactors, the modular facility is designed to expand to manage additional Aducanumab production. However, the current process needed to be honed, and with the help of the PI System, it became possible. 

To drastically increase output and reduce costs, Biogen needed to minimize screening time for raw materials while still maintaining quality, implement process and quality controls, as well as predictive models for consistency assessment. “When we look at our current processes… although we’ve worked really hard to optimize them, we still have some challenges, right?” said Tim Alosi, head of the Global Data Analytics team, during the 2017 OSIsoft User’s Conference in London. “…with next gen manufacturing, our goals bring together some of these initiatives and enable them with strong, integrated IT systems.”

Our goal here with the OSIsoft PI System is really to turn it into the central point of information driving some of our really key, data-rich applications and work processes.
Tim Alosi
Head of Global Data Analytics Team

The Biogen execution system integrated solution

Biogen had a goal of cutting testing time in half through advanced process control. By moving its testing process onto the plant floor and in real-time and, for any tests that could not be done at the line, reduce the testing time, the team produce quality Aducanumab faster than ever before. “How can we bring these sorts of technologies right down to the shop floor so that decisions can be made in real-time to affect the process, right?” said Alosi. “So, if you have to wait two-to-three days for a lab result, then it’s real hard to have a positive impact on a purification process when, three days later, you’re two steps beyond where you were.” With the need for adjustable processes to meet these new testing goals, Biogen deployed its BES Integrated Solution. Comprised of 58 different interfaces, including the PI System, the technology ecosystem is designed to provide the real-time visibility and context needed to implement advanced process controls and predictive modeling.

Real-time review by exception

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