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Promoting Successful CMO Collaboration in the Life Sciences Industry

Date: 02 October 2019

As the life sciences industry transitions towards complex biopharmaceuticals and highly customized devices and treatments for patients, supply chain operations is also becoming increasingly complex. In the recent report, Dare To Be Different: It’s time to revamp collaboration in life sciences contract manufacturing[1], Accenture describes how life sciences companies and contract manufacturing organizations must rise to the challenge by transforming the way they collaborate. This means that top pharmaceutical and biotech organizations must now be concerned not only with the level of talent within their own organizations but also the quality within the CMO partners they collaborate with.

Julia Daigle, a recruitment Consultant at DSJ Global, Life Sciences Procurement & Supply Chain, has observed a steady increase in the number of life sciences companies outsourcing manufacturing from the manufacturing of drugs to the packaging and fulfillment of orders. The benefits of using Contract Manufacturing Operations (CMOs) include being able to manufacture smaller batches more cost effectively and getting products to the market quickly. This has created additional functions on both sides of the industry, where collaboration and technical capability are a central focus. 

In Dare To Be Different, Accenture reported that 91 percent of biopharma and medical device company survey respondents plan to expand their use of CMOs over the next three years, and 78 percent of the CMO respondents indicated they intend to increase capacity by expanding their technology platforms and niche services. 

Issues companies continue to face as they move towards better CMO collaboration are in areas such as quality management, lack of IT capabilities, and operational inefficiencies during tech transfers and regulatory scrutiny. Many companies are looking to address these inefficiencies by bringing in new talent with heightened skillsets, especially technically, but if they are not addressed within organizations, the transition towards manufacturing increasingly complex products will be rocky. 

Digital collaboration in life sciences manufacturing will ease the transition

Industry leaders have analyzed the pain points that brand owners and CMOs experience during the collaborative process and have proposed solutions. Improved digital collaboration will be the linchpin that will transform brand sponsor-CMO relationships.

The first step to promote successful collaboration is for the brand CMO to have a legal agreement granting the CMO access to relevant data [2]. The second step is to work on a common digital platform to allow both parties to exchange and manage data. The real-time exchange and tech transfer will reduce process risks, result in more control of intellectual property, and dramatically increase quality control. 

The third strategy to improve collaboration is to establish key performance indicators (KPIs). The adage, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” is particularly apt in an industry in which precision matters most. By continually monitoring and communicating, both parties can take corrective actions and streamline processes. 

Building long-term partnerships with CMOs

Sponsor brands will find it beneficial to build long-term partnerships with CMOs, particularly as the products become more sophisticated. “As the trend in pharma is aiming to rely more heavily on CMO’s to manufacturer their products, it’s important to hire individuals with the right skillsets so that the CMO’s can align with the biopharma companies for which they manufacture products,” says Daigle. 
 
DSJ Global can help attract talent by utilizing its own network and media platforms that give access to potential candidates in this space. “We are able to source for these specialized skills from a large pool, which is especially beneficial for smaller CMO’s. When they choose to work with DSJ Global, we will increase knowledge of clients’ brands and their own visibility in the market,” explains Daigle. 

 

[1] https://www.accenture.com/ca-en/insights/life-sciences/life-sciences-supply-chain-collaboration

[2] https://www.contractpharma.com/issues/2011-11/view_features/managing-cmo-networks