Life Science Integrates (LSI) is delighted by the success of its very first PharmaTech Integrates event on 23rd September. Following in the footsteps of its well-established MedTech Integrates, Pharma Integrates and Bio Integrates conferences, this inaugural event served as a forum to share, discuss, debate and challenge the position of technology in the UK today. With over 80 speakers, 19 sponsors, and 500 attendees, the event provided unique opportunities for the sharing of ideas between leaders and innovators via panel discussions, showcases, interviews, and networking.
Dave Tudor, Managing Director of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MMIC) – LSI’s event partners – opened the conference, highlighting three integral considerations for moving this sector forward: achieving a balanced view of technology, strategising technology, and building networks to accelerate progress. With contributions from the fields of synthetic chemistry, biologics, digital technology and more, PharmaTech Integrates reflected that balanced view, and Dave concluded with two words that captured major themes of the event: momentum and collaboration.
The first panel discussion session covered the core topics of the day: platform technology, novel therapies and advanced digital solutions. Lucy Foley, CPI, facilitated an excellent discussion on stepping up Biologics production to meet patient needs. Jacqueline Barry, The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, led an insightful talk on finding therapies for complex diseases through developing and up-scaling ATMPs. Scott Lawson, PwC, headed a great conversation on how data and modelling can deliver real time solutions.
New to this conference, panel discussions were interspersed with Technology Showcases, in which industry leaders demonstrated their cutting-edge technologies. The morning showcase session saw presentations from CMAC, Brave & Heart, Nanoform, Glatt, GSK and LEON Nanodrugs. Attendees were treated to insights into nanotechnology, patient-centred supply chain solutions, continuous manufacturing, and simulation platforms for drug development, with an excellent demonstration of Nanoform’s STARMAP®2.0 platform that leverages cutting-edge AI to pick the best candidate molecules for nanoforming.
The second panel discussion session featured talks led by Jon-Paul Sherlock of AstraZeneca, and Katie Murray and Dave Tudor from the MMIC. Along with expert panels, they covered hot topics including the importance of building dynamic collaborations to facilitate continuous manufacturing, the progression of DNA- and RNA-based technologies for new therapeutic areas, and digital approaches for demand-led pharmaceutical supply.
The afternoon Technology Showcases featured presentations from CPACT, Booth Welsh, Exonar, MMIC and Applied Materials on advanced process monitoring, sustainable approaches to Industry 4.0, utilising information in unstructured data, and advancing the digital maturity of pharma. The presentations demonstrated the possibilities opened by advanced technology, with projects such as MMIC’s work on Pharmaceutical Automation for Clinical Efficiency (PACE) promising to revolutionize the speed of getting drugs from developers to patients.
The final panel discussions looked to the future of the industry, covering process intensification and continuous manufacturing in API processes, vaccine manufacture supply chains, and digital tools for accelerating drug development. These thought-proving discussions were facilitated by Clive Badman from the University of Strathclyde, Sarah Goulding from UKRI Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund in Medicines Manufacturing, and Ross MacRae of Pfizer.
The event ended with interviews covering the very current topics of regulation, building skills and increasing sustainability. Interviewed by Clive Badman, Ian Rees, Manager for the Inspectorate Strategy and Innovation Unit, MHRA, emphasised the importance of engaging early with regulators to make the process as smooth, efficient and risk-free as possible. Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Strathclyde, discussed with Tamsin Berry the need to build skills – from apprenticeships through to PhDs – to support industry 4.0. He commented on the vital need for inclusivity in the life sciences sector, stating "Equality, diversity and inclusivity isn’t a ‘nice to have’ – it’s a MUST have." And finally, Roudie Shafie interviewed Juliette White, Vice President – Global SHE and Sustainability, AstraZeneca, about the innovative steps being taken to reduce the carbon footprint of this sector for a sustainable future.
Dave Tudor wrapped up the event by looking forward to the exciting place this sector could be in 10 years’ time if we invest in the right skills, the right leadership and the right strategies. LSI would like to re-iterate Dave’s words in thanking all those attending, delivering and organising this day of networking and collaboration, and they very much look forward to next year’s in-person events.
Recordings of all content from the event will available online through LSI’s website. LSI now look forward to its next inaugural event, Advanced Therapies Integrates, on 7th October - visit the website for information on all upcoming online and in-person events.