New European Facility Q&A with Erik Vaessen, PhD, Executive Director, Life Sciences, FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific
This fall, FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific will open our third manufacturing location—a state-of-the-art facility in Tilburg, Netherlands that features the same raw materials, equipment, and best-in-class Quality System used by our locations in California and Japan. To help our customers learn more about the new facility and what it means for cell culture media supply, FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific sat down with Erik Vaessen, PhD, Executive Director, Life Sciences to discuss key strengths and advantages that this third manufacturing facility will deliver to customers.
Q: What compelled FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific to open a European manufacturing site?
A: Our customers are located across the globe, and require timely access to FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific cell culture media products to manufacture medicines, vaccines, and therapies. We saw a need to make media—a critical raw material for bioproduction and cell and gene therapy markets—easier to access and more cost-effective. With the new manufacturing facility in Tilburg, our European customers will have the media they need locally, thereby saving time and shipping costs. The facility will also increase our manufacturing capacity to meet the growing needs of bioproduction and cell therapy manufacturers across the globe.
Q: How does a European manufacturing presence make a difference for customers?
A: Currently, when a European bioproduction or cell therapy manufacturer needs FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific products, they receive them from our headquarters in California or our second facility in Japan. With our third manufacturing facility in Tilburg, Netherlands, we will fortify the supply chain and ensure uninterrupted supply by bringing products and services, including the capacity to produce large-volume liquids, to a local level. As a key European hub, the facility will also eliminate overseas shipping which can positively affect customers’ business savings, while also enabling us to locally support customers who require greater control with direct access to our local manufacturing and Quality team.
Q: Why should biotech and biopharma companies consider having their cell culture media made at the European facility?
A: We will deliver a shorter supply chain timeline because of our location in central Europe, and utilize the same equipment, raw materials, and Quality System as our other manufacturing sites. In turn, this will ensure consistent quality, reduce our European customers’ logistics costs, and help lower their overall costs in the manufacture of drugs and therapies.
As a local source of supply in the heart of Europe, air shipments will be eliminated and CO2 emissions reduced. This upholds our commitment to sustainability, while also making it easier for customers to obtain our products.
Many of our customers in Europe require uninterrupted access to the FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific products they need for the production of life-saving drugs. Becoming a local source of supply offers redundancy in the supply chain that helps to ensure continuity, as well as enables us to provide customers with faster response times and increased flexibility for a wide variety of production timelines and product needs.
FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific delivers unparalleled customer service and support that stands out in our industry. We work side-by-side with our customers in the advancement of accessible, cost-effective manufacturing solutions and will provide a trusted advisor locally within our European location to further give customers the time and attention they need.
Q: What "green" initiatives will be undertaken with the new facility?
A: The new FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific facility will augment the sustainability initiatives of our parent company, Fujifilm. As a Climate A-List company recognized by the Carbon Disclosure Project, Fujifilm prioritizes specific strategies of the Fujifilm Sustainability Value Plan 2030 for sustainable growth. This plan addresses key issues such as climate change, energy, and the promotion of recycling resources. The facility in Tilburg is working towards CO2-neutral status and incorporates sustainability values from the plan, including reducing the amount of water used during manufacturing, and developing and utilizing sustainable technologies and products. An example of this is the development and use of biomembranes for wastewater purification and the use of wind energy for production. Local manufacturing, shipping, and storage also reduce emissions and energy usage within the entire supply chain.
Q: Will products manufactured in Europe be of the same standards as those made in California and Japan?
A: Yes. Our global manufacturing and operations use the same raw materials, equipment, and certified Quality System whether a product is manufactured in the US, Japan, or Europe. The FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific raw materials program assures lot-to-lot consistency of finished goods, and is built on the idea that the management of raw materials and processes such as equipment validation and adherence to SOPs, as well as environmental monitoring of facilities, is the foundation for the high-quality products we produce. Our regulatory team also works closely with governing bodies in Europe and around the world to both understand and help develop guidelines for medicines, therapies, and vaccines.
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