Introduction of Thorsten Böhle, YP Chair

Thorsten Böhle is a project engineer for process automation and manufacturing execution systems (MES) at F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG in Basel, Switzerland. He holds a position as sub project manager for Automation & MES in a new late stage development and commercial launch facility for solid dosage forms at Roche’s headquarter. Before joining Roche in 2011, he worked four years as an automation engineer in global engineering at B. Braun Melsungen AG in Germany. In March 2017 Thorsten was elected as chair of the ISPE Emerging Leaders for Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH). He lives with his family in Basel. His leisure time he loves to spend in the mountains where he organizes alpine tours for the mountain & ski section of Roche Sports Club.

What made you join the ISPE?

The first time the ISPE caught my attention some years ago. Quite by chance, a colleague had a PE Magazine on his desk and I read about the Facility of the year awards. Before that time I didn’t know in detail what ISPE was about, but screening the issue gave me a broad impression about the variety of activities that ISPE offers: workshops, trainings and “Communities of Practice”.

With respect to my area of responsibility at Roche I found out about specific ISPE events on work-related topics like Pharma 4.0, data integrity, continuous manufacturing and more. When I finally attended an event I was favorably impressed by the different groups of participants. Besides attendees from big pharmaceutical companies you get in touch with people from vendors, regulators and academia. So I realized that ISPE could be a great platform for finding answers to questions that one party alone would not be able to solve. When Marcel Staudt and Gunter Baumgartner introduced the ISPE mission to me, I decided that I definitely wanted to be part of it.

What are your tasks / projects in ISPE?

I am actively involved in ISPE matters since March 2016 when I got to know Robert Landertinger from ISPE DACH who is part of the DACH advisory board. During this time ISPE DACH announced the need of setting-up a Emerging Leader network. The purpose of such kind of group was to attract people at the very beginning of their professional career as well as students and provide a platform that meets their needs and expectations.

With already ten years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry, I was no longer a YP anymore but saw the advantage in using my experience for establishing a core team in close collaboration with the other founder members. Since March 2017, I am leading the group as Chair.

This team has already some impressive achievements to show: We founded dedicated working groups for marketing and events, provided special trainings for YPs and offer a mentoring program for our members. Furthermore we collaborate with other European Emerging Leader ISPE groups and are about to prepare a European YP event at the ISPE Europe Annual Conference in Rome in March 2018. For this conference I am also part of the program committee and Co-Chair for the presentation train “Pharma 4.0”.

What are your takeaways from your activities within the ISPE?

For me it was an “eye-opener” when I became aware how much expert knowledge is available within the ISPE network. In my daily job as project manager, my team and I have tough negotiations with vendor companies for the best possible technical solutions. This can be a hard business because each counterpart has to focus on economic dependencies as well as project timelines and key milestones. In ISPE those parties sit together on one table and collaborate with each other for the definition of industry standards – the “ISPE Plug & Produce initiative” is a great example for an attempt to harmonize the way how IT and automation systems communicate with each other.

The grand opportunity to find an easy access to expert knowledge, broaden your personal network and actively participating in innovative work groups is the reason why I would particularly encourage students and Emerging Leaders to join our organization.