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In Case You Missed It: Three Things We Learned in Our CDMO Webinar

If you missed it, the recording is available here. If you’re short on time, here are three of the key points that I took away from the session. Our speakers included Amanda Micklus from the Norstella consulting team, and Vince Spurr, one of our CDMO experts. Perhaps more importantly, we were joined by Matt Hewitt of Charles River Laboratories, and Jenny Gattari from Pfizer CentreOne, so we were not short of insights!
1. We’re back to a pre-Covid normal
Many biotechs are struggling with funding so our panel talked about the downstream effect on CDMOs. However, Matt Hewitt considers that we’re just back to a pre-Covid normal and that the past few years were an aberration with excessive funding actually damaging the industry. One area of discussion was about how CDMOs can help biotechs to unlock funding, particularly now that pharma/CDMO relationships are generally starting earlier in the development cycle. The ability for CDMOs to help craft statements of work that align to a workflow – and having a CDMO lined up for the next stage can build confidence from investors and help with the next tranche of funding.
2. The industry is becoming a victim of its own success
While funding is a key challenge, the next issue is people and the need to access a skilled workforce to support more complex processes presented by the shift from small molecules to advanced therapies. Forward-thinking CDMOs are finding ways to expand the pool of potential workers by, for example, partnering with universities and technical colleges. Another approach we talked about was on providing high-quality internships within the CDMO environment, and less focus on long degree programmes. Experience is showing that this builds greater loyalty from staff, and boosts retention. There are lots of people keen to get into an industry that helps people, so it’s important to look at ways to remove barriers and upskill a new workforce.
3. It’s all about relationships
As Tom Wilson from Pfizer CentreOne noted in his recent guest blog post for us, the relationship between a biopharma company and a CDMO is critical – and getting more so. Jenny talked about the importance of “meeting the customer where they’re at” while Matt focused on establishing trust at multiple levels. A great CDMO won’t just respond to an RFP; they’ll help the client to go beyond it to make the process more robust. Most CDMOs have seen it all when it comes to RFPs – from two-to-three pagers to 90+ page documents. Helping to make the process as seamless as possible, and ensuring partners establish a good capability match from the start, is a really strong foundation for a long-term relationship.
As always with these summaries, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The panel also covered some data summarising the growth drivers in the market, the future for advanced modalities, consolidation in the CDMO market and much more. The on-demand version is available here – I can assure you that it’s 40 minutes very well spent!


Carolyn Hall

Director, Content & Thought Leadership Marketing


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