Podcast | April 24, 2014

Single-Use Trends In The Life Science Industry

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asi single-use technology innovations interphex interview

At Interphex 2014, Todd and Todd interviewed Amber Sherrick, marketing manager with ASI Life Sciences, about the growing interest in single-use and some of the ASI innovations that exist to help the industry meet its single-use needs. Sherrick also discusses the impact that increased collaboration is having on the industry and the promise this holds for the formation of single-use standards. 

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Interview Transcription:

Todd S:            Good morning. This is Todd and Todd live in New York, Life Science Connect Radio on location direct from Interphex Day #3. Todd, we've got an exciting guest up next. I hope today is as exciting as yesterday because that was a great day.

Todd Y:            Is it possible do you think? I've said that before at other shows we've been to and then the second day really did get more interesting and more educational.

Todd S:            I think our next guest is going to prove the point that it's going to get better. Say hello to Amber Sherrick. She's a Marketing Manager with ASI Life Sciences. Amber, welcome to the show.

Amber:            Good morning. Nice to be here, thank you.

Todd S:            It's good to have you. Thanks for joining us. Before we get into our conversation, take a few seconds and tell us a little bit about you and your background.

Amber:            Sure. I've been with ASI for--I've just celebrated my second year anniversary. So, that is my second year in the industry as well, but I have a long background, approximately 10 years, I can't believe it, in marketing as a whole.

Todd S:            Welcome to the 10-year club in marketing. I'm with you on that one. Amber, go 10,000 feet with ASI - Life Sciences and talk to us all about it. What do you do? How do you serve your market?

Amber:            Sure. ASI - Life Sciences is a single-use manufacture. We're known in the industry as a bag manufacture but over the past few years we've gotten into bioprocess equipment as well. So, we make bags anywhere from 50 milliliter all the way up to-we just completed the first 5,000 liter mixing bag.

Todd Y:            Five thousand liters.

Amber:            Five thousand liters. That's a lot of fluid.

Todd Y:            That's a big bag.

Todd S:            More than an IV that I'd like to be hooked up to.

Amber:            The bioprocess equipment has helped us help our customers in their processes. We try to bring technologies that aren't on the market today. We'll rethink about them a little bit differently.

Todd S:            Get a little bit more specific in the issues that you're helping your customers to address.

Amber:            Sure. We have a background, ASI has a background, as a contract manufacturer. In fact, in our health care division today we fill our contract manufacture. So, that allows us to be more nimble than perhaps others in the market. What that means is that it helps us integrate single-use easier for our customers.

                        We can listen. We can customize their single-use system, whether it be tubing, whether it be components, whether it would just be to think about it in a different way for their process and that helps them integrate it ultimately. Because of our background as the infrastructure of ASI, it's not a custom price tag. It's just what we do.

Todd S:            I understand you have a single-use heat exchanger you're showcasing here at the show. Talk to us about that. Talk to us about some of the features.

Amber:            A single-use heat exchanger obviously brings the inherent benefits of single use, which are cleaning requirements are virtually eliminated. It's also a very modular system.

                        It's about two feet wide and maybe a foot deep so you can integrate it easily into your process. You have a completely isolated flow path for your heating/cooling fluid and your process fluid. That ensures that everything is completely safe and clean and bioburden free.

Todd S:            What kind of feedback are you getting from the users of that heat exchanger? What are they saying?

Amber:            They seem to like it. They like the fact that they can pretty much plug it in anywhere in the process. The way it's designed is the concept of the Clayton frame design. A lot of people are already familiar with that and how to integrate it through the process with the temperature control unit. So, it's familiar, yet it adds another layer of safety.

Todd Y:            Todd, you know I feel bad. I feel like we were not prepared for how important single-use was at this show. I mean it's crept its way into virtually every conversation we've had.

                        Amber, you guys even say it, your booth is facilitating single-use integration and you've already touched on that. I almost feel like in a year or two it's going to be the standard. Is that a fair assessment?

