Current Edition

Current Trends in Pharma Production and Manufacturing

Through a series of exclusive interviews and a survey of industry insiders, Connect in Pharma identifies the top trends in pharmaceutical manufacturing for 2023.

A new report just published from Connect in Pharma highlights a range of forces shaping the future of the pharmaceutical manufacturing and drug-delivery industry in Europe, from machine learning and connected devices to eco-friendly strategies. According to the report, which drew on both exclusive interviews and a survey of industry leaders, manufacturers need to invest in robotics and artificial intelligence, train and hire to ensure workers have the new skills needed and build new partnerships to continue to survive and thrive in the future of pharma production.

The report lists the following trends expected to make the most impact in the coming year:

1. Manufacturing is Still Playing Digital Catchup: Almost three-quarters of respondents indicated that AI and other digital tools are not yet part of their production lines. “In some aspects, pharma is behind other sectors because it sees itself as within the R&D sector, not the manufacturing sector. It’s not behind in the digitisation of R&D, but it is when it comes to manufacturing,” said Henrik Von Scheel, who is widely regarded as the originator of Industry 4.0.

2. The industry is seeing an explosion of advances within the field of drug delivery devices: Three areas facing marked innovation and posed for market expansion include the inhalable biologics market, long-acting injectable formulations and connected devices that aim to improve the effectiveness and adherence of medications. Half of the survey respondents confirmed that their company is or will be involved in developing, manufacturing, or packaging drugs that are inhaled, with dry powder inhalers and nasal delivery devices revealed as the most popular formulations.

3. Sustainability: The survey revealed that two-thirds of companies are or will be involved in developing more sustainable practices. Of these, nearly all identified company-led strategy as a key driver, with regulations, individual or departmental initiatives and long-term cost savings also driving change.

Katherine Dixon, a partner at Bain & Company who specialises in energy transition, was one of eleven specialists interviewed for the report. “Companies in the pharmaceutical sector really need to be thinking about how their market is going to change because it’s going to change radically, whether it’s driven by customer behaviour, technology transition, or a huge pile of a policy that’s coming down the track. The world is moving. Understanding how their business is set up to manage the different future scenarios is going to be critical,” said Dixon.

Industry insiders said companies in the sector can remain competitive by forging new partnerships and collaborations, growing their investments in tech-driven innovations, and renewing their focus on patients.

“These trends are addressed in detail in this new report, and they will be further explored in even greater detail at 2023 Connect in Pharma event,” said Renan Joel, Divisional Managing Director at Easyfairs. “Industry leaders can use this free report to get a sense of how they stack up against others in the industry, and then network and learn from experts by attending the event in Geneva.”