Grants and Projects

Call for the support of export promotion projects and participation in exhibition events in 2023

As an innovative SME active in the field of process automation for the pharma and food sectors, PBL wants to exploit a new marketable area where many multinational companies in the pharma sector are expanding, namely Southeast Asia countries, such as Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam, that alone represent an area of about 445 mln people. Additionally, these countries represent a production area of even larger markets such as Asia and North America. For these reasons, PBL participated in the Interpack 2023 exhibition, a true world showcase of the industry, with more than 20,000 visitors, the first edition after the pandemic, where a prototype of our technology was also brought for demonstration purposes.

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Call for the Support of the Digital Transition of Emilia-Romagna Enterprises – «Support for enterprises digitalization, with system actions for the digital world»

PBL is a leading company in inspection and automation systems and in the last years it has developed an highly-specialized core facility in Artifical Intelligence (A.I.) and neural networking. The aim of this funded project is to develop and improve this division through the use of innovative technologies during technical design and A.I. tests. Specifically, a groundbreaking automatized test bench will be created, equipped with optical system for A.I. analysis of bags with infusional pharmaceutical solutions. This machinery will allow an easy process of training and testing of A.I., using customers products batches (KNAPP test), demonstrating the reliability and efficacy of our system.

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Pharmaceutical products inspection for impurities and defects is mandatory in pharma industry and is usually performed manually. Up to now, PBL is the only field-specialized industry producing this A.I.-aided technolgy of inspection and defects identification. The development and improvement of PBL A.I. inspection system will terribly decrease process time, from 4 months (required for customized system design and manual collection of data for A.I. training), to less than 1 month. A part from that, it will be also possible to lower the waste of material.
With this investment, an universal solution equipped with A.I. will be available for every type of requirement and test, avoiding expensive and time-consuming procedures for every customer and project. In this way, it will be possible to increase the efficiency and budgeting, working at higher level and significantly reducing costs, in case a project does not give promising results for an industrial follow-up.

Call for the Support of the Production Investments finalized to Entreprise Innovation- «Support to the innovation projects of enterpreises, supply chain and professional activity, promoting growth and empowerment»

PBL is a leading company in automation and inspection systems and in the last years it has been developing a highly specilized core facility for Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and neural networks.
PBL wants to continue on this research line and develop next generation products based on the use of A.I. and neural network for pharmaceutical products analysis. This will be done though the purchase and implementation of a groundbreaking automated machine, designed for the study of optical configurations for analysis and for images automated collection for the neural network with an high resolution camera and specific illumination for defects identification. The use of this system will significantly decrease the time required for feasibility studies for each type of sample, switching from 6 months to 1 week.

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PBL system will use A.I. to analyze machine collected data and then will use automated learining algorithms to analyze inspection images.
The machine will collect precise data about sample transparency, dimension and shape, as well as data about the presence of defects or abnormalities. A.I. will use these data to create automated learning models able to easily detect defects and abnormalities in every analyzed sample.
This detection and images elaboration system will allow PBL to save time and to preserve product quality for custom industries, increasing safety and limiting production waste. Morever, this system will offer an higher variability to PBL offered solutions and innovations, in line with customers specific requirements. This versatility will allow to develop a wider range of products, reaching new markets and increasing application sectors (for example: chemistry, cosmetics, food)


Call for Research and Experimental Development 2023 – «Support of projects of research, experimental development and enterprises innovation»

Pharma manufacturers need to analyze their products to control their chemical conformity, in line with national authorities standars or with their approved production workflow. Due to the high manufacturing yield of different products and due to the long analytical procedures required for pharmaceutical products chemical conformity evaluation (Quality Control – QC), these tests are performed only on a limited amount of products as random sample analysis in each production batch. PBL innovation gives an improvement on this issue, with a non-invasive system for qualitative and quantitative QC on pharmaceutical products, able to do inspection on every single piece, directly on the production line. Indeed, PBL is implementing and validating the first SPECTRE prototype, an automated machine integrating A.I. and different spectroscopy techniques.

