Digital Solutions & Disruptive Technologies Transforming the Future Landscape of Biopharma Manufacturing


In this Pharmaceutical Commerce video interview, Barry Heavey, Life Sciences Supply Chain Lead, Accenture, discusses what innovative digital solutions and disruptive technologies he sees transforming the landscape of biopharma manufacturing in the future.

With the rise of personalized medicine and targeted therapies, the biopharma industry needs to be more flexible and adaptable. What innovative digital solutions or disruptive technologies do you foresee transforming the landscape of biopharma manufacturing in the future?

So, in parallel to the digital technologies that are going to help in making factories more flexible, companies have been thinking a lot about physical infrastructure that can make factories more flexible. So, moving away from maybe traditional production technology, which was fixed in place and piped and plumbed and so on. So for the last five years has seen a big focus on moving towards flex factories, where single use equipment can be wheeled in on skids and make the factory very agile and very flexible. But that puts a lot of stress on the workers, because every day the factory looks different. They walk into effectively now what they call a ballroom in the factory, and it could be laid out differently or laboratory to how it was laid out yesterday.

I think the ability to use digital tools to guide the worker in executing their tasks flawlessly in that ever-changing environment where new technology is in the factory from day to day, new setups, new rigs, new combinations of technology are being set up all the time, I think that's going to be really, really important. The other area of opportunity is to improve the collaboration between the people in research and development, who develop the recipes, and the people in the factory who execute the recipes and the methods and the processes. Because if you have that really strong knowledge handover, from the developers, to the makers, and back from the makers of the drug back to the developers of the recipe, you will have the ability for everything to improve faster on the right first time rates to improve so that you don't have this kind of clunkiness at the handover between a new process being handed over to people who are used to dealing with an old process.

So, we believe that tools like product lifecycle management systems that are used in other R&D intensive industries to support knowledge management, between R&D and manufacturing, we think they're going to be hugely important in in improving agility and flexibility and responsiveness to new technology coming from R&D in the future.

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