COVID-19 Recovery in Chemical R&D - METTLER TOLEDO
White Paper

COVID-19 Recovery in Chemical R&D

White Paper

New Business Realities Call for a New Kind of Laboratory

COVID-19 Recovery in Chemical R&D
COVID-19 Recovery in Chemical R&D

New restrictions in laboratories – including social distancing – require scientists to adjust schedules and practices to remain productive with less time physically present at the bench. Many companies are leveraging automated reactors and inline PAT to run information-rich experiments in an unattended manner. 

This white paper, COVID-19 Recovery in Chemical R&D – Journey to the New Normal, discusses the implications of the global pandemic, as well as how scientists who made investments in automation solutions for understanding and controlling processes were able to remain agile and productive during site restrictions and closures.

Excerpt from this White Paper

"Based on research from the Linus Group, many companies have experienced similar outcomes. The graphs below have been adapted to explain the observations of the author. When a lockdown occurs, almost every company experiences an initial loss in productivity due to the disruption. Workers initially stay at home. The experiments that support project work do not happen. Then follows a planning phase where the organization determines how it will adapt its working practices. In the pharmaceutical and chemical industry, it is clear that R&D labs need to be re-configured to maintain productivity while accommodating social distancing requirements. Many employees will split working from home and time in the office/lab. It is clear that the ability to transition quickly to the new normal is very important.

During this time, and the recovery to the new level of productivity, we observe three scenarios based on the company:

Scenario 1. Companies That Do Not Invest

Some companies plan to work their way to their new normal by implementing social distancing and employing shift patterns. Here the efficiency of the entire organization is unfavorably impacted. Scientists will have less access to the lab, reducing the number of experiments and eliminating the ability to monitor and sample the experiments (including the ability to correct for unexpected events or system failures). This leads to longer development times. Team communications and effective collaboration are significantly reduced, further delaying timelines.

Scenario 2. Companies That Invest During the Recovery Process

A large number of companies recognize that immediate action is needed to meet the demands of the new normal. New technology is implemented – helping the company recover post-upset. This approach enables the company to achieve productivity levels higher than before the upset. Modernization of operations increases productivity and effectiveness by providing a data-driven environment and improving the ability to meet targets. This approach also aligns CDMOs with big pharma working practices and data generation, thus improving the chances of landing more work and growing the business.

Scenario 3. Companies That Had Automation Employed Pre-Upset

These companies have well-established automation and lab digitalization strategies to get more from every experiment. Technologies that enable this smart-experiment approach also enable unattended running and sampling of reactions, and automated collection of all relevant data. It is also possible to analyze data and collaborate remotely. In this case, the impact of the shutdown is short and not too damaging. Though these companies experienced the initial shutdown shock like everyone else, they were up and running again very quickly (typically within a week) with normal operations resuming immediately, due to the lab of the future type approach they have implemented."

"Does the need to modernize the R&D lab with a more data-driven approach, combined with the high potential for future unexpected upsets, mean the lab of the future's time has arrived?

The answer is clearly yes.

It is no longer a luxury or a nice-to-have. It is a necessity."