Onwards and upwards with MiRXES
Now a trusted name in biotechnology manufacturing, MiRXES is hoping to boost its capabilities by tapping upon local talent and the defining technologies of Industry 4.0.
It’s been over two centuries since the first Industrial Revolution proved that technology can be harnessed to increase economic output. Now, we are in the midst of another great transformation in the way we live, work and manufacture products.
As the fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) unfolds, we are seeing how productivity can be further enhanced by going beyond simple automation. Through emerging technologies like machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT), manufacturers are now able to set up smart factories that get smarter over time. The end result? Interconnected systems that can communicate with each other to independently make decisions that increase efficiency and productivity.
While all this may sound straight out of science fiction, homegrown company MiRXES is hoping to make its own smart factories a reality. It’s the natural progression for a company that started with just a three-man team, but has since gone on to create the world’s first RNA blood test for early cancer detection and manufacture millions of COVID-19 diagnostic test kits in record time. In the second article of this two-part series, we focus on MiRXES’ ongoing efforts to surpass the status quo as a leading, Singapore-proud company in the era of Industry 4.0.
Creating more with less
As the threat of COVID-19 grew apparent earlier this year, MiRXES was granted the license to manufacture and commercialize the Fortitude diagnostic kit developed by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Without a doubt, being called upon to support the mass production of Fortitude Kit was perhaps the company’s greatest chance so far to showcase its capabilities and prove itself on the world stage.
But there was a catch: at the time, the MiRXES production team was small, running a lean operation supported by the quality assurance, regulatory affairs and logistics teams. Almost overnight, the company’s compact team had to supply the whole of Singapore and countries abroad with the Fortitude kit. To cope with the sudden demand for test kits, the team had to practically overhaul their entire operational set-up.
Far from being intimidated, however, it was the opportune time for the MiRXES team to apply the capabilities they had worked to build over the past six years. After all, the team had invested much time and energy into understanding crucial matters like quality management as well as manufacturing processes and the science behind them. This lean and agile mindset allowed the company to adapt and deliver COVID-19 test kits just when Singapore needed them the most.
Taking MiRXES to the next level
Having gained confidence in the ability of its team to rise to the challenge, MiRXES is now aiming even higher. Today, the company’s goal is to use its combined R&D, manufacturing, and commercialization expertise to become a one-stop shop for Singapore’s vibrant biotechnology ecosystem. Moving forward, MiRXES is seeking to diversify its operations into areas like manufacturing raw materials for diagnostics, contract manufacturing and even product development for external companies.
Accordingly, MiRXES is now hiring for a variety of roles including process and systems engineers as well as facility executives. Amidst the retrenchments caused by COVID-19’s economic fallout, the company is hoping to create new opportunities for local talent. Moreover, MiRXES is also building a clinical laboratory and expanding their manufacturing facility by five times.
To scale its production output, MiRXES is turning to the emerging technologies that define Industry 4.0. The aim of implementing Industry 4.0 is to create a more versatile manufacturing line across multiple products, with a scalable platform capable of handling “any mix, any volume” manufacturing. This versatility will support different manufacturing demands, from prototyping to large-scale production.
After having invested close to S$2 million in building up its infrastructure, the company is now introducing automation modules into its existing manufacturing facilities. This involves automating processes for better efficiency and round the clock verification of product, machine and process quality. These modules are set to drive productivity and efficiency to the next level, enabling the company to face even bigger challenges and opportunities in the future.
Digitalisation is another key factor in Industry 4.0 where MiRXES will be incorporating processes from Demand planning all the way to delivery of products. This would include the harmonisation of CRM, ERP, MES and QMS modules electronically, allowing ease of use and “on the spot” trouble shooting, and performance monitoring over long and short periods of time.
Taken altogether, all these efforts are shaping MiRXES into a stronger and more resilient solution-oriented manufacturing company for Singapore and the world.