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Advancing Modelling for Process-Product Innovation, Optimization, Monitoring and Control in Life Science Industries

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ModLife (Advancing Modelling for Process-Product Innovation, Optimization, Monitoring and Control in Life Science Industries)

Reporting period: 2017-11-01 to 2019-10-31

ModLife ETN aims to pilot a multidisciplinary training programme of Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) skilled in developing novel integrated modeling tools and advanced in-situ process measurement solutions to enable virtual product and process development in life sciences and biotechnology sector. These opportunities exist primarily in five areas: costs, time to market, faster innovation, product quality and company image. ModLife training network addresses excellence in research and training of next generation transformational engineers and researchers with multi-disciplinary skills required for transforming life science discoveries into market scale products and services. This is being achieved through:
• Comprehensive training and knowledge transfer opportunities for training early stage researchers (ESRs) with multidisciplinary knowledge and competences bridging engineering and life sciences.
• Integration and creation of synergies among fragmented bioprocess engineering research centres across the European Union in life sciences and biotechnology industries.
• Development of cutting edge model-based enabling technologies and applications for optimization, monitoring and control for bioprocess and product development and innovation.
(1) Comprehensive training and knowledge transfer opportunities for ESRs have been successfully provided according to the project implementation plan and consist of the following (i) two training schools with a combination of courses, workshops, technical presentations, webinars and industrial site tours are offered by the network, and by (ii) secondments of ESRs. The training events implemented so far cover topics like multi-scale mathematical modelling, bioprocesses engineering, on-line measurements, data analysis, engineering thermodynamics, optimization, PhD project management, presentation skills, scientific writing or visit of the industrial biotech-production site. The secondments include both cross-sectorial (university-industry partnership) and inter-sectorial (secondment between two academic beneficiaries).
(2) Integration and exploitation of synergies among ModLife partners have been successfully established through intensive cooperation thanks to training and research collaboration through secondments of ESRs. This cooperation consist of the following research themes: (i) model-based optimisation of bioprocesses (IMPERIAL-RWTH), (ii) experimental characterization of pharmaceutical product formulations (UCBL-JANSSEN), (iii) model-based optimisation and design of oleo-chemical processes (ALAVAL-DTU), (iv) advanced optimization and monitoring of fermentation and pharmaceutical processes (USTRATH-DTU). Moreover, several joint scientific papers have been published, another publications are under preparation.
(3) Development of models and model-based optimization and control technologies and application for life sciences products and processes have been progressed excellently according to the project plan and that represent core activities of the ModLife network. In addition to the 3 model-based research themes mentioned in (2), further theoretical activities include for instance: modelling of creaming of emulsified products, thermodynamic modelling of active species partitioning in complex product formulations, development of methods for global Bayesian multi-objective optimisation and for dynamic optimisation with guaranteed satisfaction of path constraints, hybrid data-driven approach to prediction of environmental properties.
ModLife will extend the state-of-the-art and develop fit-forpurpose multi-scale modeling and experimentation tools integrating molecular dynamics, thermodynamics and computational fluid dynamics for optimization, control and monitoring life science products and processes.

As regards product design, ModLife emphasizes emulsions and dispersions - widely used in foods (creams, spreads, sauces), home and personal care (facial/hand/sun creams, shower gels, detergent concentrates), pharmaceuticals, which have a huge global market. A main objective of formulation and process design of emulsions and dispersions is to structure the oil and water phases to optimize the thermodynamic properties – a critical factor in determining the stability and bioavailability of high value functional ingredients for human health, nutrition and wellbeing. Protection of functional ingredients from degradation during processing and storage is also a key driver to achieve high value and sustainable manufacturing in terms of both process and material efficiency.

Overall the ModLife network will advance the science of thermodynamics, multi-scale modeling, optimization, monitoring and control in life science industries as regards the following processes: (i) processing oleochemicals for vitamins, (ii) formulation and stability of complex products in food, healthcare and pharmaceuticals (iii) biopharmaceuticals production in mammalian cell cultures.
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Project consortium at the Mid-Term Review meeting