PLM: Poorly Digitized Labs Give Dassault Systèmes’ BIOVIA a Great Growth Potential
Verdi Ogewell posted on May 14, 2019 |

BIOVIA is one of the rarely media-covered apps on Dassault Systèmes’ PLM platform, 3DEXPERIENCE. This does not prevent it from being an interesting solution that already has and, above all, will have increased importance. The software is mostly used in the life sciences segment to develop and test new materials and chemical substances in a virtual environment.

What makes the product’s growth potential big is, among other things, the somewhat surprising fact that most labs are at a low digital level, said BIOVIA’s manager, Leif Pedersen, to engineering.com.

Some even use mostly paper and pen, which means that it is possible to get big profits just by starting to document digitally. Of course, there are companies that are far ahead, but, overall, the life science area is far behind, for example, the automotive industry in terms of digitization and automation.

The image of labs as high-tech businesses filled with computer screens and IT tools is partly an incorrect picture. In fact, the head of BIOVIA, a brand of Dassault Systèmes,believes that labs are often left behind in the digitization race in lab environments.
The image of labs as high-tech businesses filled with computer screens and IT tools is partly an incorrect picture. In fact, the head of BIOVIA, a brand of Dassault Systèmes,believes that labs are often left behind in the digitization race in lab environments.

The general image of high-tech laboratories is that they are filled with screens in highly robotized test environments. Pedersen stated that this is a false picture. In real life, the situation is that usage of digital tools is fragmented and something that has just developed in its own right.

Here, of course, Pedersen believes that the BIOVIA tools and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform can do a lot to improve the efficiency of the business and also increase the quality.

“With these tools, we can perform tests much faster and with detailed and simple documentation,” he said. “Since all data is also available in a digital environment, it is easier to share this data to different parts of the business. One effect of this is that one can, for example, begin lab tests earlier because lab technicians can follow the development in the discovery phase from the beginning and thus do not have to wait for documentation.“

What other areas besides life sciences does BIOVIA work in? “Many,” says Pedersen. “Some examples are catalysts for being able to break down crude oil into useful components more energy efficient. We also work a lot with the battery industry for cars and flights.“(Image courtesy of Dassault Systèmes.)
What other areas besides life sciences does BIOVIA work in? “Many,” says Pedersen. “Some examples are catalysts for being able to break down crude oil into useful components more energy efficient. We also work a lot with the battery industry for cars and flights.“ (Image courtesy of Dassault Systèmes.)

Huge Costs

Developing new materials for such things as batteries, cosmetics and medicines has previously been work that often takes many years to develop and costs huge sums. However, through the platform provided by BIOVIA, the development can largely take place virtually, thus both faster and more efficiently.

Pedersen emphazied that Dassault Systèmes is Europe’s second largest software provider, especially in product lifecycle management (PLM) and 3D visualization. The company’s life sciences side is growing,and the business also touches the automotive industry, such as through supporting development of new batteries for cars and airplanes.

Currently, BIOVIA solutions are used by more than 2,000 companies in the life sciences, energy, consumer goods, retail, transport, mobility, high tech and academic and public institutions sectors.

The customer list also looks impressive. Among other things, it comprises the 25 largest pharmaceutical companies, 25 largest biotech companies, 20 of the 25 largest chemical companies, four of the five largest consumer packaging companies, five of the 10 largest oil and gas companies, and three of the five top companies in the aerospace industry.

Support for Five Steps in Product Development Processes

With a lot to keep track of then Dassault has developed well-adapted process steps within BIOVIA to assist these generally rather demanding customers. According to Pedersen, they help in many ways and work according to five steps in product development:

  1. The discovery phase: working on discovering new potential substances, such as a new peptide for a cosmetic product.
  2. Process development: help develop and streamline the actual “recipe“ for new products.
  3. Quality controls and tests during production: the virtual environment, for example, reduces the need for animal testing.
  4. Quality control of finished products:ensure the desired effect is actually achieved.
  5. Compilation of data for approval processes by, for example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Example of an interface in BIOVIA, which shows how a medicine design looks at the molecular, chemical coupling level.(Image courtesy of Dassault Systèmes.)
Example of an interface in BIOVIA, which shows how a medicine design looks at the molecular, chemical coupling level. (Image courtesy of Dassault Systèmes.)

Powerful Artificial Intelligence (AI) Engine

Regarding lab environments, how does BIOVIA help the customers there? The foundation is a virtual platform based on a powerful artificial intelligence(AI )engine.

“It allows our users to model and test in clean digital environments,”Pedersen said.

When asked what may be coming in areas where BIOVIA can produce positive outcomes, he noted that there is a lot going on.

“As an example, when we recently met a number of companies to discuss issues of the future, there were some big areas that we jointly need to address, such asan increased obesity problem in more and more countries around the world, several different sequelae diseases like cardiovascular and vascular problems, joint problems, etc.,” Pedersen said. “We also get older and need to deal with degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. These are very complex challenges where a company alone will not be able to drive development fast enough. Our platform can help to share knowledge and research and also connect universities and authorities with the companies to come together faster. Simply, collaboration is something that more and more companies are talking about, and we can contribute to the technical solutions for these collaborations.”

As mentioned above, the company works in several other areas. More precisely, what are they about?

“Yes, we work in lots of areas,” Pedersen said. “Some examples are around catalysts to be able to break down crude oil into useful ingredients more energy efficiently. We also work a lot with the battery industry for cars and airplanes, where the goal is to develop batteries with a longer life, higher capacity and less environmental impact. We have experts in the field spread all over the world who only work on these issues. It is simply a lot of areas where our knowledge can help.”

Example of visualization in BIOVIA Discovery Studio. ( Image courtesy of Dassault Systèmes.)
Example of visualization in BIOVIA Discovery Studio. ( Image courtesy of Dassault Systèmes.)

Sharper Scientific Innovation Environments

A “secret effect”related to the BIOVIA platform is that it can contribute to making new substances available to consumers, regardless of whether it is Alzheimer’s medicine or solid-state batteries for electric cars.

With this 3DEXPERIENCE app, you can generally tighten the capabilities of the scientific innovation environments and help science and process-driven companies develop better products faster and more cost-effectively, according to Pedersen. He pointed at the app’s solutions for:

  • Collaborative development work through improved interdisciplinary collaboration, modeling and simulation, data management/informatics and decision-making for investments in biological substances, chemicals and materials
  • Unified Lab Management: BIOVIA deals with compliance through standardized, role-based and end-to-end laboratory work, which was built on a single technology platform. This enables scientific teams to manage laboratory resources, processes and interfaces while sharing data and information internally across the organization and externally with partners
  • Processual operations: The platform can provide improved understanding of critical process drivers with validation ready process and quality data access, aggregation, contextualisation, analysis and reporting.

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