As the COVID-19 pandemic has expanded, life science companies and dozens of countries worldwide have been forced to compete for life-saving supplies from small numbers of “sole source” vendors, including some that shut down in the crisis’ early stages.
At Axendia, a Life Science industry analyst and advisory firm, founder and president Daniel R. Matlis said he has been inspired by the industry’s efforts to support the medical response efforts – but also saddened and concerned by the waves of supply chain disruption complicating the situation.
“We never anticipated a disruption of this magnitude of course – nobody did,” Matlis said. “But from Hurricanes Sandy and Maria to the tsunami and earthquake in Japan to the ash cloud from the volcano in Iceland, we’ve been urging the industry for a decade to address its limited supply chain visibility, control and resilience.”
Unlike those earlier disruptions, however, COVID-19 is affecting the entire world simultaneously, sparking a desperate competition for limited resources and supplies. While that scramble is difficult to watch, Matlis said, it also gives him hope that meaningful change is about to arrive.
“It’s a watershed moment for the life sciences ecosystem,” he said. “The technology exists to provide full visibility into your supply chain, to quickly identify the optimal schedule for running a process with substitute ingredients and to collaborate even when most of your staff is working from home. It’s an issue of adopting the technology.”
Most of the challenges, Matlis said, have been tied to decades-old requirements for computer system validation (CSV), which proved to be a barrier to improving digital capability, product quality and patient safety. The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), however, is working to eliminate barriers, and incentivizing industry to adopt updated approaches. “I believe this will be the inflection point that will dramatically change the way the industry does business,” he said.
To help life science companies drive digital transformation through the current disruption, Axendia is hosting a webinar on the role technology plays in deepening and expanding supply chain visibility and resilience, improving manufacturing efficiency, and streamlining processes, all while maintaining operations through the disruption.
The free webinar on April 14, titled “Technology’s Role in Overcoming a Disrupted Life-Sciences Reality,” features special guest Hugo Felix, director of Device Standards and Compliance at Pfizer, together with Matlis and Axendia analyst Sandra K. Rodriguez. Click here to register.