Harvesting the power of computer simulations and models allows us to redefine the concept of a bioreactor, or ‘personalized factory,’ in an advanced therapy setting.
“Putting cells in a more physiological environment that they recognize better will improve the situation. The key is defining that environment. We create a three-dimensional — even four-dimensional, because time is also important — controlled, closed environment that you can monitor and customize, for best results.” Jan Schrooten, CEO, Antleron.
In silico solutions facilitate the development and optimization of bioprocess environments as well as gaining insights into the process itself based on data-driven and mechanistic models. With the support of Ansys solutions integrated into our toolbox alongside additive manufacturing, quality-by-design and process modeling, we can design custom bioreactor environments for cell-based applications.
Managing the complexity of cell-based bioprocesses requires the combination of multiple tools, including digital approaches. These come in handy both at the process development stage, as well as once the process is established.
The ability to combine simulations and mechanistic and data-based models is an asset when developing a process digital twin (DT). A digital twin is commonly described by the Healthcare communities and European authorities as a virtual replica of a physical product or process. It is a real-time computer model that can be used to predict process outcomes, optimize a process design, or monitor and control the production process.
“The combination of in silico methods, including biological modeling, with AI/ML, digital twin and 3D printing is an attractive and promising approach to design efficient microbioreactors for advanced therapies. At Ansys, we are proud to collaborate closely with Antleron for transforming this exciting vision into reality.” Thierry Marchal, Program Director for Healthcare Solutions, Ansys.
Using in silico approaches, such as Ansys Fluent for computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulation, can facilitate optimization of cell growth environments before costly experiments are executed in the lab. These simulations are also much faster than waiting for a biological process to finish. In combination with our rapid prototyping capacity through additive manufacturing, we can screen and compare various designs faster and more cost-efficiently, than when using a more standard approach.
By including computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulations in an iterative loop of design, additive manufacturing and experimentation, we are able to quickly screen and compare various designs. This significantly decreases the time and cost to develop a bioreactor, while its performance is optimized. – Tommy Heck, Digital Twin and Modeling Architect, Antleron.
On the way to fully closed and automated processes, invasive and destructive quality control (QC) methods are no longer going to be an option. To monitor and control these next generation processes, data acquired through inline sensors (e.g. glucose biosensors, oxygen sensors or optical probes) can be used as inputs to an in silico model to predict/determine cell growth and other culture critical quality attributes.
“If you have an internal structure providing a high surface area for the cells to grow on, you may not be able to get a lot of nutrients to the center of this structure — they are consumed by the cells on the outside of the scaffold before they reach the center. But it is almost impossible to gather data on this because you can't put a sensor inside the structure. However, with Fluent we can simulate the concentration inside the structure from knowledge of the concentration outside the structure, which we can measure.” – Evan Claes, ATMP Bioprocess and Data Architect, Antleron.
The availability to link Ansys Fluent with other software solutions and plug-ins allows for the simulation of unit operations beyond simple culture, such as seeding and harvesting of cells. This also contributes to more rapid and efficient process development. Altogether, the Antleron Digital Twin vision is ever closer to becoming a reality to guide bioreactor development and improve process control.
To benefit from the full range of Ansys solutions, as well as interactions with experts, Antleron joined the Ansys Startup programme.
Exploring the software with Ansys experts and getting their feedback about how best to do what we were attempting is the key. The program provided a framework for our companies to learn from each other and develop a strong relationship that benefits both of us. – Jan Schrooten, CEO, Antleron.
In the spirit of co-development, we are always looking for win-win scenarios with our partners to fast-track personalized medicine innovations for the ultimate benefit of patients.