I read Chris Anderson's article regarding the Medical Device industry becoming more contamination-vigilant, and felt I needed to respond.
I spent quite a few years in both the biotech industry making an injectable-grade product, and the medical device industry manufacturing in-vitro diagnostics. I then made the transition to the semiconductor industry to Digital Semiconductor, which was later sold to Intel.
It's interesting to see we are at long last discussing each industry learning from the other-it should have happened long ago.
When I made the jump over to semicoductors as a Yield/Quality Engineer, the marketing effort that was required to make the engineering staff understand what a person with a microbiological/biochemical background could offer a device manufacturer was quite significant.
If it were not for a few key, respected individuals who understood both my potential, and had insight into where the chip business was going, I probably would not have been offered the job.
Later while employed by the chip manufacturer, where I spent 12 productive years, many of the conferences I attended extolled the advances and insight we in the semiconductor business had made in cleanroom design, AMC control, microbial detection and control in UPW systems, as well as a host of new instrumentation techniques.
My ex-colleagues from the pharmaceutical and medical device industry scoffed at or turned a deaf ear to these ideas, refusing to see how “semiconductor techniques” could be easily applied to problems frequently encountered in their own plants.
A number of years ago, NSF had developed a program creating the linkage between the biological sciences with those applied specifically to the semiconductor industry. Hopefully some heads have been turned, and eyes opened to the possibility of what we can learn from each other, and we can stop debating which of ours is truly a “hard” science.