January / February 2017

2016 ISPE Facilities of the Future Conference Recap


“The future is already here—it's just not very evenly distributed.” That quote by sci-fi novelist William Gibson captures an important component of ISPE’s successful 2016 Facilities of the Future Conference, which brought together diverse experts sharing their ideas and the latest innovations on “bricks and brains” issues—everything from smart building design and robotics to continuous manufacturing, additive manufacturing, and collaboration to meet specialized workforce needs in biopharma. On the other hand, explained keynote speaker Enno de Boer, Operations Leader and Partner, McKinsey & Company, there are fundamental issues that we are only beginning to grasp, such as the true potential impact of data analytics as a disruptive force across industries.

The conference, held 14–15 November in Bethesda, Maryland, drew 137 attendees and 12exhibitors. There were 28 speakers from eight countries, with attendees from 13 countries.

2016 ISPE Facilities of the Future Conference Recap

Conference Co-Chairs were ISPE Board Member Jim Breen, Lead, Biologics Expansion, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and Jim McGlade, Science Market Leader, BHDP Architecture. Program committee members who helped shape the conference were Mark Butler, Senior Vice President, Integrated Project Services Ltd.; Tony Crincoli, Executive Director, Bristol-Myers Squibb; Richard Fecteau, Vice President, Business Development, SNC-Lavalin; Gert Moelgaard, President, Moelgaard Consulting; and Bob Chew, President/CEO, Commissioning Agents, Inc.

“‘Facilities of the Future’ is one of ISPE’s six Strategic Priorities,” Breen noted. “This conference attracted a global audience from industry, large pharma, CMOs, equipment suppliers, service providers, academia, and government.”

McGlade commented that the conference “provided a wide breadth of valuable content to the attendees over two days. I returned to my ‘day job’ with the following themes resonating in my mind:

  • Projected growth of the large-molecule market, necessitating innovation
  • Diverse types of collaboration, partnerships, and joint ventures that can increase the probability for success and reduce risk
  • Growing investment across the industry in modular, flexible manufacturing
  • Innovative approaches often result from combining existing technologies
  • Today and tomorrow’s workers must be more agile to sustain the industry’s evolution.”


2016 ISPE Facilities of the Future Conference Recap

ISPE’s inaugural Facilities of the Future Conference combined practical solutions that are making a difference today with inspiring visions of where things may be headed. In addition to representation from leading pharmaceutical industry companies and suppliers, the conference featured presentations by BioBots, a company pioneering new frontiers in additive manufacturing; Honeywell, an engineering firm; and the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training in Dublin, Ireland. Led by keynote speaker Rick Friedman, Deputy Director, Science and Regulatory Policy, OMQ/CDR/FDA, the conference also featured speakers from the White House, BARDA, and DARPA, addressing topics that ranged from leveraging current technologies to the potential impact of emerging technologies like pharmacy on demand, enabled by miniaturized, mobile drug manufacturing.

“Based on the great success of this event,” Breen said, “ISPE will plan future Facility of the Future events, which will be open to all to attend.”