Madison Biotech Supplier Goes Lean to Stave Off Foreign Competitors

2/19/14Follow @XconomyWI

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of the QRM project on Aldevron’s bottom line this year, as the company begins to use the software and implement operational changes as a result of the partnership. The idea is lab efficiency gains would lead to taking on more orders. The additional revenue would be invested in equipment and new hires, Foti said.

“[For] a growing company, usually when you screw up from a capital standpoint is you underinvest or overinvest,” said Foti, who spent $200,000 on equipment last year. “The timing of when you hire people, when you buy equipment, is probably one of the bigger decisions that we make. The idea [with the university partnership] is that if you have a tool to do better forward-looking capacity planning, that will allow us to find where our gaps are and … [try] to make the best investment at the right time.”

Foti has assembled a coalition of representatives from about a dozen Madison-area biotech companies. This week, the group is holding its second meeting, in which Aldevron and university officials plan to share what they’ve learned so far and solicit feedback from companies who might benefit from a similar project.

“The target here is we want to address very specific issues that are probably unique to bio-manufacturing and haven’t been addressed before,” Krishnamurthy said. “Perhaps companies have addressed [the issues] internally, but now we are looking at this as a community.”

AldevronKrishnamurthy sees the federal grant as testimony that the National Science Foundation views bio-manufacturing as an important sector—and that Madison is an “emerging biotech hub.”

“There is a great focus on manufacturing, and people are debating what type of manufacturing is going to be there in the U.S. going forward,” Krishnamurthy said. “The consensus is bio-manufacturing is going to grow over the next several decades.”

Jeff Engel is the editor of Xconomy Wisconsin. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @XconomyWI

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