iSpeak Blog

Then & Now: Exploring Facilities of the Future

Michael Martin
Then & Now: Exploring Facilities of the Future

I’m from the past, but to some degree, we all are.

A number of years ago, I received my Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a desire to make the world a better place. I joined the pharmaceutical industry with that goal in mind. 30 years later, I have that same desire, but the industry looks significantly different.

Imagine manual operations with simple automation methods and the widespread use of paper batch records and paper-based maintenance work orders. Methods of communication included long-distance dialing, landlines, fax machines, simple email systems, printers, and lots of plastic-covered binders full of procedures and protocols. This world of the past worked and served its purpose (and was advanced for the time). But time, technology and facilities advance and evolve.

Now, we’re from the future.

The pharmaceutical industry today is different than when I started my career. The facilities and the technologies have advanced dramatically and will continue to do so.

How would our industry have responded to a pandemic ten years ago or even five years ago? It likely would have been much slower and much less effective than today.

Bringing multiple vaccines from concept stage to patient use in less than a year is an amazing achievement. It involved new technologies built on the knowledge of viruses and rapidly mapped their genetic structure. This allowed researchers to identify vaccine candidates in record time.

Developing the vaccines involved close cooperation and collaboration between public and private entities/sectors, and even sometimes between competitors. This cooperation was inspired by the urgency of the world’s health crisis and caused these various entities/sectors to work from a common set of criteria or guidelines, allowing an organized use of clinical testing methods and sites. This allowed these entities/sectors to prioritize and accelerate the preparation of manufacturing facilities to provide the volume of vaccines required to support the world’s needs.

When entities and sectors prioritize the same problem at the same time, the outcomes produce an amazing achievement.

This is the future.

This is the reason I joined the industry: I wanted to make the world a better place. I’m inspired by what people have done for so many years to make this possible. And this is just the beginning, which begs the question, what’s happening in the future of facilities?

ISPE’s first face-to-face conference since the beginning of the pandemic is scheduled to take place in Bethesda, MD, US on 28-29 September 2021. The 2021 ISPE Facilities of the Future Conference will be a hybrid event—delivering thought-provoking learning and global networking opportunities whether you choose to join us in-person or virtually. The conference will explore advancements in pharmaceutical technologies and what pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities will look like in the future. Network and learn from industry leaders already planning and building “facilities of the future” as they share insights into new manufacturing challenges, technologies, and regulatory factors impacting the ability of today’s companies to stay competitive and cost-effective.  

Learn More

The program will include:

  • COVID’s impact on pharma facilities of the future
  • Collaboration in the COVID era – how companies are behaving differently due to COVID experience
  • Emerging technologies: application of vaccines; benefiting from emerging technologies
  • Solving world problems; how the image of pharma has changed
  • Pharma 4.0™
  • Biomanufacturing
  • Cell and gene therapy
  • Modular facilities
  • Executive Forum dinner
  • Women in Pharma® breakfast

We look forward to seeing you in September in Bethesda! Thanks for your interest and your continuing support of ISPE.

Register Now!