Medicine tailored for the patientThere is barely any other disease as particular as cancer. That is what also makes it so hard to treat. A emerging biotech company believes it is close to a solution – with an approach that considers the genetic profile of each and every patient as well as their condition. The vision of personalised tumor vaccines, however, is blurred by an extremely complex research and production process. Our software helps to bring this vision a little closer to reality.
The future of tumor treatment could emerge from BioNTech AG's Mainz-based research centre. Company founder Prof. Ugur Sahin and his colleagues are hoping that the fruits of their labour will fulfill a long-cherished dream: a treatment that essentially offers each and every patient realistic chances of recovery.
One of the reasons why such a personalized treatment has not yet successfully been developed lies in the singular nature of cancer diseases. Tumors are created by random gene mutations and not one patient has the same clinical picture. BioNTech's vision is to tailor tumor medicine specifically for these unique clinical pictures. In other words: to apply genetic analysis techniques to identify mutations and to produce a proprietary medication that ultimately mobilises the patient's immune system against the mutant cells.
The fastest way from the lab to practical applications
Until recently, such a procedure would have been destined to fail due to the immense effort required in practise. Only modern digitalization and automation technology allows personalised medicine to be produced in adequate quantities for clinical studies and hence meet the preconditions for a possible market introduction.
At BioNTech, our software plays a key role: the company uses Opcenter Ex PHA (formerly SIMATIC eBR) to efficiently document every step. This speeds up considerably activities in the lab and guarantees compliance with the strictest statutory provisions. In production BioNTech uses an intelligent planning tool Opcenter APS (formerly SIMATIC IT Preactor) to coordinate all the steps. It allows hundreds of different medicines to be produced in parallel in the shortest possible time.
This effectively reaches several important milestones along the road to market approval for personalised medicine. The next step is to confirm the efficacy of such vaccines with larger numbers of probands.