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The project final goal will be the creation of an industrial line equipped with SPECTRE, processing 10.000 glass vial/hour. This strategy will increase the final product safety and will reduce the production costs and the waste material.
To reach this goal, PBL will optimize, improve and extent the technology already validated at laboratory stage, to gain a complete industrial development, as first pilot line. Specifically, PBL project will be divided in three phases: 1) Laboratory tests using compliant and non-compliant samples, comparing results obtained with traditional analytical techniques (HPLC and DLS) and with FDA, AIFA, Farmacopea requirements; 2) Finalization of industrial line project, through an accurate analysis of the results from the prototype preliminary tests, risk analysis and the general regulamentation plans (ex: Macchinery Directive 2006/42/CE, AIFA requirements, ISO9001); 3) Optimization of A.I. algorithm through experimental trials on compliant and non-compliant products, to obtain a system able to discriminate and verify the quality and conformity of the samples, ensuring a high accuracy and reliability of the result.
PBL wants to realize the SPECTRE system as flexible and customizable as possible, in order to be able to identify every type of chemical abnormality and non-conformity, which could compromise and hinder the production system.

Regional Law 14/2014: Regional agreement Establishment and Development – Art.6 LR 14/2014 – Call 2022

In these latests years, pharma/biomed industry has been revolutioning thanks to the development of innovative therapies based not only on syntetic drugs but also on biotech products. These products are developed with the goal to be highly personalized on each patient and on the specific pathology and are promising solution for many different pathologies (cancer, for instance), which so far have been with very poor prognosis and with limited therapeutic possibilities. The opportunity to develop advanced tharapies is linked to AIFA-certified-Cell Factories, which are, however, a very small amount on the italian terrotory and whose facility costs a lot of money and investments of specialized structures. For this reason, given also the high-level expertise and know-how, with this project PBL wants to design and develop a miniaturized Cell Factory, i.e. a modular innovative system able to automatize the production of personalized advanced therapies, like CAR-T («Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell» therapies), making them less operator-dependent and more «next-to-the-patient». Currently, no comparable system with these features of efficiency, reproducibility, safety, precision and high-performance is present on the market.

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PBL project, will be diveded in two specific phases: 1) Industrial research, to study main features required for all the system modules. System and project characteristics will be analyzed and defined in accordance with the relative regulamentation (ISO, IEC, GMP – Good Manufacturing Practice). Next, single modules and entire system design and validation will be performed, taking into account also space hidrance issues. 2) Experimental development, through the final prototype validation, performing specific tests with samples and products, simulating the real operating conditions.
This project will bring PBL to reach a further technolgical and know-how achievement, allowing an establishment as lead company on the market for the design and production of isolator systems for pharma industry. This will open the way to an european/american market and will increase the national and international visibility of the company. The manufacturing of this ATMPs machinery will lead to a further strenghtening of PBL in the industrial automation sector applied to med/pharma field, focusing on the production of gene and cell therapies. Finally, the project will bring benefits also to collaborating companies, both as increase in employment and as technological progress.

National Center for «Gene Therapy and Drugs based on RNA Technology»

The National Center for Gene Therapy and Drugs based on RNA Technology wants to do research and innovation in strategic areas for the production of advanced therapies (for the treatment of pathologies such as genetic diseases, cancer, metabolic/cardiovascular disorders, neurodegenerative diseases and inflammatory/infective diseases) and for the design of innovative procedures for healthcare, integrating therapies development, precision medicine and the development of novel production and formulation systems.

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The goal is the creation and renovation of research laboratories and specialized facilities and research program development to promote the birth and growth of entrepreneurial activities, such as start-ups and spin-offs, facilitating an industrial develop and scale-up.
PBL joins this National Center with its project for the design and production of an automatized machine for Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs), to promote decentralization of manufacturing and formulation of these therapeutic products, promoting the distribution of innovative therapies across the territory, avoiding facility, costs and personnel limits.
PBL work will be fundamental to promote the spread of novel therapeutic options based on innovative technolgies and to facilitate their research process scale-up and production also outside university research, specialized laboratories and cell factories, bringing innovative therapies nearer to the patient.