After the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted its regularly scheduled annual program, the Drug, Chemical, and Associated Technologies Association (DCAT) flagship event, DCAT Week, is coming back in person, March 21-24. Geared toward professionals involved in roles across the bio/pharma value chain, the event enables DCAT member companies to network, sit in on education sessions, and otherwise form connections.
To learn about what’s in store for the 2022 agenda, Outsourcing-Pharma connected with two group leaders:
- Kerri McCullough Wood, DCAT president, and senior vice president/head of commercial for Teva API and Medis (two global businesses within Teva Pharmaceuticals)
- Margaret Timony, executive director of DCAT
OSP: Can you share with us the thinking that DCAT went through in coming to that decision some of the benefits of meeting face to face (versus over a computer)?
KMW: A meeting of DCAT member companies has a history of nearly 95 years. For many of our members, DCAT Week is their most important event all year, so we needed to make it available to them again.
Although we've proven that virtual meetings have worked over the last two years, there is no substitute for an opportunity to meet in person, clearly communicate ideas, and develop a personal rapport with customers and suppliers. The model of DCAT Week is what works best for them.
MT: We expect that DCAT Week 2022 may be the first in-person event that many of our member companies have attended since before the pandemic, and we are committed to providing a safe and healthy experience for all of our attendees. We will follow the necessary protocols that seven official DCAT Week hotels are under with the city of New York that require all attendees in DCAT-hosted areas to be vaccinated.
We've heard from many of our member companies that they are pleased that we are not backing away from COVID-19 protocols. We all know that it is the best way to honor the tremendous work and sacrifices, so many of our members made to bring vaccines to the entire world. I, for one, am super proud to work and serve this particular community within the pharmaceutical industry. DCAT’s full COVID-19 policy is available on our website.
OSP: Will DCAT Week have any online elements for those who can’t travel? If so, please share.
KMW: Of course, the main draw of DCAT Week is the opportunity for our member companies to hold high-level, private, strategic meetings with customers and suppliers in their business meeting space. However, we anticipate that many of our member companies may have some remote or digital component to their meetings. They are offered various audiovisual options within each of our official hotels when necessary.
MT: We understand that our members may not be able to have the flexibility to travel to New York to attend company meetings as well as our education programs. For those reasons, we will be doing a more in-depth summary of programs in our weekly DCAT Value Chain Insights newsletter immediately following DCAT Week.
We will also be offering a transcript of the Q&A sessions of our DCAT Week Supply Management Program as well as online follow-up programs throughout the summer and fall. The topic of “HerMoney,” presented at DCAT Week’s Women’s Networking Breakfast, will also be extended to an additional online program in May. Our speaker, financial guru, Jeanne Chatzky, has already been contracted to do so.
Finally, our members will be able to download the upcoming report, Incorporating Sustainability in the Bio/Pharmaceutical Supply Chain, which was developed by the DCAT Research and Benchmarking Committee. Although the findings will be presented at DCAT Week, we will also provide an online program if there is demand.
Representatives of DCAT member companies who cannot travel should contact our office, and we will find ways to accommodate them for programs they won’t be able to attend.
OSP: I imagine COVID-19 might come up in some of the discussions. Could you please share your thoughts on how the virus and pandemic impacted the industry and how those impacts and innovations might be reflected in the meetings and education programs?
KMW: Without question, the pandemic has underscored the importance of innovation in the bio/pharma industry and how impactful that innovation is to the health and well-being of people around the world.
So many factors came into play to bring COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics to fruition: top scientific/technical talent, manufacturing, and supply-chain expertise, collaboration. These were all behind the ability of the industry to move at an unprecedented pace of innovation and to meet the equally immense task of supplying products at a large scale under accelerated timelines. All this was done while progressing pipelines and delivering other marketed products.
A fundamental question then arises: What’s next for the industry? The DCAT Week education programs examine this from both a product innovation view and a manufacturing/supply-chain view. In a new program, The Innovation Leaders, Aamir Malik (executive vice president and chief innovation officer of Pfizer) will discuss what he sees as the key issues shaping current and future drug development, including new R&D models and partnering strategies.
Leaders from Lilly, Merck, and Evonik will discuss the new supply-chain paradigm evolving between bio/pharma companies and suppliers at the Executive Insights program. They will address many of the issues that we, as an industry, are dealing with—how to further mitigate supply risk, improve supply-chain security, and manage raw materials sourcing, including lead times.
All our stakeholders want the pharmaceutical sector to show improvement in these areas and it is crucial that we try to achieve it, so, it will definitely be an engaging and informative dialogue.
OSP: Another new program at DCAT Week is Supply Chain Digitalization, Business Analytics, and Technology Applications, which is the product of a collaboration between Michigan State University and DCAT. Can you tell us about that?
MT: DCAT and its volunteer-led Supply Management Committee are proud to partner with Michigan State University’s (MSU) top-ranked Department of Supply Chain Management on a series of four education programs in 2022.
The partnership kicks off during DCAT Week (on Wednesday, March 23), with the program, Supply Chain Digitalization, Business Analytics, and Technology Applications, presented by Cheri Speier-Pero, the Ernst & Young Professor in Accounting and Information Systems and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs at MSU’s Broad College of Business. Dr. Speier-Pero will discuss technology’s accelerating impact on the Bio/Pharmaceutical supply chain and how this affects day-to-day operations and the digital connections between supply-chain partners and procedures.
Following the one-hour presentation, attendees are invited to stay for an extended 30-minute Q&A to ask questions directly of the presenter. If they can’t because of other meeting obligations, we plan to provide them with a Q&A transcript. We are pleased to offer this one-of-a-kind learning opportunity as an added benefit to DCAT member companies.
OSP: Can you tell us about the Pharma Industry Outlook program?
KMW: The Pharma Industry Outlook program is one of our most popular programs at DCAT Week, and for good reason. Featuring Graham Lewis (vice president of global pharma strategy at IQVIA), the program provides an in-depth market overview of the current and projected performance of the bio/pharma industry: the latest market data and trends. Graham’s one-hour presentation is an invaluable resource to gain a comprehensive yet time-efficient view of what market forces are shaping the industry and what should be on decision-makers' radar.
In addition, the program will also provide a Wall Street view of the CDMO/CMO sector by Daniel Cohen, managing director and global head of healthcare services investment banking at RBC Capital Markets. He will provide a financial overview of the CDMO/CMO sector: performance, investor valuations, key M&A activity, and other trends.
OSP: What other programs will be offered at DCAT Week?
MT: DCAT Week kicks off with the Member Company Announcement Forum, where senior executives from our Member Companies provide short presentations detailing major news announcements from their companies. The forum provides a way to hear directly from those companies making the most impactful news to the bio/pharmaceutical manufacturing value chain; it allows our member companies to hear this news first at DCAT Week.
OSP: Are there any other program features you’d like to share?
MT: DCAT Week wouldn’t be the same without a big finish for our members. We are thrilled to welcome Academy Award-winning actress Nicole Kidman to our stage at the New York Hilton on Thursday, March 24. Annual dinner chairperson Sally Macaluso of Johnson & Johnson will lead the A-List movie star in a discussion about leading her best life through both career and family, as well as her passion for philanthropy and enriching the lives she can touch.
OSP: Is there anything you’d like to add?
MT: We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of the pharmaceutical industry for the development of vaccines that made it possible for us to be back together in person. In addition to vaccine developers Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, many of our DCAT member companies played a significant role in developing, manufacturing, and supplying the COVID-19 vaccines—and continue to do so.
We couldn't be prouder. We look forward to seeing everyone.