A Phone, a Fax and a Futon – the ARTeSYN Story

ARTeSYN represented at 2017 ISPE Annual Meeting @San Diego
October 23, 2017
Welcoming Cecilia Carelse to the team!
November 27, 2017
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A Phone, a Fax and a Futon – the ARTeSYN Story

Like any person, group or company – ARTeSYN Biosolutions, too, has a story and it’s one worth hearing. So, pause whatever you were doing and bear with me. This one is a story about why ARTeSYN is here, how it came to be and the larger issue in the industry ARTeSYN is working to resolve – access to life-saving medicines.

As you may know, ARTeSYN is a company that designs and manufactures single-use/disposable systems and components for the bio-pharmaceutical industry. These are high-tech products which are leading an industry-wide single-use revolution. A change towards increasing efficiency, lowering costs and ultimately increasing the amount of medicine manufactured, making them more accessible to a larger amount of people.  “ARTeSYN products are freaking awesome,” as our employees put it.

For the short time that there has been a biotech industry, huge leaps have been made in science and technology, meaning t hat manufacturing efficiency has increased by a thousand. Equally, there has been an increase in new drug development as well as in demand. However, this continuous growth requires innovative thinkers, passionate engineers and creative teams to drive it.  That’s who we are at ARTeSYN. Our story, though, starts with a phone, a fax and a futon. Our set-up in the Bay Area back then was exactly that minimalist. ARTeSYN grew out of Aquasyn LLC. Aquasyn, on the other hand, started from the inquisitive mind of Michael Gagne, one of our founders and his sketch of a sample bottle done on that futon in the late 90s. Aquasyn grew and 1 product became 50. “By that point we were getting good at recognizing what the customer needed,” says Michael.  The company prevailed through various challenges and our team’s commitment to maintaining a consistent drive for innovation only strengthened. An idea of developing single-use processing systems had existed for some time, but was finally given the green light about 10 years ago and started shaping into a real product line. With that the beginnings of ARTeSYN were born. Aquasyn provided the necessary platform to launch the revolutionary line of products. As of that moment Aquasyn was also in a way competing with itself – the existing stainless-steel products against the emerging line of single-use components. At the time, it was hard to see the benefits of the single-use approach that would later become a revolution, even to some of our own team. The idea of using disposable components and systems was hard to absorb for an industry that had since its birth been heavily dominated by stainless steel. Naturally, the “corporate immune system” resisted the novel technology. The team at Aquasyn was confident enough in the future of the single-use industry to go back to the roots, start single-use design and manufacturing from scratch and let the product-line speak for itself. Looking at the exponential rate at which single-use technology is spreading through bio-pharmaceutical manufacturing, we are proud to be the change. ARTeSYN has come a long way since its founding in 2009. We have gone from designing and manufacturing coloured single-use bioreactors to producing endless variations of single-use pinch valves, diaphragm replacement valves, XOs and systems as well as supplying them to 25 out of the 25 top bio-pharmaceutical manufacturers.

The transformation taking place in the manufacturing processes of both of these industries is revolutionary and much needed. However, even despite these efforts, according to the WHO the total number of new and ongoing new drug shortages crossed the 450-mark in 2012 in the U.S alone. In 2014, 21% of hospital pharmacists in Europe reported experiencing a shortage of medicines every day, a further 45% every week.[1] Less data is available from low- and middle-income countries, but one can assume it is a global issue. In August 2008, the Secretary-General of United Nations published a report which mentioned that over 2 billion people all over the world do not have sufficient access to essential medicine.[2] That was nearly 10 years ago and before single-use components and systems started becoming an increasingly popular choice both in existing downstream manufacturing and in new single-use commercial-scale manufacturing facilities.[3] There are of course political and legal challenges to enabling access to essential medicine to all. Still, ARTeSYN’s single-use technology is making a difference, helping reduce manufacturing cost and raise efficiency.   This is only the first step on a long road, yet hopefully legal and political obstacles will soon disappear and we can start seeing a significant improvement in the access to essential medicines.

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[1] Global approaches to addressing shortages of essential medicines in health systems. (2017). WHO Drug Information, 30(2).

[2] Ahmadiani, S. and Nikfar, S. (2017). Challenges of access to medicine and the responsibility of pharmaceutical companies: a legal perspective. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4855755/ [Accessed 13 Oct. 2017].

[3] BioPlan Associates, Inc. (2017). A Study of Biotherapeutic Developers and Contract Manufacturing Organizations. 14th Annual Report and Survey of Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Capacity and Production. Rockville, MD: BioPlan Associates, Inc.

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