Stepping out of my hotel room on the last day of the 2015 International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) annual meeting in Philadelphia (November 8 – 11), I reach down and pick up the USA Today that is blocking my egress. Flipping through the newspaper the headline “Allen Always Aimed High” catches my eye. As writer Nicole Auerbach relates how Duke University basketball standout Grayson Allen strived to achieve his childhood dream, I am struck by the similarity between the story and this year’s ISPE annual meeting. “I had so much joy,” recalls Allen of the sensation experienced the first time he successfully slam dunked a basketball on a 10 foot hoop — a goal that took years of persistent practice to finally achieve. It is important to remember that biopharma executives and engineers are not immune to deeply experiencing human emotions (e.g., joy, sorrow). And while attendees of ISPE were certainly treated to high-caliber networking and educational opportunities at this year’s show, they were also provided a strong dose of emotional reality to fuel their passionate pursuit of excellence. Like Duke’s Allen, to achieve beyond your expectations, sometimes it is important to be reminded of why it is you do what you do.
Denice Torres is the president of McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a Johnson & Johnson company, and winner of HBA’s 2015 WOTY award. Listening to her acceptance speech reminded me of legendary pro football coach Vince Lombardi’s philosophy — “Adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it.”
Peter Young, a 35-year biopharmaceutical industry veteran, presented at the 2015 BIO International, and his valuable session includes some key industry trends biopharmaceutical executives should be paying a close attention to.
In my role as the 2015 co-chair of the BIO International’s educational planning committee, I am privy to what goes into creating one of our industry’s largest annual events. As many of you are involved in organizing your own customer educational programs (e.g., The Emerson Exchange) or have been asked to serve on an event planning committee, I thought a behind the scenes look into how BIO goes about the process would be helpful to your efforts. Here are some of the best business practices I have witnessed thus far.
While all The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People listed by Stephen Covey remain relevant and timeless, the one which resonates with me most is the seventh — sharpen the saw. In the life sciences industry, Covey’s concept of continuous improvement is more than just a habit, but a way of life. This is especially true for those who work in pharma and biopharma manufacturing — striving to maintain high quality, be on time with delivery, increase productivity (often with fewer resources) and so on. If you work in manufacturing, you are probably tempted to stop reading and get back to work. Though pharma and biopharma manufacturing executives most certainly work long and hard hours, I am sure the manufacturing executives I know would rank working smarter above working harder as a best business practice. Working smarter requires making the time to sharpen your saw. As we are just seven weeks away from a very unique saw sharpening continuous improvement conference for the pharma and biopharma manufacturing executive (Outsourced Pharma West), I thought it a good time to put together a list of the seven habits of the highly effective pharma and biomanufacturing executive — so you can sharpen your saw.
Most of those in our industry are only viewing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to looking at how to use Big Data — ignoring the massive amounts residing below the water’s surface. When I think of the potential Big Data presents for the field of life sciences, it reminds me of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner — “Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.”
In the pharmaceutical industry, gaps often exist between companies and internal working groups. Consider one of the industry’s largest players, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), which has more than 127,000 employees and operates more than 250 companies organized into several business segments in 60 countries.
Allowing the application of a “one-size- fits-all” intellectual property policy that affords the same protection for Frisbees as lifesaving and sustaining medicines would be, quite frankly, moronic and short-sighted. It would also be a disincentive for companies to develop R&D-intensive drugs because the longer it takes to develop, the shorter patent life you have. The converse is also true — less costly drugs brought to market more quickly get longer patents.
Imagine you are seated at a table preparing to discuss the manufacturing of biologics. The person across from you possesses nearly 40 years’ worth of wisdom on the topic. You, on the other hand, have zero experience in this field. Kind of like a rookie stepping into the batter’s box against Nolan Ryan and understanding that if a 95 mph baseball is coming at his head he has less than .4 seconds to get out of the way.
My son plays on his college’s golf team. In the fall he was struggling with his putting. What is the obvious solution needed to fix the problem? Why, to buy a new putter of course. It could not possibly be anything to do with the technique. It must be the tool.