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Panel discussion: Tech renaissance in pharma

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As the pharma sector undergoes a transformation, technology has become a key factor to gain a competitive advantage. Therefore, the first panel discussion at Pharma CXO Summit 2019 was on the ‘Tech renaissance in pharma.’ Pharma veteran SG Belapure moderated the interesting panel discussion which comprised experts such as Dr Firdosh S Gardin, Head – External Supply Operations India Cluster, Novartis India; Rashmi Ranjan Patra, Independent Pharma Advisor and Sanjay Jain, Executive Vice President – Operations at Amneal Pharmaceuticals. They discussed on the need for rapid adoption of information and automation technology across the entire pharma chain to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of existing operational systems.

The discussion touched upon various aspects such as the role of technology in ensuring regulatory compliance, meeting product specific demands, improving user experience, gaining a competitive edge and deriving a major differentiator in the value chain, be it about building a culture of compliance, enabling transparency, or eliminating data integrity issues. They said that Industry 4.0 in pharma will be characterised by factors such as smart manufacturing, intelligent supply chains, predictive maintenance, AI-based decisions etc. Therefore, digitalisation and automation will be significant in the next phase of growth.

Pointing out that the life sciences industry is becoming more proactive and progressive, panelists stated that automation is getting adopted in a big way across functions in the pharma industry. They pointed out that technology is enabling the industry in the development of next generation of capabilities, be it understanding business and regulatory environments, robust product manufacturing, improving operational processes or scaling-up/launching of products from R&D.

Measures and strategies that pharma companies need to take to become future-ready were also discussed. The leaders explored the development of more astute models for the pharma sector to deal with the requirements of the future. The experts were emphatic that success and sustainability of pharma companies would depend on the selection and implementation of the right technology in the right place. They concluded the discussion with the advice that pharma companies should invest in disruptive technologies to tap the opportunities in areas like personalised medicines, biosimilars and implantable devices.

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