How Industry X.0 can help make pharma businesses more innovative

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January 05, 2018
How Industry X.0 can help make pharma businesses more innovative
By: Barry Heavey

How Industry X.0 Can Help Make Pharma Businesses More Innovative

I’ve been discussing Accenture’s new Industry X.0 framework in the context of pharma. By putting in place this framework, pharma manufacturers can future-proof their businesses, creating operations that can easily absorb new technologies as they emerge, drive efficiencies and keep ahead of digital disruption.

The manufacturing imperative

For me, it’s the latter of these benefits that is most exciting. While, efficiency will always be important as a key enabler for margin growth, in today’s pharma market innovation is everything. This is because the market is more challenging than ever. The days of blockbuster drugs are over: profit is no longer assured, and pharma businesses must do more to bring new products to market more quickly, differentiate their existing products and develop their markets. If they are to do so effectively, I believe manufacturers need to embrace data-centric innovation that draws on next-generation Product Lifecycle Management and Industry X.0 technologies and processes.

Integrating the business

The first step is for Pharmaceutical companies to change the way they think about themselves. Pharma businesses typically view themselves as a science driven discovery businesses: R&D are driven by the biology and make a discovery in the lab of a new potential wonder drug, and perhaps some preliminary work is done on a manufacturing process to make enough drug to test in trials.  The asset is then often “thrown over the wall” into manufacturing for scale up and routine production and this doesn’t always go well.   Little consideration is given towards designing the product for manufacturing because the discovery scientists are focusing on treating the biology – but it shouldn’t be impossible for this industry to learn from other industries where there is much more cross talk between R&D & supply chain. 

However, these businesses will increasingly fall behind manufacturers that are integrating their business units and collecting data on their products and processes right across the value chain. These businesses are generating huge volumes of data on manufacturing, logistics and after-market processes that can be used to improve time-to-market and enhance portfolio analytics, manage product information end-to-end and create collaboration platforms based on a single source of truth.

This may start to change as companies are starting to work off common product scaffolds (such as monoclonal antibodies), new flexible manufacturing technology (such as single use bioreactors) and common “added features” of the drug (e.g. carefully designed and highly advanced drug packaging and delivery systems).  This strategic approach which provide a degree of commonality and aggregated learning/continuous improvement between the development cycle of different products and processes

Data-centric manufacture

What also sets Industry X.0 companies apart, is how they use this data. By seamlessly integrating data across their operations, leading manufacturers can use it to improve the design of products and create new after-market services. For example, a manufacturer can collect data on how a drug delivery system (e.g. a “smart” autoinjector or patch pump) is used by patients to improve the design of that system and gain insights that will assist when they look to put other drugs onto that platform. This data-empowered manufacturer will be able to make rational decisions balancing patient experience and supply chain challenges.  They will also be aware of any impact/risks this design will have in both manufacturing/COGS/inventory/logistics and will be able to make plans to minimise these impacts and keep production on track.

Industry X.0 provides pharma businesses with a way to manage product and process data to achieve new insights that can drive efficiency and innovation. This involves a redesign of core engineering and production systems around digital, as well as integrating all data siloes in the organisation: R&D, supply chain and commercial. Manufacturers that can make this transformation will unlock new paths to differentiation and put themselves in a better position to succeed in today’s more challenging pharma market. Those that don’t put future growth at risk.




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