Biopharm company hatches asset management strategy

A Mississauga, Ont-based biopharmaceutical company is counting on Indus International Inc. to be its asset management lifeblood.

Hemosol Inc. has chosen InSite

for the maintenance of it new $90-million manufacturing facility—the first of its kind according to Alex Stewart, Hemosol’s director of IT and logistics. His company makes a replacement hemoglobin product.

Stewart says all the facility’s physical assets will be managed by the hosted application. No easy task, he adds, given the government involvement.

“”The CGMP (current good manufacturing practice) regulations require that we can prove the validity of our equipment at any given moment. Certain things that are nice to have in a lot of other industries become an absolute requirement,”” he says.

For example, Hemosol must track which of the thousands of valves have been steam cleaned or water flushed. Not knowing the maintenance schedule has costly consequences. “”One full batch out of the back is roughly $1 million in cost,”” Stewart says, “”and we would scrap it if one single component in the process stream was out of tolerance.””

Brian Courchesne, director of InSite sales with Indus International Canada, says dealing with these kinds of outside demands was the toughest part of the project. “”We worked closely with their development people to consider any product requirements, products changes and basically trying to work with our knowledge of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)to implement the right solution.””

While Hemosol is counting on the application to save them from unexpected losses, Stewart says it is saving them a lot of money up front.

“”The cost-benefit analysis is huge compared to trying to acquire the hardware, software and infrastructure, as well as the IT support resources, to build it ourselves. Perhaps if we were a multi-billion dollar organization the numbers wouldn’t be so bad, but at our fee we can achieve an extreme high level of application with a very minimal investment up front,”” Stewart says.

Though he wouldn’t reveal how much it cost Stewart says “”It’s less than 10 per cent of what it would have cost to do it ourselves.””

Other applications–both hosted and non-hosted–were considered for the job, but Indus came out on top because it won the battle for heads and hearts. Stewart says no one was impressed by companies who adapted their legacy application and upgraded it to the Web. Courchesne says InSite was build from the ground up as an Internet application. Fittingly, a company making blood products let its heart decide.

“”My boss, Mike Mathews, his comment after the presentations—we sat through a few of these—was that here’s a company you trust and would work with. It’s a non-technical perspective, but it as one of the key differentiators,”” Stewart says.

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