Thanks to online conferencing technology, not even COVID-19 managed to bring in-person pharmaceutical gatherings to a complete stop. However, industry professionals are looking forward to getting together face to face again; the producers of CPhI North America are offering the option to gather in the real world (Philadelphia, to be precise) or the virtual realm.
Outsourcing-Pharma recently chatted about the new event format, and the sessions on the conference agenda, with two representatives of show producer Informa Markets:
- Tara Dougal, head of content and insights for pharma
- Anthony Pombal, brand director of the Americas
OSP: COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on the industry, to greatly understate things. How has COVID-19 affected CPhI’s events (CPhI North America, and others)?
AP: Initially, of course, it halted virtually all pharma events, which is why the industry is so keen to meet, partner, and learn again. But there were several positives to come out of this as we adapted to industry needs.
I believe we have greatly accelerated the use of hybrid and digital solutions to complement traditional in-person offerings and, increasingly, we will see pharma suppliers and buyers using our digital connection tools to pre-qualify leads ahead of events and empower them with higher quality meetings in person.
The other adaptation is to ensure attendee safety, and all across Informa, we are using the AllSecure standard – an intensive set of hygiene and safety protocols.
OSP: Please share some of the reasons why you decided to go hybrid with CPhI NA for 2021—what are the benefits of the compromise between in-person and virtual, versus going fully one way or the other?
AP: We see it as the best of both worlds. For example, one of the great benefits of running a hybrid event is that it allows more time for content and learning opportunities, so rather than having to combine meetings with onsite content over two days, you can watch these at your leisure over a two-week period and take in much more industry insights and concentrate on meetings at the event. But the most important factor in a hybrid approach, in period where we still many travel restrictions, is that it gives much greater flexibility to take part in the international pharma community – whether you are fortunate enough to come to Philadelphia or opt to take part from the other side of the world.
The other aspect we are very excited about is the Swapcard platform, which offers online networking both prior to the event and after, and it’s another example of how digital tools are improving both virtual access, but also the in-person experience. In fact, you can run all of your meetings and content through the platform and download all of your new contacts after the event.
OSP: Please share some program highlights from this year’s agenda—what sessions, presentations, networking opportunities, etc. would you especially like potential attendees to know about?
TD: This year’s agenda celebrates innovation, progress, and diversity in the US pharma market. Despite the challenges of the past year, we wanted to focus on positive outcomes and the valuable lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, we have sessions that champion collaborative efforts towards vaccine development (Innovation in the Race to Develop COVID-19 Vaccines) examine how to maintain supply chain continuity (Building Supply Chain Resiliency through Responsible Sourcing), and question how our industry can ensure preparedness for future events (COVID-19, the Future of Healthcare and Pandemics).
One of my top picks is our panel discussion on How Diversity of Leadership can Incite Change for Patients from all Backgrounds. We have an amazing line-up of expert speakers tackling the importance of intersectional diversity across pharma to ensure the needs of all patient groups are met.
Lastly, our Learning Lab sessions are a great example of the scale and scope of product innovation that continues to emerge from the industry. We have a great variety of sessions that cover everything from HPAPIs and inhaled drug delivery, to spray drying and compliance. These sessions are no longer than 20 minutes each, allowing attendees to get a comprehensive overview of a topic in a short timeframe.”
OSP: Could you please share some detail about the three conference streams, including who they’re geared toward and content highlights from each?
TD: We shaped our agenda around the key pillars which matter most to the CPhI audience – market insights and dynamics, new approaches to old problems, and a glimpse into future trends and developments – hence our three central tracks:
US Market Insights
Beyond the implications of COVID-19, the US has undergone a huge shift in the past year with the election and new Biden administration and we wanted to focus on what this means for the world’s biggest pharma market and those who operate in it. In this stream we examine deal-making (M&A Climate & Current Market Dynamics), pricing and reimbursement strategies (How Will the New Administration Impact the US Pharma Market), and the CDMO landscape (US Pharmaceutical Market Outlook 2021: CDMO Deal Making in a Pandemic and Beyond).
Understanding new approaches, applications and technologies is what keeps the industry going, and our Learning Lab series focuses on innovation in products and services from leading pharma companies like Lonza, Hovione, Vectura, and Datwyler.
This track is dedicated to what the future of pharma might look like. We examine how AI and machine learning have the potential to reduce costs and improve drug development success rates in De-Risking Drug Development with Digital and question how COVID-19 may create a legacy of accelerated drug development in the long term (The Lasting Impact of COVID-19 on Drug Development). This track is for anyone looking to stay one step ahead.
OSP: Could you please share some detail about the Quality & Safety Management in Drug Development podcast series? How did you decide upon that format, who will be presenting, etc?
TD: Podcasts are a great vehicle for content – they are easily accessible, short soundbites that work really nicely for interviews – and this is why we chose to include some non-webinar-based sessions in our agenda.
The two-part series explores pharmacovigilance, the important process of testing and analysis in the development of safe and effective medicines. We have experts from IPEC-Americas, a trade association that promotes quality standards of excipients and the Institute of Pharmacovigilance discussing Titanium dioxide safety concerns and the far-reaching implications if the ingredient is banned as well as how to plans to address the sectors skill gap with the ISoP Career Framework for Pharmacovigilance Professionals currently under development to elevate the pharmacovigilance profession globally.
The hybrid CPhI North America event takes place August 10-12 online and in Philadelphia. For more information or to register, visit the CPhI website at CPhI.com.