I’m Pierre-Damien and I’m part of a new program that builds evolutive vaccine manufacturing plants. My journey to the biopharmaceutical industry is a very personal one.
Some years ago, my father had skin cancer. Luckily for our family, he had the chance to be part of a clinical trial for a new medicine. I’m very happy to say that he’s still with us today. That experience inspired me to focus my career on biopharmaceutical innovation so that I can use science and technologies to help more people like my dad.
What motivates me about the vaccines industry?
Vaccination has been around for over 200 years, saving millions of lives every year. But outbreaks and pandemics are stark reminders to us all of how disruptive a virus can be - not just to our health but also to our daily lives. They also demonstrate how important safe and effective vaccines are.
I’m the sort of person who loves facts and figures, so it’s really motivating to see evidence of the positive impact vaccination has on public health, and how it is saving lives . The COVID-19 pandemic is a very good example of this, when we saw the evidence showing that vaccination can provide protection against serious infection and hospitalization.
How can improving vaccine manufacturing better prepare us for the future?
When vaccine manufacturing facilities were built, they were tailored to produce one specific type of vaccine, effective against one specific type of pathogen. The equipment is bulky and difficult to change, so when we need to switch to a different type of vaccine, changes take months and require a completely new installation of equipment.
In contrast, new evolutive manufacturing facilities are specifically designed to be agile and flexible, so that we can switch from manufacturing one vaccine to another in a matter of weeks - not months. These facilities are fuelled by digital technologies, and are designed to minimise environmental impacts. Thus, in the event of future health emergencies, we’ll be able to manufacture vaccines faster - all without compromising on safety, quality and effectiveness. This flexibility will be useful for a future pandemic-level threat, and for existing endemic diseases which are prone to unpredictable outbreaks, such as meningitis and influenza.
It’s very important to me that we use technology and innovation to deliver products quickly but without compromising on quality. In the future, I hope the new manufacturing facilities I’m helping to develop will play their part in helping us to prepare for and handle future pandemic threats - so that more people can stay protected.Read next story