Revolutionizing Pharmaceutical Manufacturing: The Implementation of Industry 4.0 Architecture at the Center for Breakthrough Medicines

The world of Cell and Gene Therapy (CGT) manufacturing faces unique challenges that are not present in other types of pharmaceutical manufacturing. Complex processes like gene editing and cell culturing use living cells or other genetic material to create these therapies. Therapies are typically created in small batches due to their personalized nature. Finally, specialized infrastructure and equipment are required in CGT processes, many of which are not designed with automation in mind.

The Center for Breakthrough Medicines (CBM), a prominent CGT contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), recognized the need for seamless monitoring and contextualization of data from their 40+ manufacturing suites. In search of a solution that would provide the necessary functionality at an acceptable price point, CBM turned to Skellig for assistance. Together, they determined that adopting an Industry 4.0 Unified Namespace (UNS) architecture would provide the greatest value for their organization as it ensures flexibility, scalability, and centralized data availability.

Skellig understood the unique challenges faced by CBM and devised a tailor-made solution to address the most pressing needs of the business. Through the UNS, CBM could consolidate data from diverse sources into a single, reliable data model. This would allow for streamlined operations, reduced errors, and better decision-making. 

MQTT, Opto22’s groov EPIC controller, Inductive Automation’s Ignition, and Canary Labs’ Historian were used in this UNS implementation. MQTT is a lightweight, open, and stateful communication protocol that supports report by exception. The groov EPIC controller integrates directly with Ignition while supporting MQTT and OPC UA connections, ensuring compatibility with both modern and legacy equipment. Ignition is a flexible platform that functions as the backbone of the UNS and offers SCADA functionality. Canary Labs’ Canary Data Historian was selected for its native MQTT support and direct integration with Ignition.

Skellig’s support extended beyond conceptualization and design. Skellig engineers provided hands-on assistance throughout the implementation process. By leveraging Skellig’s expertise in system integration and new technologies, CBM has paved the way for a more efficient, scalable, and data-driven manufacturing environment. 

Read more about how Skellig was able to help CBM achieve its goal in the full case study. If you’re interested in learning how groundbreaking solutions can help your organization, get in touch with Skellig today!


Q1. How long did it take to implement the UNS architecture at CBM?

  • CBM successfully implemented the architecture, including the UNS, within a year, thanks to Skellig’s expertise and the collaborative efforts of the project team.

Q2. How does the UNS architecture benefit CBM’s operations?

  • The architecture eliminates information silos, enhances scalability, and streamlines compliance, allowing CBM to share data freely between different system levels and adapt to evolving business requirements.

Q3. How did Skellig contribute to the successful implementation of the UNS?

  • Skellig helped with the initial development and design of the UNS architecture. Skellig engineers also provided staff augmentation support to connect equipment in manufacturing suites to the UNS.