2021 PDA Robotics and Automation Conference

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Program Highlights

The inaugural conference will run under the theme Challenges and Opportunities of Robotics and Automation – A Paradigm Shift within the Pharma Industry?

Join us for a highly interactive program including Working Groups, Live Panel Discussions and Networking Lounges! The Final Agenda is out now!

See you online!

 Dear Colleagues, 

On behalf of the Scientific Program Planning Committee and PDA Europe, we are proud to present the inaugural PDA Robotics and Automation Conference to take place as a virtual event on 20-21 April 2021

What a difference a year makes. While concepts of robots and automation might have been considered nice to have when we talked about them at the PDA EU Annual Meeting in Amsterdam in 2019, the global pandemic has accelerated the importance of speed while maintaining our standards of safety. We will cover a wide range of topics ranging from artificial intelligence and machine learning, big data, data analytics, cloud solutions and blockchain technology to automated solutions in pharma testing and manufacturing. 

We all know the stats. Robots and automation are expected to be faster and to reduce human errors by incredible factors. These technologies cover for the worker shortages that some areas experience and they can do tasks in dangerous settings. The question we usually get, though, is whether these technologies are truly safe, robust and beneficial for the patients. It’s necessary to understand that the heart and soul of automation and robot orchestration lies in multiple elements like artificial intelligence built out from human feedback and a careful initial set up, connectivity, cloud and sensorics. These technologies are not set up in a vacuum and they continue to get reviewed and refined by humans. We are not replacing human knowledge but rather augmenting our capacity to create and innovate to bring our ideas to reality in a way that is safer and faster than ever before.

Regulatory bodies are ready for these technologies, too. What that means for us is that we must measure, record, trace, and analyze everything so that we are continuously improving the quality, efficiency, and safety of our drugs. Here again, smart systems can help us manage the variability and complexity of this new reality. 

We are very much looking forward to hearing from each of you about the ideas you have for the opportunities in this space, the technical solutions you have discovered, and the challenges you would like to overpass. There can no longer be doubt that digitization and automation and the discussions we have here will help catapult our Life Science organizations into this brave new world.

We look forward to you joining us in the virtual realm!

The Chairs

Toni Manzano, PhD, Aizon
Martin Düblin, One One Eleven 



Toni Manzano, Aizon, Chair
Martin Düblin, One One Eleven, Chair
Dieter Bachmann, Janssen J&J
Christine Eckardt, PM Group
Joshua Hays, Merck KGaA
Markus Rothen, Consultant
Glenn Wright, PDA
Falk Klar, PDA Europe
Teresa Schubach, Manager Programs & Events, PDA Europe

Standard Registration

Member Price


GovernmentMember Only


Health AuthorityMember Only


Early Career ProfessionalMember Only


AcademicMember Only




See Qualifying Criteria for Member Types.


WAYS TO REGISTER: 1. Online Registration   2. [email protected]

PDA MEMBERS: Please remember to log in before registering If you come from a Governmental or Health Authority Institution or from an Academic Organization, please contact [email protected] before registering.

If you need to apply for a visa to enter the event country, PDA Europe must be informed of this fact at least 4 weeks before the start of the event.

Day 1

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Module I: Welcome & How AI, Deep Learning and Automation can Improve the Pharma Industry
12:00-14:00 CEST

Welcome & Introductions Falk Klar, PDA Europe
Welcome from the Chairs Toni Manzano, Aizon
Martin Dueblin, One One Eleven

The Evolution and Key Enablers of Artificial Intelligence for BioPharma - Accessibility for Everyone

Hemant Garg and Philippe Eberhard,
Merck KGaA

Live Session Introduction:
How Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning and Automation can Improve the Pharma Industry

With digitalization everywhere, robotics cannot anymore be excluded in manufacturing halls, artificial intelligence, in particular. Our world is changing, and Pharma is actually on the verge of a significant transition. But what is the right strategy to get started and move on? Which is the appropriate area to tackle first? How to overcome shortcomings in the most sensible ways? This first session of this exciting online conference spans from digitalization to robotics and Artificial Intelligence to the perspective on completely new business models. This event to be experienced as the seed to activate your next steps. Please feel free to bring in your thoughts and experiences. We will be pleased to share our wide ranges of knowledge.


Martin Dueblin, One One Eleven
Toni Manzano, Aizon

CPV of the Future: Automating a Biotech Process using AI Toni ManzanoAizon
The Pitfalls and Learnings from Implementing Robotic Process Automation Bots (RPA) – Case Study of the Review of RPA Borke Van Belle and Seamus Daly, Janssen J&J
Automation Solutions to Visualize, Evolve, and Adapt Your Production to Demand Tiffany BarnesHoneywell Process Solutions
Deep Learning for Inline Quality Control and Condition Based Maintenance Philipp SchmidCSEM

Live Q & A, Discussion

Break and Virtual Exhibition

14:00-15:00 CEST

Module II: Quality and Compliance
15:00-16:00 CEST

Live Session Introduction:
Quality and Compliance

Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be and already are integrated in pharmaceutical manufacturing processes. As everything within this highly regulated industry, robotics and AI implementation also need to fulfill highest quality expectations and compliance standards. For instance, data integrity, just to mention one. Follow two exciting case studies, illustrating GMP requirements and the related implementation strategies. Join us for a live Q&A to discuss your questions online with experts in this field. 


