Sartorius enters collaboration with German AI research centre

Published: 19-Dec-2019

The collaboration is experimentally testing use of AI in Sartorius products and platform solutions

Sartorius and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) have established the Sartorius AI Lab (SAIL) research laboratory. The collaboration is experimentally testing the use of AI in Sartorius products and platform solutions.

Testing is taking place on the DFKI campus in Kaiserslautern and further developed at SAIL.

Sartorius CEO, Dr Joachim Kreuzburg explained that so far, advanced methods of data analysis have been used only to a very limited extent in the biopharmaceutical industry, in drug research and in production. This is one of the reasons that development timelines and costs for medical drugs are ever-increasing.

Kreuzberg said that better use of data through AI is a particularly promising approach for making significant progress in this area. Many customers are already using the powerful software Sartorius has been offering for two and a half years through its Data Analytics unit for specific applications in biopharmaceutical production.

“We aim to strongly expand this business activity and are therefore glad to have found DFKI, one of the most important international centres of excellence for AI and deep learning with more than 1,000 scientists, as strong partners to join us in developing such solutions,” Kreuzberg added.

SAIL is assigned to the DFKI research department of Smart Data & Knowledge Services headed by Professor Andreas Dengel and uses DFKI's deep learning hardware and expertise, which is unique throughout Europe. As a protected data room and independent data laboratory, SAIL is also open to Sartorius partners and customers as part of cooperation agreements, and the first projects have already been initiated.

In addition, Sartorius and DFKI will use SAIL for training purposes, and DFKI employees will also be able to further their education in life science applications at Sartorius research sites.

Sartorius and DFKI intend to develop and employ machine learning and image and pattern recognition processes, among other technologies, for life science applications. For example, their researchers are working on new deep learning algorithms and methods for image recognition of cells and organoids, analysis and modelling of biological systems and for simulation and optimisation of biopharmaceutical production processes.

Sartorius provides extensive data for this purpose and sends specialists from its Corporate Research and Product Development units to SAIL.

Prof Oscar-Werner Reif, Chief Technology Officer at Sartorius, emphasised: “Within the framework of this cooperation, we are creating the foundations for developing digital tools and methods based on AI. The results obtained will be incorporated into the further development of Sartorius products so that our application solutions become more and more adaptive and powerful.”

Reif explained that the company’s aim is to use better methods of data analysis and the increasing computer capacities to map and simulate the development and production of biopharmaceuticals in computers in the future.

“As a result, development times and costs for new therapies will improve dramatically by an accelerated timeline from idea to patient,” Reif said. “In addition, we are pleased to offer Sartorius employees and DFKI students and scientists the opportunity to exchange ideas and gain further qualifications in AI and life science applications.”

Prof Andreas Dengel, DFKI site manager in Kaiserslautern, said: "The DFKI transfer labs are developing new service modules with artificial intelligence for various markets and target groups. For two years, we have been using our AI hardware equipment, which is unique in Europe, for application-oriented research we conduct together with renowned companies such as Allianz, Continental, Hitachi and IAV.”

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