How has Ncardia been able to accommodate customers' needs through the years?
Arie Reijerkerk, Director of Manufacturing Technology at Ncardia.
Today we share the vision of Arie Reijerkerk, our director of manufacturing technology. Arie obtained a PhD in internal medicine, and has worked in cardiovascular research for more than 10 years. Since 2012, he has been leading drug development projects in different companies. Together with an expert project team, Arie has been instrumental in the establishment of Ncardia’s platform for process development and large-scale manufacturing of iPSC-derived cells. We asked Arie how Ncardia has been able to adapt to each customer’s needs along the years.
According to Arie, the most essential component has been his team of experienced scientists. Their deep knowledge of cellular biology and expertise in human iPSC technology has been key to develop flexible solutions to deliver within scope and meet clients’ needs.
When manufacturing cells, the starting point of the process are human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Every human iPSC line can behave differently due to the genetic background, the original somatic cell type, reprogramming and storage method. To handle these variable parameters, Ncardia has established standard processes for the scalable manufacture of multiple cell types, using its proprietary human iPSC lines. When customers provide their own lines, Arie’s team uses its expertise and Ncardia’s technology to adapt their standard processes or develop new ones, if needed, in order to ensure a successful outcome.
“The manufacturing team has established several check-points to evaluate the efficacy of our large-scale differentiation processes. If an iPSC line is not behaving as expected, after alignment with our client, we can immediately change to alternative solutions. For instance, we have developed a screening tool, in which a range of differentiation conditions for cardiomyocytes can be assessed in one run. Besides using this tool to assess compatibility of new iPSC lines with Ncardia’s technology, this allows us to determine the most optimal culture conditions, after which the platform can be used to scale-up to the level needed for disease modeling, assay development and early testing of lead compounds.”
An essential part of Ncardia’s culture is to act as a partner for our customers, understand their objectives and be flexible and agile according to client needs. For Arie, this is one of the most attractive and enjoyable aspects of his job:
“It is very satisfying to be able to sit together with a customer, be transparent about the results, and be confident that, if needed, we can find alternative solutions to deliver according to client’s needs. As a scientist, I think that the beauty of biology is its complexity.”