In a previous blog, it was explained how simulation helps microorganisms grow well inside a bioreactor. It is of utmost important that microorganisms are healthy in order to get a high-quality therapeutic products that can make human beings healthy. While simulations can help with ensuring this, there a gap in what simulation can do and what is being actually done on field. It means that the potential of simulation can be further realized for biopharmaceutical industry. Where is the gap and how can we bridge it?
I see two areas: (1) Ease of use of simulation software (2) Speed of simulations. Fortunately, a lot of work has been done in past few years on these two areas.
Ease of use
Usage of simulation in bioreactor design is moving beyond experienced CFD users. Bioreactor design engineers and biologists are beginning to use the technology. For this, a prior knowledge of CFD simulation should not act as barrier for deploying this wonderful technology. With ANSYS Customization Toolkit (ACT), the bioreactor CFD simulation methodologies are being automated. As of now, single-phase flow, blend time and shear rate exposure analysis study has been completely automated. In near future, this automated template will have solid dissolution and mass transfer coefficient (kL-a). Automated and easy-to-use workflow will eliminate the obstacle for non-CFD engineers and biologists to adopt this technology.
Speed of bioreactor simulations
To analyze a “design space” for new bioreactors, a pharmaceutical design engineer needs to study anywhere from 40 to 100 design conditions. Performing experiments for such large numbers of conditions at different scales is a tedious task and sometimes impossible due to time and resource constrains. For simulation to offer itself as an attractive alternative, it must be quick. With better simulation algorithms, parallel scalability and ease of use with a mixing template, such simulations can now be done at much faster pace than a few years back. My colleague, Sravankumar and others have recently presented a study at AIChE that validates kL-a and hold-up for more than 20 design conditions. This entire set of studies can be completed within a week by carrying out multiple parallel simulation simultaneously. That’s certainly attractive enough the bridge the gap!!
To learn more about the latest stage of development of mixing templates, future plans and to learn advances in bioreactor simulation modeling, view our webinar Using Simulation for Biotech and Pharmaceutical Mixing Tank Scale-Up: No Need of CAE Experts Anymore.