Dieter Bachmann, Janssen J&J
Markus Rothen, Rychiger

GMP Compliance when Working with Robotics in Aseptic Processing Richard DenkSKAN
Bianca BohrerPharmBioTec
Digital Compliance: How to Demonstrate Digital Compliance in Automation & Robotics within Life Sciences Mag CorduffOdyssey VC

Live Q & A, Discussion


Break and Virtual Exhibition
16:00-16:45 CEST

Module III: Optimizing Facility Design with Automation and Digital Solutions
16:45-18:30 CEST

Live Session Introduction: 
Optimizing Facility Design with Automation and Digital Solutions

How can we leverage the latest digital technologies to get facilities producing drug product faster and more safely? How can we better and more fully automate fill & finish suites? Please join our session for some forward-looking perspectives on these topics and more as we strive to better understand these advances and how far they might take our industry.


Joshua Hays, Merck KGaA
Markus Rothen, Rychiger

An Engineering Digital Twin to Accelerate Time to Production Ueli SchlaepferHelbling Technik
Cleanroom Computerized System Automation Evolution Aram MontazamiNovatek International
A New Industry Standard for Robotic Fill & Finish Klaus UllherrSyntegon Technology
Ute SchleyerVetter
Use of Robotics in Flexible Format Aseptic Filling Keith Dodson and Steven NgAST

Live Q & A, Discussion


Virtual Networking Lounges - Choose one of three exciting topics
18:30-19:30 CEST

Poster Lounge – Meet our Poster Presenters 
Opportunities of Virtual Reality in Pharma – supported by SKAN und Innerspace 
Conference Day 1 - Feedback, Discussions and More

Day 2

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Module IV: Interactive Experience: Working Groups on Automation of Environmental Monitoring & Improving Maintenance
10:00-12:00 CEST

Interactive Experience: Working Groups on Automation of Environmental Monitoring & Improving Maintenance

Robots are everywhere. The pharmaceutical industry is integrating more and more innovative technologies with great success. Within this session, we do have the chance to listen to a great collaboration work between the industry and universities in Ireland on the integration of a robot within quality processes and to a very interesting innovation presentation on how robots can improve maintenance.
Within this session, we will split in 2 workshop groups after the presentations to dive deeper into the presented themes.


Christine Eckardt, PM Group
Dieter Bachmann,
Janssen J&J

Introductory Talk for Working Group 1:
Project Marvin: an Academic and Industrial Collaboration

Sean CoombsPM Group
Sinead Cowman, LONZA
Introductory Talk for Working Group 2: How to Optimize Maintenance – a New Strategic Approach Josef Burgmaier, Janssen J&J
Live Q & A, Discussion  
Group 1
Automation of Environmental Monitoring

• Is there a limit where to use of robots in the industry?
• How far can we go with the implementation of robots and how to mitigate potential roadblocks?
Group 2
Improving Maintenance through Innovation

• Where does Artificial Intelligence come in and how does is it support maintenance?
• How can Predictive Maintenance be improved?

Live Summary of Working Groups by the Moderators


Break and Virtual Exhibition
13:45-14:45 CEST

Module V: Automation in Cell and Tissue Engineering & Final Panel Discussion
14:45-16:30 CEST

Live Session Introduction:
Automation in Cell and Tissue Engineering

During this session we have listened amazing use cases, disruptive trends, and initiatives on automating complex processes to have robust operations and introducing robotics in repetitive phases to ensure better products. What about if we think in applying robotics and automation in human organs and tissues? What if we consider digital twins of pieces in the human body? This orientation would sound futuristic, but it is a reality nowadays and we are going to see amazing breakthroughs in this context.


Toni ManzanoAizon
Martin DueblinOne One Eleven

Multi-Organ-Chip Automation and Analysis Ann-Kristin Muhsmann,Technical University Berlin
Automating Complex Cell and Tissue Engineering Processes in Closed Systems Vincent Revol,CSEM

Live Q & A, Discussion

Live Interactive Attendee Questionnaire  

Live Final Panel Discussion: 
A Paradigm Shift in the Pharma Industry: Where we are now and an outlook into the future:

• What different roads can the industry take with regard to robots, Artificial Intelligence and Digitalization?
• What is needed to drive implementation in the industry? Current gaps and how to close them?
• How can the regulatory framework be an enabler of innovations rather than a hurdle?

Toni ManzanoAizon
Martin DueblinOne One Eleven
Christine Eckardt, PM Group
Joshua Hays, Merck KGaA
Dieter Bachmann, Janssen J&J
Markus RothenRychiger

Conference Summary by the Chairs

Toni Manzano, Aizon
Martin Dueblin, One One Eleven

Thank you, Chair Awards, Outlook and Farewell

Falk Klar, PDA Europe
Agenda is subject to change.

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