Biopharma Trends To Consider Now
In a changed landscape, visionary leaders are evolving new strategies.
Which breakthrough trends will impact future manufacturing, production and biopharma supply chains? And which are here to stay?
1. Get breakthrough solutions to market, faster
The goal to bring new products to market faster is reflected right across Asia. There’s significant investment across all sub-sectors of healthcare start-ups, including med-tech and biopharma, where more players are expected in fields like cell, gene therapies and small molecules.
2. Go for green: environment-friendly packaging
One Asian life science company successfully distributes IVF culture media to as many as 14 countries – across what are often 96-hour journeys – using Medpak VI°C, a recyclable rent-and-return solution. Others are using the service to distribute products like heart valves. These companies don’t buy Medpak boxes – they simply pay for use. The 100% recyclable packaging is then collected and re-used.
3. Re-define and re-think supply chain
It’s no longer about ‘Plan A’ in the face of unforeseen events such as COVID-19. It’s about Plan B and Plan C, and even a back-up strategy for those scenarios. And it’s pushing logistics teams to re-configure supply chains, all the way from design to navigation and operations.
Central distribution hubs are playing an increasingly critical role. Take for instance, Singapore, ranked as Asia’s top logistics hub for more than 10 consecutive years. There are now more than 50 biopharma manufacturing plants in Singapore with an output of close to US$ 21 billion – that’s over 21% of Singapore’s total manufacturing activity. Singapore’s central location, multi-modal access, connectivity, professional talent pool and a robust R&D ecosystem are becoming increasingly crucial for biopharma.
4. Greater manufacturing agility here to stay
The COVID-19 crisis acutely highlighted the need for agility. Fears over severe shortages of antibiotics and other medicines have grown. With the prolonged closure of China’s factories, the vulnerability of the pharma supply chain became clear. Now governments and companies around the world are increasingly scouting for alternative sources.
Flexing manufacturing so more than one country can assemble product helps reduce dependency on one single market.
5. Don’t be complacent when it comes to future innovation
Already, drone-delivered medical supplies are on the horizon, at FedEx and elsewhere. While this trend may be largely directed at residential package delivery, it’s easy to imagine that one day, air delivery drones might deliver vaccines for pharma – or even blood or tissue samples for clinical trials.
6. Sharp growth means greater need to flex
For one bioproduct player, choosing to 'broker select' means using one specialist for custom clearance, while accessing the quality assurance expertise and reliable network at FedEx. Such solutions demand tight integration. And it’s another big step towards more flexibility and choices for the customer, meaning increasing customer confidence.
Even within our global network here at FedEx, our ability to flex up or down as needed has been crucial this year. In a capacity-constrained environment unimaginable even 6 months ago, being able to pivot our air, ground and sea network has helped us keep businesses moving.
Trends come and go, but it’s ultimately about remaining reliable. Reliability of delivery is just as or maybe even more important than speed as we adapt to the healthcare supply chain of the future.
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 SAPI-commissioned Deloitte Report, https://www.sapi.org.sg/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Deloitte-Thought-Paper.pdf