Amber:            It's fair that it could be down the road a year or two. It's aggressive, although of course, I'd like to see it as a single-use manufacture but it's finding its way more into the downstream market. It's becoming more predominant.

Todd S:            You've got several, I'll say, mixers in your booth as well. Tell us about those.

Amber:            The mixing platform that ASI - Life Sciences uses is a little bit different. We have a sagional design. So, the vessel has six sides to it but so does the disk so that gives you a kind of turbulent mixing pattern in that alone.

                        Beyond that, the disk has a grate. Kind of think of a drain in the streets that you see, those grates. It's very similar to that. When it's moving, it pulls the fluid through. It does not abrade the surfaces and then it essentially mixes throughout the bag.

                        That is the core design. Then what we've done is we've grown that concept into a modular docking station. We have a small 30-liter unit. We have introduced at this show a shipping container, which our team lovingly calls it "the keg" because that's pretty much what it looks like. It looks like a beer keg. It's our shipping container that you can just put right back on the chart and mix it when it gets to your location.

Todd S:            I want to be sure the audience is real clear. Walk through some of the other applications of some of these mixers.

Amber:            The application can be anywhere upstream or downstream to the mixer solution. To maintain your solution, it can be mild or aggressive agitation and it mixes down to empty.

Todd S:            You mentioned single-use, how that’s popping up more and more. I think, Amber, you've used the term "modular" at least three times in our conversation now. So, it's really two pieces of it. In that frame, what next? What else should be expected over the next year or two?

Amber:            We do have a couple of other developments underway. Again, modular is a theme. I know I've brought it up but I've heard it as a pulse at this show as well.

                        Some of the things that we're working on we will just continue to increase the modularity that we provide to our customers and for them to be able to build a platform or have a platform that they can use in multiple areas. That's our goal to make things quicker for the process and more efficient and, of course, clean.

Todd S:            What are some other observations that you're getting here at Interphex as you walk around? You're exhibiting here obviously and we talked about some of the things you're showcasing. What are some other [6:43] of not only a sign but of Amber Sherrick? What are you learning here? What is going to be your key takeaways?

Amber:            The show has been fantastic for us this year. People have come prepared with questions. We've had a great group of people that just know what they need for their processes. My goal is for us to continue to cultivate that. I would say that the other pulses that I've picked up on the floor is that everybody wants to work together.

                        There's more collaboration than I've seen recently that everybody wants. As we all know it's a hot topic that there aren't complete standards for single-use yet but everybody wants to work together to try to help solve that problem.

Todd S:            I want to stress that collaboration thing a little bit more because another term that we're hearing a lot is "global." It's not only collaboration among different people inside one factory, it's all across the supply chain on a global scale. What's your perspective on all that?

Amber:            I would say that because our customers have multiple locations across the globe and all the manufactures have distribution and sales networks throughout the globe, I would say it's just an expanded way of collaborating here. So, trying to help reproduce processes that are done in the U.S., that are done overseas and just keep doing them consistently and the same.

Todd Y:            Todd, you both make the key point there. I'm always heartened to see the collaboration in the industry. Are there a lot of competitors on this floor with similar products but there is a feeling of rising tide [8:25].

Todd S:            Coopertition, who used that?

Amber:            I like that.

Todd S:            Someone we talked to yesterday used that term and it's really a smart way to do business I think.

Todd Y:            I think it is too.

Todd S:            Amber, I hate to say it but we're about out of time. Before we let you go, how can people get in touch with you and learn more about ASI Life Sciences?

Amber:            They can go to our website, www.asisus.com or they can call me or email me at asherrick@asisus.com.

Todd S:            Amber Sherrick, Marketing Manager with ASI Life Sciences. Amber it was great to have you. Thanks for stopping by and joining us.

Amber:            Thank you both so much.

Todd S:            Well, that wraps this broadcast. On behalf of our guest, Amber Sherrick, my cohost, Todd Youngblood, I'm Todd Schnick, Life Science Connect Radio's live coverage from Interphex. We'll be right back.