CPhI has released a survey taking the post-pandemic temperature pharmaceutical leaders, gauging how they feel about the industry’s prospects in the immediate and medium-term future. The findings in the report (to be outlined in a May 20 session during the organization’s virtual CPhI Discover event) reveal companies and governmental bodies alike are keenly interested in increasing regional self-reliance, reducing system complexity, and more.
Outsourcing-Pharma spoke about the survey, and notable CPhI Discover sessions worth a closer look, with Tara Dougal, head of content at Informa Markets.
OSP: Could you please summarize what is meant by “post-pandemic” for the purposes of this survey?
TD: We’re looking ahead to what the medium-term challenges might be once the majority of immediate concerns have subsided; for example, when the majority of nations have been vaccinated, social distancing requirements alleviated, and international trade returns. Our executives and experts foresee several lasting changes, but most crucially, significant growth opportunities for pharma.
OSP: Supply chain issues like reliance on Asian suppliers came up—could you please tell us about what the survey revealed about thoughts and concerns in that area?
TD: This is an interesting question as the supply chain is rarely fully integrated (in the way a pharma company may have been 30 years ago). Therefore, much of the focus of reshoring of drug production is centered on finished dosage forms followed by API supply.
However, if you look below this, the reality is, the vast majority of the supply of starting materials, reagents, and bulk chemicals remain heavily dependent on Asian-based suppliers. What is interesting about this is, yes, in cases such as essential medicine supplies, stockpiling of certain starting material may be beneficial, but in the vast majority of cases is in favor of the globalized supply chain and it would be undesirable to try and replicate starting material manufacture in lots of locations around the world.
There are obvious advantages of economies of scale in terms of production. What this does highlight, however, is the industry is looking for increased supply chain resilience and will achieve this by broadening the supply base and using geo-sourcing strategies (for example having suppliers in different parts of the world in case of any disruption in a particular region). This is, of course, the greatest strength of the CPhI community and is where we want to focus industry growth over the next few years.
In addition to the physical events, where you can meet hundreds of suppliers at the same time, we are also providing virtual solutions such as CPhI Discover, where you can pre-qualify potential partners. As the industry expands over the next few years, we envisage CPhI’s role to become even more integral in providing the tools to establish contacts, build resilience and develop partnerships for growth. Never has meeting the right partners been so important, not only to the products you’re making today but also meeting that expanding demand of a rapidly growing pharma industry.
OSP: What did respondents have to say about planned equipment/technology investments?
TD: There’s a lot of excitement around the use of new equipment within the industry, from continuous processing and real-time monitoring to scale-up technologies, flow chemistry, and single-use technology. In our survey, executives highlighted filling and packaging systems as immediate priorities, which is perhaps reflective of goals to bring final product production nearer home.
More widely, we are seeing the rapid introduction of new technology across the industry to meet the demand of an expanding pipeline, complex chemistries, and green chemistries. As such, we will host an in-depth session on continuous manufacturing and its advantages across innovative and generic drug manufacturing.
We will also feature another session on modern manufacturing techniques, how to ensure smooth and effective scale-up and breakthrough sessions on green chemistry and API production. There’s a real desire in the industry to learn about new technologies and process improvements, as these will be so integral to maintaining a competitive advantage in the year ahead.
OSP: Could you please share a summary of what the panelists will be tackling during Drug Delivery Start-Ups to Watch in 2021 and Beyond, at CPhI Discover?
TD: This session (taking place on Wednesday, May 19) is one of three live-stream sessions, which will be running across May 18-20 The session will focus on some of the emerging startups introducing new delivery mechanisms that aim to improve patient adherence, safety and efficacy.
In the last few years, we have seen how improving the patient experience has been a key focus of the industry and with technologies emerging such as the intracutaneous microneedle patch and other pain-free mechanisms like auto-injectors helping reimagine the art of the possible for drug delivery. These devices are helping improve dosing, empowering the patient (shifting the care setting from hospital to home), and improving overall compliance rates. Significantly, much of the innovation transforming the industry is emerging out of very small, nimble start-up companies.
CPhI and Pharmapack are focused on celebrating innovation and helping dynamic companies get in front of global audiences. It’s really important that we enable the right partners to meet so that these exciting discoveries can advance more quickly towards commercialization.
OSP: Are there any other sessions you might like to bring to attendees’ and potential participants’ attention?
TD: We believe we’ve put together an agenda covering major trends across key industry segments – Manufacturing and Outsourcing, Drug Delivery and Packaging, and Pharma Ingredients and Formulation. It’s a great way to update your knowledge and hear from leading companies, and because it’s an online platform, attendees can engage with more sessions than perhaps they’d have the chance to at an in-person event.
One exciting session on May 18 will see Bioplan Associates’ Vicky Xia explore the CDMO market in China where there has been a great deal of growth and development in the past few years. The contract services and outsourcing sector is always fascinating when it comes to new technologies and applications, so I strongly encourage attendees to watch the live session “Navigating the CDMO Market: Hurdles, Transformation & Opportunities” taking place at 15:00 CET on May 18, with contributions from Peter Shapiro from PharmSource, a Global Data Company, Eric Langer from Bioplan Associates and Kevin Sharp from Samsung Biologics.
Aside from industry-focused content and information, I’d also encourage attendees to join our Mindful Working series. These sessions have been designed to offer tips and strategies for dealing with stress and uncertainty, and on managing the home working environment.
CPhI Discover, scheduled May 17-28, includes webinars and podcasts covering a range of topics. Content will be broadcast in the first week, then on-demand during week two, which is focused on virtual meetings and networking. For more information, visit bit.ly/3h3M5bz.