Aspen Technology and Emerson Invest in Their Pharma Digital Threads

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By Michael Larner | 2Q 2021 | IN-6109

Aspen Technology and Emerson have both been investing to expand their respective digital thread capabilities in the pharmaceutical vertical. In February, Emerson announced an equity investment in Fluxa, while Aspen Technology announced the acquisition of Camo Analytics in November 2020.

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Aspen Technology Acquires Camo Analytics, While Emerson Invests in Fluxa


Aspen Technology and Emerson have both been investing to expand their respective digital thread capabilities in the pharmaceutical vertical. In February, Emerson announced an equity investment in Fluxa, while Aspen Technology announced the acquisition of Camo Analytics in November 2020.

Data transparency is critical for pharmaceutical manufacturers to demonstrate adherence to regulations along the drug creation, manufacturing, and distribution processes. Fluxa provides Process & Knowledge Management (PKM) software and helps its customers manage process and product specifications throughout the lifetime of a drug. Camo Analytics enables pharmaceutical manufacturers and biotech firms to optimize their production and quality control processes. A digital thread encapsulates the need for manufacturers to manage and share data across organizations to demonstrate regulatory compliance and maximize production capabilities; industrial software vendors, such as Aspen Technology and Emerson, are looking to provide customers with the mechanisms for achieving this from a single supplier.

Camo Analytics Adds Analytical Horsepower to AspenTech, and Fluxa Provides Emerson with Audit Trails


Camo Analytics was founded in 1984 by a group of Norwegian scientists with the objective of applying analytical science (quickly analyzing large and complex data sets) to improve production lines and product quality—21 of the world’s 25 largest pharmaceutical companies use Camo Analytics. The company looks to help customers comply with the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) regulations, which concern the manufacturing methods, the quality control processes in drug production and packing of the drugs, and the facilities overall.

The Camo Analytics Unscrambler suite helps manufacturers with their quality assurance, process control, and production cycle times by mining data collected inside the plant. The company looks to help customers proactively monitor batches, blends, and chemical reactions, and to help them move from manufacturing single drug batches to continuous manufacturing. Camo Analytics Unscrambler is currently used by 25,000 scientists, researchers, and engineers. Camo Analytics will improve AspenTech’s Process Analytical Technology (PAT) and its ability to support clients’ Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) solutions and compliance requirements. Unscrambler will slot in with other solutions in the AspenTech portfolio—for example, Aspen Batch Process Developer, Aspen Plus, Aspen IP 2/ MES, and Aspen Mtell in supporting drug production, and Aspen ProMV and Aspen Process Pulse in quality assurance.

Fluxa was founded in 2017 by Sudheesh Narayanan, Suraj Pai, and John Miller, and is based in Glendale, California. The company’s PKM software aims to help companies involved in drug development and manufacturing share data between teams in order to collaborate, improve production processes, and ultimately reduce the time required to develop and produce new drugs. The company provides a consulting service to help customers create data structures and processes that support their process analytics requirements as well as have audit logs and electronic processes that meet the requirements of the FDA’s CFR-11 regulation (concerning the handling of electronic records and electronic signatures). Just as important, the PKM software can integrate with customers’ ERP, electronic lab notebooks, laboratory information systems, and/or MES systems.

The investment from Emerson is expected to expand Fluxa’s technology development and commercial pipeline. For Emerson, the investment will complement its solutions that support plant floor automation in the pharmaceutical and life sciences markets. Emerson helps pharmaceutical manufacturers increase equipment utilization, overall throughput, and yield with the company’s DeltaV technology suite (DeltaV Discovery for tracking progress in laboratories, DeltaV Batch for supporting facilities to accommodate multiple products, and DeltaV Bridge to help manufacturers collect equipment performance data) and Syncade, which is an MES solution.

Analytics and Data Management Anchor Digital Threads


Historically, manufacturers have been unable to extract, measure, and analyze production information. Today, the priority is to ensure that the data emanating from the production line is utilized in a timely manner by applicable teams and managed to the satisfaction of regulators. Digital factory spend by pharmaceutical manufacturers is forecast to top US$4.5 billion in 2030, with spend on data analytics forecast to grow by 27% CAGR and be worth US$1.2 billion in 2030 as manufacturers look to track and optimize their operations. COVID-19 has been a catalyst for pharmaceutical manufacturers to invest in data management and analytics solutions that can be utilized while working remotely while remaining compliant.

For Emerson, the Fluxa investment enables the company to be able to manage customers’ product and process data all the way through the drug development and production cycle. Fluxa will be able tap into Emerson’s expertise in execution systems, which will accelerate its innovation cycles. Camo Analytics has already been integrated into the AspenTech portfolio to improve its PAT and OEE capabilities.

Both Emerson and AspenTech are looking to solve the data challenges faced by pharmaceutical manufacturers. Fluxa’s consultative approach chimes with Emerson’s engagement model in this vertical, with the deployment business consultants focusing on optimizing business processes as much of a priority for both companies as providing data insights. AspenTech, by contrast, is looking to help customers meet their challenges by ensuring that data analytics does not take place in a vacuum but is utilized to solve business problems.

For more information regarding the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, please refer to the ABI Research report Industry 4.0 in the Pharmaceutical Industry (AN-5422).



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