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Process Portability: The Key to Supply Chain Resilience

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The recent wave of CDMO acquisitions, COVID-19, and global geopolitical uncertainty has underscored the need for pharmaceutical companies to future-proof their manufacturing operations against potential disruptions. In such a climate, Process Portability emerges as a strategic imperative, offering pharmaceutical companies a proactive approach to safeguarding their operations.

In today's dynamic pharmaceutical landscape, the recent surge in Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) acquisitions (along with the impact of geopolitical events and COVID-19) has sparked concerns about potential disruptions to drug supply chains. As industry giants consolidate their operations, pharmaceutical companies face the daunting task of ensuring uninterrupted access to critical medications for patients worldwide. Amidst these challenges, the concept of "Process Portability" emerges as a beacon of resilience, offering a strategic framework to mitigate risks and maintain operational continuity.

What is Process Portability?

At its core, Process Portability refers to the ability to transfer manufacturing processes seamlessly across different facilities or locations without compromising product quality or efficiency. It hinges on a deep understanding of the underlying principles of drug manufacturing, enabling companies to adapt swiftly to changing circumstances while upholding regulatory standards and compliance requirements.

Why Process Portability Matters
Now More than Ever.

The recent wave of CDMO acquisitions, COVID-19, and global geopolitical uncertainty has underscored the need for pharmaceutical companies to future-proof their manufacturing operations against potential disruptions. Such events often lead to great uncertainty surrounding the continuity of services, including process development and manufacturing support. This uncertainty can have far-reaching implications for pharmaceutical manufacturers, ranging from delays in production timelines to risks of supply shortages.

In such a climate, Process Portability emerges as a strategic imperative, offering pharmaceutical companies a proactive approach to safeguarding their operations. By investing in Process Portability initiatives, companies can minimize the impact of CDMO acquisitions and ensure uninterrupted access to essential medications for patients in need.

Key Benefits of Process Portability:

  1. Operational Flexibility. Process Portability enables pharmaceutical companies to diversify their manufacturing footprint and reduce reliance on a single CDMO or facility. This flexibility empowers companies to respond swiftly to market changes, regulatory requirements, and unforeseen disruptions, ensuring continuity of supply.

  2. Risk Mitigation. By developing a deep understanding of their manufacturing processes and implementing robust process transfer protocols, companies can mitigate the risks associated with CDMO acquisitions. Process Portability allows for seamless transitions between different manufacturing sites, minimizing the impact on production schedules and regulatory compliance.

  3. Cost Efficiency. Process Portability offers long-term cost savings by optimizing manufacturing processes and maximizing resource utilization across multiple sites. By streamlining operations and minimizing downtime associated with process transfers, companies can enhance efficiency and competitiveness in the marketplace.

  4. Regulatory Compliance. Maintaining consistent product quality and regulatory compliance is paramount in the pharmaceutical industry. Process Portability ensures that manufacturing processes adhere to regulatory standards across all sites, facilitating compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and other regulatory requirements.

Unlocking Process Portability Through a
“Science-first” Manufacturing Approach.


Achieving Process Portability necessitates a paradigm shift in the relationship between medicine owners and their Contract Development and Manufacturing Organizations (CDMOs). Traditionally, CDMOs prioritize manufacturing over development due to their emphasis on maximizing plant utilization. Consequently, development often takes a backseat and is treated as a loss leader to secure long-term manufacturing contracts. This business model, however, typically lacks a rigorous scientific approach essential for robust process development and manufacturing. As a result, processes may lack the robustness required to transcend the confines of the CDMO's facility. While this setup may benefit the CDMO, it falls short of meeting the needs of the medicine owner.

Thus, in an ideal world the medicine owner's relationship with their CDMO should be grounded in the following key elements:

  1. Radical Collaboration for Comprehensive Process Understanding: Fostering a culture of open and transparent data, information, and knowledge sharing, allowing both parties to gain a holistic understanding of the explicit and tacit aspects that contribute to the smooth functioning of the process.

  2. Risk Assessment: Identifying potential risks and challenges associated with process transfer and developing mitigation strategies to address them proactively.

  3. Technology Integration: Leveraging advanced technologies and digital solutions to standardize processes, enhance data visibility and information sharing, and facilitate knowledge transfer between sites.

Conclusion

Process Portability is a strategic imperative for pharmaceutical companies navigating CDMO acquisitions and market dynamics. By investing in Process Portability initiatives, companies can enhance operational resilience, mitigate risks, and ensure uninterrupted access to life-saving medications. As the pharmaceutical landscape evolves, Process Portability remains vital for innovation, efficiency, and getting medicine to patients, faster.

Learn more about CMC: Chemistry Manufacturing & Controls – But who's really in control?

Watch the Q&A session where APC Experts Define ‘Process Portability’

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