iSpeak Blog

2020 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo: Innovation Forum

Steven R. Miller, CPIP
Eamon P. Judge
2020 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo:  Innovation Forum

Hope everyone is settling into their new reality and staying safe. Your ISPE Annual meeting education organizers have been hard at work setting up a fantastic program to be held in the fall. Check it out on line and plan on joining with colleagues and experts around the world to review and discuss the latest developments in the sector.

Last year we had several sessions on cell and gene therapy or Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs) that offer groundbreaking new opportunities for the treatment of disease and injury. These sessions had standing room only attendance and based on the high level of interest this year we are planning building on that positive response by having several sessions in this area throughout the educational tracks. The virtual platform will enable much greater access to this track and facilitate online interaction between participants from across the globe. Recent experience on other ISPE conferences has indicated that the track’s discussion fora, a historic and very popular feature of the Innovation Forum are enriched by that broader participation.

In the Innovation Forum we will be tackling development and manufacturing challenges for these novel products, process validation of vectors, and how modular biomanufacturing concepts can be used to facilitate viral vector production. There will be a whole session on phase appropriate GMP’s for the development and manufacture of Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product’s. Some of these approaches may be informed by the regulatory initiatives we are seeing in accelerated global COVID19 clinical and development responses. Come early to these sessions to be certain to get a (virtual) seat.

Another main topical focus for the 2020 program is around digital technology. As we have learned to work remotely where possible, we have relied more and more on digital technology to get and stay connected. Our development and manufacturing processes have been starting to leverage digital technology in several impressive ways. Last year we started the program with a session on Artificial Intelligence and deep learning. This year we start the program with a session on Augmented Reality (AR). What are the drivers and opportunities for Augmented Reality in the Pharma world and where are the challenges? We hope to have some impressive demonstrations to share and will offer the opportunity to exchange the use of the AR in a post COVID operating environment.

And with all the digital data we can now collect, how are we best putting this data into knowledge that is useful. We have a session on driving business outcomes through data analytics with presentations from Merck and Vertex. Also, with this influx of knowledge based on data, how can we model our processes and create digital twins of our processes and manufacturing capabilities. With these twins we are able to virtually probe our operations to optimize them and find where the greatest opportunities for improvements might be and what the direct impact of those improvements might be all in a virtual world.

In addition, how is digital technology useful in the hands of our patients? Eli Lilly will give examples of how smart devices used for treatment of diabetes in improving patient outcomes. This treatment, often a daily medication, can give us great incite as more medical treatments require a regular pattern of medicine usage to provide maximum benefit to our patients. How do we engage with patients to improve their compliance and to collect useful data? Will COVID19 spur the development of at home diagnostics and patient monitoring that will mark a step change in relationships between patients and the medical community. Look forward to our on line panel and participant discussions where perspectives will be shared on the impact of the acceleration of the convergence of digital and pharma technologies.

Lastly, how will digital technology effect our workforce and culture? People are still the core of how we do our business. They are affected as we employ new technology. This is very evident in our new reality today with remote working and technology challenges. How do these new technologies support human activity, how is digital technology transforming manufacturing, and how do we build a workforce to fully use these innovative improvements? In recent months new ways of operating have emerged driven by necessity : companies are qualifying equipment using remote virtual vendor support and finding other creative ways to leverage technology. Hear approaches taken by others to drive forward in this new way of working.

Last but not least, how do we foster an environment where innovation is encouraged and implemented? The Pharma world is for many reasons a conservative industry when it comes to many of our practices especially how we produce our products. Several companies have a clear strategy to be fast followers. How do we encourage those who clear that pathway and break new barriers? We will learn from three different industry speakers on how they have created an innovation ecosystem where innovation thrives.

Clearly there are lots of reasons to participate in this great program. What you see above is a listing of the topics for just one of six educational tracks. ISPE is working to ensure there are options on how to participate interactively with colleagues around the world. Stay tuned for details. But we hope you join us and enjoy a virtual networking opportunity with great learning experiences.

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