This paper presents the application of a decision-support tool, SimBiopharma, for assessing different manufacturing strategies under uncertainty for the production of biopharmaceuticals. SimBiopharma captures both the technical and business aspects of biopharmaceutical manufacture within a single tool that permits manufacturing alternatives to be evaluated in terms of cost, time, yield, project throughput, resource utilization, and risk. Its use for risk analysis is demonstrated through a hypothetical case study that uses the Monte Carlo simulation technique to imitate the randomness inherent in manufacturing subject to technical and market uncertainties. The case study addresses whether start-up companies should invest in a stainless steel pilot plant or use disposable equipment for the production of early phase clinical trial material. The effects of fluctuating product demands and titers on the performance of a biopharmaceutical company manufacturing clinical trial material are analyzed. The analysis highlights the impact of different manufacturing options on the range in possible outcomes for the project throughput and cost of goods and the likelihood that these metrics exceed a critical threshold. The simulation studies highlight the benefits of incorporating uncertainties when evaluating manufacturing strategies. Methods of presenting and analyzing information generated by the simulations are suggested. These are used to help determine the ranking of alternatives under different scenarios. The example illustrates the benefits to companies of using such a tool to improve management of their R&D portfolios so as to control the cost of goods.
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