Operations Research Improves Biomanufacturing Efficiency at MSD Animal Health

Tugce G. Martagan, Yesim Koca, Ivo J.B.F. Adan, Bram van Ravenstein, Marc Baaijens, Oscar Repping

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Biomanufacturing methods use living organisms (i.e., viruses and bacteria) to generate active ingredients, and this leads to challenges that are different from those incurred by other industries. For example, biomanufacturers often deal with high levels of uncertainty and batch-to-batch variability in production yield, lead times, and costs. Biosafety requirements impose constraints, such as a no-wait requirement throughout the production process. In addition, biomanufacturing operations are cost and labor intensive and involve high risks of failure. To address these challenges, a multidisciplinary team of researchers collaborated over three years to develop a portfolio of optimization models and decision support tools. These tools were aimed at improving biomanufacturing efficiency using a variety of operations research methodologies, including stochastic optimization, Bayesian design of experiments, and simulation optimization. The developed models link the underlying biology and chemistry of biomanufacturing processes with financial trade-offs and business risks. The research has been conducted in close collaboration with MSD Animal Health in Boxmeer, Netherlands. Industry implementation at MSD AH had a significant impact, with up to 50% increase in batch yield and an additional revenue of €50 million per year. The application of operations research is very new to the biomanufacturing industry. As more companies such as MSD AH embrace operations research, we believe that this will significantly help the industry provide faster and more affordable access to new treatments.
Original languageEnglish
JournalINFORMS Journal on Applied Analytics
Issue numberXX
Early online date1 Feb 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Feb 2021

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Operations Research Improves Biomanufacturing Efficiency at MSD Animal Health'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this