The Arc Advisory Group report states that despite the difficulties facing the industry investment in automation remains strong, with most of this focused on projects with an immediate return on investment.
John Blanchard, the principal author of the report, explained that the industry is undertaking “projects that are the result of consolidation of manufacturing operations and standardisation of applications across the entire enterprise.”
Consolidation has become a necessity as a result of overinvestment in manufacturing capacity, according to the report, leaving companies with surplus capacity at a time when pipelines are drying up.
The report adds that there has been a slowing of pharma’s traditional growth drivers of R&D, sales and marketing, which places increased emphasis on manufacturing to increase margins.
In addition spiraling drug development costs and times have placed increased pressure on companies to cut the time to commercialisation. This has resulted in production management software and analytics software becoming two of the quickest growing automation technologies.
Users of these tools can reduce cycle time, throughput and the number of experiments that need to be preformed during the drug development phase.
Latin America’s growth
The report states that Latin America is the fastest growing region for automation but that it remains a small market. Asia trails Latin America in growth rate but is a larger market and is increasing its share of the sector.
China and India are the primary drivers of this growth, with these countries’ automation expenditures, customer relationship management (CRM) and contract manufacturing organisation (CRO) capabilities and domain expert IT services playing a significant role.
The report also predicts that acquisitions will continue to occur throughout 2009 but warns that these will inhibit deployment of new automation products and systems.