Supplying Next Generation Medicines

Supplying Next Generation Medicines

The personalized medicines market – which tailors drugs and treatments to the individual patient – is expected to reach revenues of $149 billion by 2020, according to Pharmaceutical Commerce.

And the rising use of biosimilars – a biologic medical product that is a near-identical copy of an original product by another company – is expected to result in the near doubling of the size of pharma cold chain logistics business over the next three years.

We sat down with Catherine Coppage, Supply Chain Planner, Personalized Medicines at Kiadis Pharma; Javier Gomez-Contreras, Supply Chain BGx LATAMOE Latina-Mid East Africa-India & Asia Pacific Lead at GlaxoSmithKline; and Jeremy Cress, Director Of Operations, Fibrocell Science to dive into the challenges and opportunities distributing personalized medicines present.

Below is a preview of the topics and questions covered:

How are cold chain processes adapted for personalized medicines and biologics?

Catherine Coppage: "When transporting personalized medicines it’s really important that no temperature excursions occur. It needs to be tightly managed and temperature monitoring is vital because there is no room for error. You cannot go back and take new patient samples because often patients are very sick. It’s a one chance opportunity.”

How do cold chain processes have to be adapted when transporting vaccines?

Javier Gomez-Contreras: “The supply chain has to be more established in new technology to deliver the products to patients. Some models in use currently do not have the technology to maintain the temperature correctly for long periods, especially in developing countries.

"In Brazil, for example, we have to travel far to deliver the products. In order to reduce the cost and [to transport by truck, not air], we have to identify technology resources – refrigerators, cameras and containers that may allow us to maintain the temperature for 72 hours.“

What are the main challenges that cell and gene products present for pharma supply chain professionals?

Jeremy Cress: “The stability of the products – the shelf life – presents challenges. How do we ensure that the product doesn’t expire before it is administered to the patient? A lot of cell and gene therapies have a very short shelf life so it’s important that the supply chain is able to support quick turnaround times.

“Ordering specialized raw materials is a challenge. You have to be on top of your game to ensure you have the proper raw materials in-house and at each of the sites. The coordination and timing of the ordering and the receipt of the raw materials presents a significant challenge as you scale up.

“Another challenge is patient scheduling. New cell and gene therapies in the rare disease space don’t have a huge patient population to treat and a lot of patients have debilitating diseases. Therefore, the logistics of moving them from their home to a specialized facility is a big challenge.”

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