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Building a more resilient biopharmaceutical industry

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a wake-up call for governments, highlighting the need for increased government engagement and support for the biopharmaceutical industry. Although some positive changes have been made, further improvements are needed to meet the needs of biopharmaceutical companies. The Global Biopharma Resilience Index – a report compiled by Cytiva to provide insight into the current state of the biopharmaceutical industry and its ability to meet future challenges – highlights several ways government engagement can help build industry resilience. highlighted the area of

technology network talked to Conor McKechnie, vice president of strategy and marketing at Cytiva, discusses the biopharmaceutical resilience index and the need to bring new therapies to market faster and ensure global availability of life-saving medicines. learn about changes.

Anna MacDonald (AM): “Building resilience” is a popular term for what the biopharmaceutical industry needs to do to prepare for the next pandemic. What does that mean for you at Cytiva?

Connor McKennie (CM): Simply put, this builds on what we already know and have done, and builds on what we’ve learned as we serve our customers through the pandemic, so in the future, more people’s so that we can serve you better. Increased access to life-changing treatments is already transforming human health, and resilience is essential to ensuring what we are working on as a sector. The industry is mature enough, and setting it up for long-term success is a formidable multidisciplinary challenge.

AM: What is Cytiva’s Biopharma Resilience Index and what can we learn from it?

CM: This is a study we published in 2021 and is currently reviewing with additional data focusing on the role of policymakers and governments. The 2021 report ranked the strength and credibility of the global biopharmaceutical industry. We interviewed 1,000 senior pharmaceutical company executives and healthcare policy makers. They spoke of the struggle to access the right talent, bottlenecks in the R&D ecosystem, the role of governments involved, and the need for manufacturing flexibility and robust supply chains. For each challenge, the report suggests that the industry can create a more resilient future by doing things such as establishing more flexible manufacturing capacity and considering rational domestic production to strengthen global supply chains. recommends how to build

morning: Government policy and regulation is one of the areas covered in the report. How has the regulatory environment changed during COVID? Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

CM: The rapid review and approval of COVID-19 vaccines has shown that they can be as innovative as an industry regulated by regulators. The pandemic has also shown how important the life sciences sector is to public health. As a result, we see a lot of government rhetoric about enabling investment and industry success. In fact, nearly half of the industry leaders surveyed for Cytiva’s Biopharma Resilience Index expect increased communication between government representatives and biopharmaceutical executives.

The challenge is to maintain momentum and translate intentions into policy and sustained investment. As a biopharmaceutical company, we have a responsibility to keep industry needs at the top of government agendas. The UK Bioindustry Association, for example, advocates in multiple key areas, from tax credits to integrated healthcare systems, creating a favorable environment for the industry to thrive.

AM: What do you see as the government’s role in working with biopharmaceutical companies?

CM: Much of the future of medicine depends on the convergence of biology, engineering, materials science and information technology. Governments should provide a supporting base to foster interdisciplinary cooperation. This enables innovative science to lead to commercial success wherever it comes from. Of course, that requires long-term, stable investments in science and innovation, but at the same time fostering interdisciplinary career paths to build a talent pipeline for highly valued work in science and technology. is also required. All of this depends on whether a country is globally competitive in its policies.

These things need to be clearly focused and the approach must be non-political. Contributor from the United Kingdom According to our Biopharmaceutical Resilience Index, the country has ambitions to become a leader in the life sciences by expanding innovation from top universities and institutions. We’ve seen public-private partnerships and open collaboration models like Stevenage and Cambridge work. However, UK researchers may lose access to EU-funded research programs, as well as decades of UK-European scientific relationships and collaborations, so they cannot transfer their research to real-world applications. There is a very real risk that this prized focus of transforming into may be thwarted. The loss of these important collaborations will not strengthen the UK’s international scientific base.

Ultimately, the goal is for more people to benefit from the constant advances in medicine. Consider what really needs to be put in place to enable the focused work that the pandemic has required, and apply it to a range of equally pressing ailments such as cancer treatments, chronic diseases and, of course, infectious diseases. should be applied to the field.

AM: What is ultimately required to maintain momentum and bring new therapies to market faster?

CM: R&D can only get you so far. Manufacturing capability and flexibility are key to accelerating future therapies. In the long term, the need for biotechnology products will continue to grow. His 2021 report in Bioplan says his 50% of therapeutic candidates in drug research and development are biopharmaceuticals. Cytiva is implementing plans to expand manufacturing capacity for life sciences products at 13 Cytiva and Pall Life Sciences sites. The plan was accelerated by the pandemic, but made before the pandemic.

Our commitment goes beyond providing products and services. It’s about enabling customers, especially therapeutic manufacturers, to scale up and optimize their processes through digital tools and automation. Ultimately, we all have a role to play, from biopharmaceuticals to regulators to governments, and it’s important to stay focused on making it work for patients at the end of the process.

AM: Where do you see the industry in five years in terms of resilience and innovation?

CM: Five years is not a long time in the biotech industry. At the same time, the field is accelerating. We would be in a better place than at the start of his COVID-19. Advances in biovigilance and sequencing mean earlier warnings. Global collaboration starts faster. Advancements such as those driven by mRNA technology platforms mean that effective vaccines with less reliance on the cold chain can be developed and approved faster. We hope that manufacturing will be more decentralized and access will be fairer. The COVID-19 vaccine has saved an estimated 20 million lives in his first year of approval. Big impact next time.

However, in some cases it cannot be changed. Political-motivated vaccine nationalism will remain a real threat. We are not safe until everyone is safe. And even with developed economies, many countries still have a skills gap. For example, the Open University in the UK and the British Chamber of Commerce found that 70% of companies across all sectors face skills shortages. The UK government believes it will need an additional 150,000 researchers and engineers by 2030 to meet its R&D targets. As an industry, we need to understand these challenges if we are to unlock the full potential of life sciences and deliver its benefits to patients.

Conor McKechnie was talking to Anna MacDonald, Science Writer at Technology Networks.