CDMO 2.0: Three pharma industry trends for 2024 and beyond

January 25, 2024 by Anil Kane, PhD, MBA (15 minute read)

Category | CDMO Services

The landscape for bringing new pharma products to market is shifting. With the growing complexity of novel therapies, global supply chain uncertainties, increased competition, intensified regulatory scrutiny, and compressed timelines, pharma companies need new ways of working to guarantee product safety and quality without sacrificing speed to market. In addition, major trends such as the move toward personalized medicine and the rise of artificial intelligence are reshaping the market, requiring increased customization and flexibility for pharma companies to remain competitive.

At CPHI 2023 in Barcelona, I had the opportunity to meet with many of our pharma customers from around the world.  These conversations reinforced expectations for continued strong demand for newer drug modalities such as cell and gene therapies and sterile injectables, as well as a need for innovative ways to bring oral solid dosage forms to market faster and more efficiently. Across modalities, three trends stood out: a need for flexible manufacturing, increased use of digital automation, and a shift from transactional to strategic engagement between CDMOs and their pharma customers.

Pharma companies are turning to flexible manufacturing in response to changing regulatory and market needs

In today’s rapidly evolving pharmaceutical landscape, where the race to market can determine the commercial success of a drug, pharma companies are moving to flexible manufacturing models to remain agile, innovative, and responsive to evolving market needs. By adopting cutting-edge technologies, employing advanced process automation and continuous manufacturing, and incorporating real-time monitoring and modular facilities designs, pharma companies can quickly and efficiently adapt production processes to accommodate varying product types, volumes, and customer demands. At Thermo Fisher Scientific, we have invested in flexible manufacturing capabilities to help our customers facilitate speed to market, cost efficiencies, and specialized drug production. By partnering with us, our pharma customers can focus on core competencies rather than investing in building their own state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure.

Pharma companies are embracing digital enablement to efficiently increase productivity and better meet patient needs

Digital enablement is a fundamental component of Pharma 4.0, the transformative industry shift that aims to make drug development more efficient, cost-effective, and patient-focused while maintaining rigorous quality and compliance standards. Taking advantage of digital technologies, data analytics and a growing digital workforce, pharma companies can make improvements across the value chain, from R&D to supply chain management to patient engagement. Many of our pharma partners are adopting digital practices to shorten development timelines, reduce R&D costs, and increase the probability of technical success across early and late stages of drug development.

The clinical trial landscape is also benefiting from digital enablement. Sponsors are turning to Thermo Fisher’s integrated direct-to-patient services supply chain solution to execute decentralized trial strategies, using digital platforms for data sharing, product tracking, and communications so patients can participate in trials from the comfort of their own homes.

In the evolving pharma landscape, CDMOs must deliver transformational value

Access to cutting-edge technologies, critical data-driven insights, advanced materials and innovative manufacturing processes are table stakes for pharma companies today. In addition to these must-haves, our pharma partners are seeking out strategic engagement and the intangible elements of partnership that enable them to meet their individual needs. As our pharma partners continue to turn to us as a true consultative partner throughout the value chain, we are committed to fostering a collaborative environment where unique challenges are met with tailored, forward-thinking solutions.

Explore what makes a quality CDMO partner in our whitepaper below.