Precision Medicine and Challenges for Manufacturing and Supply

In a recent article published in The Medicine Maker, Richard Archer of Two BC Ltd (richard@twobc.co.uk) and a Senior Industrial Fellow at the University of Cambridge has laid down the gauntlet, arguing that “…medicines industry is currently not well-placed to address the manufacturing and supply challenges that are heading towards it.”

Precision medicine offers the promise of quickly and unambiguously diagnosing a patient’s condition and matching the diagnosis with a medicine or therapy determined in part by their genotype or phenotype. Benefits include significantly more effective treatments, reduced risk of unnecessary product withdrawal and interestingly the potential for new product lines tailored to individuals versus the limited range of standardised mass produced offerings.

One of the major issues raised in the article is urgent need for industry players to take a more ‘strategic approach’ to manufacturing leading to sustainable competitive advantage, and to look outside the industry for radical innovations rather than focusing on internal incremental improvements. Another major concern is lack of supply chain responsiveness to the patient’s need, which could be addressed if the industry adopted new logistical models and supply arrangements.

For RiHN the question is, how will the re-distribution of manufacturing capability enable the realisation of precision medicine and in what forms will this take shape? As Richard Archer asks: “who is going to conceive and create the process technologies and equipment that can deliver these new levels of performance and flexibility in the coming decades?”

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