Returning to Conferences: BioProcess International Europe
Last week, Synthace attended the 2020 BioProcess International Europe. This conference, originally planned to be held in Amsterdam, Netherlands, was delivered as a virtual event. We were excited to get back to meeting fellow members of the scientific community (even if just virtually) and discussing how together we can revolutionise the way biology is performed.
From Physical to Digital: An Online-Only Strategy
Prior to the COVID-19 disruption, Synthace, like many other biotech and pharmaceutical companies, had been actively attending conferences across the globe. Starting in February, shortly after returning from SLAS 2020 in San Diego, USA, we had to completely re-evaluate how the company was going to adapt to doing business in a totally online ecosystem.
While initially it was challenging to adapt to a fully remote marketing strategy, the situation guided us to be more proactive with our own online presence, such as upgrading our website (soon to come) and hosting online events.
To expand, Synthace has successfully hosted several customer testimonial-based webinars, a series of expert-led “Synthace Online Demos” that give deeper dives into the interface of our software platform, a Virtual Bytes & Biology event, and more. Our next event is a panel discussion around optimising and transforming lab productivity after the COVID-19 disruption (watch on demand).
Despite the success we have had with our own events, we were keen to return to industry-wide events to learn how other companies have been adapting. BioProcess International Europe was the first major online conference that we have taken part in since February.
Experiencing the Virtual Booth
When most people think of conferences and trade shows, they think of long days standing by the booth and keeping one’s attention ready for a new conversation. In short, online conferences have a much different feel to them, given the remote nature.
BPI Europe was organised such that companies had their own virtual booths where they could operate from. Registrants were given the opportunity to customise their booths with a variety of content for easy distribution. Synthace attendees were able to peruse the various booths, occupy our own booth to interact with visitors, and attend scheduled talks/presentations, thanks to the collaborative effort of our Sales and Marketing teams.
While the face to face encounters were missed, our team was fortunate enough to present our own talk, titled “The Automated Lab and a Fully Integrated Digital Strategy”. It centred upon Synthace, which facilitates the easy and flexible adoption of automation in the lab while also enabling data integration from multiple devices, ranging from liquid handlers to bioreactors to plate readers, and more. Both of these have been major challenges for biologists up to now.
In our talk, our Principal Bioprocess Engineer, James Rutley, EngD, and Biologics Director, Adam Paton, expanded on how Synthace is addressing the currently entangled world that is data processing. They noted that the Synthace platform, in its simplest form, is collating data from across the R&D workflows, uploading it from the devices in use, and converting it into a common format. It should be noted that this entire process, barring the physical execution of the workflow of course, is taking place in the cloud.
Upon execution of the workflow on selected automation equipment, Synthace uses those very workflows to instruct on the different processing steps and subsequent structuring of the data. The Synthace platform then creates a visual representation of the data, allowing researchers to carry out a dynamic analysis based on multiple sources. To learn more, check out the recording of the talk.
The work which this talk was based on was done in collaboration with Oxford Biomedica, Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, and WattBE Innovations, and is presented in our joint Bioprocessing 4.0 report.
Overall, BPI Europe delivered some new and exciting content from the bioprocessing community with hundreds of talks, Q&A and networking sessions taking place during the five-day virtual event. Much was discussed about working in a more virtual environment as a result of the pandemic and how industry 4.0 can have a positive impact on implementing change to help navigate this new working environment.
Seeing companies embracing an automated and digital laboratory process was inspiring, and Joseph Newton from Boehringer Ingelheim demonstrated this in his talk “Modelling Approaches with a Fully-Automated Microbial Fermentation Platform”.
What’s Next? Let’s Connect!
Next up for the Synthace team will be the BioProcess International Boston, Oxford Global PharmaTec Series, and Oxford Global Cell Series conferences in autumn 2020. If you are participating, be sure to visit our booths – we would love to meet you! In the meantime, we will continue to host our own online events, and we hope you can join us.
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