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The ECA Rapid Microbiological Methods (RMM) was founded on 7 June 2006 at the German Federal Agency for Sera and Vaccines by 11 representatives from the European Pharmaceutical Industry and the German Federal Agency for Sera and Vaccines, the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute (PEI). The RMM Group is part of the ECA Foundation.

During its inaugural meeting the working group reviewed the current situation of RMMs in Europe and defined a work plan.

One of the current issues the group identified is the lack of standardisation for the submission of RMMs. The group also considers the integration of certain methods into the European Pharmacopoeia chapter 5.1.6 as critical because it possibly sets a wrong focus on these tests only. In addition, the use of RMMs for marketed products is discouraged by the Type II Change effort. The group also voiced concerns about the inappropriate methods occasionally requested by the authorities – like classical EP sterility tests for cell therapy products. In general it sees a clear forward path for using RMMs for new submissions.

To develop a work plan also representing the industry’s point of view the group conducted a survey in one of ECA’s Masterclasses and over the internet. The result representing close to 40 major European pharmaceutical companies and biotech start-ups across Europe showed that many companies plan on introducing RMMs in the next 1-3 years, and that most of them want to apply them for environmental monitoring and to focus on quantitative methods. Most companies also expressed that there’s not enough regulatory support to drive a change quickly and that a clearer regulatory guidance would accelerate methods introduction. According to the survey companies also perceive the approval process as complex, thus delaying introduction. In that respect a clear expectation for adopting RMMs on the authorities’ side would strongly influence many companies’ thinking.

To help both authorities and industry get a better understanding of the requirements for the introduction of RMMs and to provide them with guidance based on case studies and available experience, the group will publish Best Practice papers on their website.

Advisory Board



Dr Sven Deutschmann. Dr Sven Deutschmann,
Roche Diagnostics

Board Members:

Olivier Guenec,
Sartorius, France
Barbara Gerten. Barbara Gerten,
Merck KGaA
Dr David Roesti,
Novartis Pharma AG, Switzerland
Dr Ulrich Herber. Dr Ulrich Herber,
Charles River
Dr Thomas Mikosch Dr Thomas Mikosch,
Priv.-Doz. Dr. Claudius Micha Nübling
World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva
Dr Marcel Goverde. Dr Marcel Goverde,
MGP Consulting und Projektmanagement
Dr. Isabelle Bekeredjian-Ding Dr. Isabelle Bekeredjian-Ding,
Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (German Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedicines)
Marja Claassen,
MSD, The Netherlands
Björn Breth Dr. Björn Breth,
bioMérieux Deutschland

RMM Activities - Extract


Reorganisation of paper and publication list on the website

Start a first chapter on the topic of sterility testing for a planned compendium of different microbial control strategies.

European Microbiology Conference

Combined Mycoplasma / RMM Conference with additional new Bioburden Workshop

Endotoxin and Pyrogen Testing Conference as part of the PharmaLab Congress (conducted in for the 2nd time) with speakers from FDA, EDQM and from the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute (PEI)


Update of database now counting 44 systems by the end of the year

Review and Update of pages with regulatory background, literature reports and articles about the different types of Rapid Microbiological methods

Combined European Mycoplasma and European Microbiology Conference

Rapid Microbiological Methods Conferences with a Validation Workshop

Survey on MAT; results forwarded to the EDQM


Current survey to the group members about their activities.

Database increased to 30 systems.

New course about validation of molecular biological methods

4th RMM Conference in Berlin, Germany, in December.

Implementation of periodic RMM newsletters


The Working Group supports EDQM’s survey related to a revision of EP chapter 5.1.6. Around 70 members provide feedback.

The RMM database now comprises 20 systems.

Third RMM Conference.


The group establishes a RMM database and search engine on their website which includes information about different Rapid Micro Methods.

Second Good Practice Paper: VITEK2 – Microbial Identification.

Second RMM Conference.


The Working Group organises the first Conference on RMM as a meeting point for interested industrial microbiologists, suppliers and scientists from contact laboratories.


First Good Practice Paper: MicroSeq for Microbial Identification.