Q&A with Ryan Heffner following INTERPHEX, the conference for biopharmaceutical engineering -

Q&A with Ryan Heffner following INTERPHEX, the conference for biopharmaceutical engineering

  • interpret 2021

Equilibar’s Ryan Heffner and Jeff Jennings recently returned from the INTERPHEX global conference in New York City. This was the first major conference Equilibar has participated in since COVID arrived in early 2020. INTERPHEX focuses on the biopharmaceutical market, which has been in the spotlight for the past two years as multiple vaccines and medications are being developed to deal with the pandemic.

The following is a brief Q&A with Ryan to share what he learned at this impactful show:

INTERPHEX was one of the first face-to-face conferences Equilibar has participated in since COVID. How would you describe the experience of networking and collaborating with other professionals in the field of biopharma after such a long time? 

I’d say that there was a noticeable energy, with a great deal of excitement and hope after almost two years of postponed interaction with the industry. There are clearly large investments in emerging technologies in the single use manufacturing space, as well as increased focus in better drug design—including mRNA–for higher quality and better working pharmaceuticals.

COVID has also shone a spotlight on the whole field of pharmaceutical manufacturing, including flow chemistry, Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) manufacturing, and general innovation of vaccines and medications. Taking a step back, what are some of the more exciting observations you have made on the future of this market and its potential to impact the world? 

I think that gene therapy is becoming more of a reality, with investments in tabletop pharmaceutical skids. Products like Equilibar’s single use fluid control valve–the SDO1–are helping OEMs improve the accuracy and rangeability of these small 1/8” benchtop systems, which only has a compounding effect on the industry’s growth to better medicine. That, combined with the improvements in single use technology, will make medicine more accessible to people globally. There are several charitable organizations funding development for accessible medicine for all, which is exciting in terms of a positive and equitable impact on all people across the globe.

Equilibar shared a booth at INTERPHEX with Steriflow Valve, our new partner in biopharma fluid control. What was this like, specifically? 

Sharing the booth with Steriflow Valve made me feel enthusiastic about both companies’ future opportunities. Steriflow has a strong name in the pharmaceutical industry for making high quality valves, and the merging of our technologies means we can reach far and wide to address many of the industry’s needs in all of Pharma, both API and biopharmaceutical.

Did any one innovation you saw from other show goers stand out as especially promising or inspiring? 

There’s been a cooperative effort to redesign some systems, such as a gradient buffer system, for better rangeability. This effort was led by the team at NIIMBL, and our companies were able to contribute to this effort. This is one of the industry’s first open source designs, accessible for companies to adopt for better system design.

What other observations do you have in terms of possibilities, insights, future direction of the market or anything else? 

Many of our early adopters of the SDO valve are now preparing for market release, which is exciting. In fact, one of our earliest adopters highlighted their technology this year for centrifuge separation, which will be great for the market.

Also, I’d like to note that Equilibar went to INTERPHEX largely to demonstrate the precision of our technology in the single use space and to highlight other new products we are working on, such as pulsation dampening. This demonstration video may be of interest for those who were not able to attend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMsqI1Ul4Lc

As always, we invite you to contact Ryan or any of our application engineers for more information about Equilibar fluid control devices for research and industry. 

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