How to avoid contract manufacturing disappointment

By Kirsty Barnes

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pfizer

Successful technology transfer and effective management can help
avoid disappointment with contract manufacturing arrangements,
which often fail to live up to pharmaceutical company expectations.

While technology transfer is simple in theory, it is difficult to get right in practice, however, a new report by market analyst Datamonitor offers suggestions for avoiding the difficulties commonly faced by pharma firms and contract manufacturing organisations (CMOs) during technology transfer and in doing so, avoid laying down a rocky relationship foundation right from the start.

The report advises that before any technology transfer is attempted, at least one of the parties must have prior technology transfer experience from other third party settings, such as licensing deals and internal transfers between teams and departments.

Next, the technology transfer should be handled as a project, which involves drawing up a plan and assigning responsibilities and tasks.

In addition, the transfer of the right information in a suitable format for the vendor - a process that both the vendor and client should be involved in - is necessary to avoid giving too much information without summaries, or too little information, states the report.

Furthermore, communication between the two parties must be kept open at all times and this can be achieved by making sure all personnel involved are clear of their roles as well as letting relevant staff from each party communicate directly with one another.

Once technology transfer has been completed, the risk of failure can be further minimised by dedicating resources to actively manage and monitor the vendor and creating a partnership with the vendor, based on strong and open communication, states the report, titled "Pharmaceutical Outsourcing Part 1: An Introduction to Contract Manufacturing Strategies."

"Effective and flexible management of a relationship with a CMO is key to a successful contract manufacturing agreement."

Datamonitor also believes that having a CMO monitoring system in place is one more tool to help ensure quality control and quantify success, citing the example of Wyeth Consumer Healthcare Division's new Contractor Performance Management initiative.

In Wyeth's case: "Monthly performance indicators are able to show the accuracy of batch records, the percentage of Investigation Reports completed within 21 days of start date, and the on-time product delivery performance,"​ the report said.

"In-depth assessments conducted on a quarterly basis can then also look at quality responsiveness, technical and customer support."

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