2nd November 2015 – 29th April 2016
A major issue faced by many pharmaceutical firms is how to enhance supply chain resilience. The vaccine supply chain is particularly vulnerable to the risk of disruption. The complex process of replicating vaccines, often using an egg based replication mechanism, presents several points of failure in the supply chain. First, as raw materials are controlled by a handful of suppliers, relationship breakdowns and supplier insolvency create unfulfilled demand. Second, pandemics or virus mutations leave companies scrambling to identify additional suppliers, a difficult task due to stringent regulatory regimes. Third, a fall in demand means firms are stuck with an oversupply of vaccines which require disposal at the end of the season.
This study seeks to examine how redistributed manufacturing techniques, including additive manufacturing, can be used to enhance the resilience of the pharmaceutical and vaccine supply chain. It will pay particular attention to healthcare infrastructure and the development of replication mechanisms at the point of production using an integrated, automated manufacturing and delivery process. The study will also consider regulatory aspects associated with redistributed manufacturing and the development and location of micro-factories. GlaxoSmithKline (pharmaceutical and vaccine divisions) and Pfizer are acting as industry partners for the study.