On sitting down to write my first Chair’s column, I reflected on the events at our Annual Meeting & Expo in November. First, I want to commend the entire ISPE organization, and offer particular thanks to the 2018 Annual Meeting planning committee, for hosting a very successful and complex event. This year’s gathering drew over 2,400 attendees, the second-largest total in the Annual Meeting’s 27-year history. It demonstrated ISPE’s ability to deliver value, knowledge, and networking to the pharmaceutical industry. Plenary speakers—Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen (CEO, Novo Nordisk), Chris Chen (CEO, WuXi Biologics), and Kevin Nepveux (VP, Pfizer)— represented the best of the best in an industry where technology and business models are changing daily.
Presenters also reminded us that our efforts improve patients’ lives. Team Novo Nordisk Ambassador Becky Furuta shared her touching and powerful story. Nick Leschly (CEO, bluebird bio) showed us that much is being done (and more will be done) to save lives.
The 2017 financial report presented by ISPE Treasurer Fran Zipp showed a strong and thriving organization, demonstrated by a 32% increase in revenue since 2009. We launched the ISPE Foundation in 2018. Mike Arnold, Foundation President, reported that while target funding had been set at $45,000, by early November generous donations had exceeded $172,000. ISPE has also invested in the foundation to support a special focus on our Workforce of the Future.
In 2019, we will maintain our focus on critical areas of the industry such as Women in Pharma®, Young Professionals, Facilities of the Future, and critical technology topics like gene and cell therapy to help our members prepare for the future. Board Treasurer Tom Hartman discussed ISPE’s strategic plan in development for 2020–2022 that will address the changing technological landscape and continue to help members to address and remain engaged in the industry. Our Board of Directors will also work to drive collaboration and engagement globally with our chapters and affiliates.
I look forward to seeing you at ISPE events this year such as our Facilities of the Future event in February in San Francisco; Aseptic Conference in North Bethesda, Maryland, in March; the Europe Annual Conference in Dublin in April; and the June Process Validation Workshop in Boston. All these events will feature industry-leading topics and will have key thought leaders in attendance. For more information, visit the Conferences page.
I also wish to thank outgoing Chair Tim Howard for his leadership in 2018 and look forward to his continued support in 2019.
Finally, as we embark on a new year, I am reminded of how Becky Furuta at Team Novo Nordisk explained the challenges and celebrations in her life: “We all create our own story in our life by our actions.” My challenge to all ISPE members is to work together to create ISPE’s story: expand our influence; engage new, existing, and potential ISPE members; and remind everyone of the importance of our industry and how we improve people’s lives each day.