Special Reports
September / October 2019

2019 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo: Modernize, Globalize, and Transform

Susan Sandler
2019 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo: Modernize, Globalize, and Transform - ISPE Pharmaceutical Engineering

The 2019 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo will be held 27–30 October in Las Vegas, Nevada. The theme is “Modernize. Globalize. Transform.” Michael L. Rutherford, Program Committee Chair and Board Ambassador for ISPE, and Executive Director for Computer Systems Quality and Data Integrity at Syneos Health, provided a preview of highlights for conference attendees, including notable new features and his take on the meaning of this year’s theme.


This year’s Annual Meeting & Expo offers pharmaceutical professionals the opportunity to engage in industry-critical conversations. Attendees from all levels of the industry will include representatives of drug manufacturing, supply chain, devices and equipment and services, and global regulatory agencies. Rutherford shared insights about the importance of the opportunity for the industry to come together and the critical nature represented by this year’s theme in his conversation with Pharmaceutical Engineering.

The theme of the 2019 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo is “Modernize. Globalize. Transform.” Why is this theme of such great importance right now? What knowledge will attendees take away related to this theme that will help them in their day-to-day work?

When we selected the theme for the 2019 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo, we felt these three words truly reflected where the pharmaceutical industry is making a real difference to our stakeholders, and especially to patients. We are leveraging new and rapidly evolving technologies and capabilities to modernize and accelerate the development and manufacturing of advanced therapies. Advances in biotechnology, cell and gene therapy, continuous manufacturing, and Pharma 4.0 are really helping drive this modernization and transformation of our industry. And the global nature of our industry continues to influence and shape the future, with more complex global supply chains and increased regulatory implications. ISPE is helping transform our workforce of the future though our Women in Pharma® and Young Professionals initiatives, both of which have featured events at this 2019 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo.

The 2019 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo is ISPE’s largest event of the year, with more than 50 educational sessions, and many opportunities for attendees to interact with global industry and regulatory experts and opinion leaders. It’s a chance to learn about the current industry, technology, and regulatory trends and best practices, so attendees can apply those learnings in their own companies. It’s also a chance to interact with a wide variety of vendors in the Expo Hall, and build a network of industry contacts and colleagues.

The 2019 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo brings together both new members and more seasoned industry experts. How can both new and expert industry members make the most of the opportunity to interact at the 2019 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo?

The mix of new members and more seasoned industry experts is what makes the 2019 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo, as well as other ISPE conferences, so special. Where else can you get a cross section of more than 2,000 attendees together to interact, network, share, and learn?

But you only get out of it as much as you put into it: Take the initiative to interact with others. Don’t be afraid to approach a speaker with a question or introduce yourself to another attendee, especially during networking events. It’s been my experience that industry experts, regulators, and ISPE volunteers are more than happy to share their knowledge and experiences. As a “seasoned” member, I make a point of saying hello and chatting with attendees I have not met before, especially new members, students, Young Professionals, and first-time attendees. These members are the future of our industry. It’s also important to talk with the vendors in the Expo Hall because they play a key role by helping support conference events and providing opportunities to learn about new developments in our industry.

I challenge every attendee, whether a new or seasoned member: Each day of the conference, say hello and introduce yourself to at least 10 attendees you have not met before. You’ll be amazed how big an impact that will have on your overall attendee experience.

What are you looking forward to hearing about/learning more about at the 2019 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo?

There are so many sessions and topics to choose from, so this is actually a difficult question for me. I always find the plenary sessions and keynote speak-ers interesting because they provide the senior leadership perspectives for our industry. This year is no exception because the keynote presenters rep-resent a diverse group of companies and product sectors, including biotechnology, rare diseases, and a clinical research organization. These different perspectives should offer something new for everyone. As in past years, to remind ourselves why we are in this industry, we will continue our practice of including the patient perspective. These plenaries will definitely help emphasize our theme for the conference and set the stage for an amazing event the rest of the week.

With respect to a specific session or topic, I think everyone has their area of specialization that they trend toward. For me, it is information systems and the regulatory-related sessions, including the Regulatory Town Hall. But I also find the new technology and innovation topics to be very interesting. So let me provide some advice that everyone can use relative to attending the education sessions. First, download the ISPE Events App for the 2019 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo on your phone or tablet. It provides the most up-to-date information about the sessions. Prior to the start of the meeting, identify and book-mark the sessions you are interested in; then they will appear in the app on My Schedule. This is your personalized schedule for the conference and will help you make sure you do not miss anything. It will also identify any conflicting sessions. If a conflict happens, leverage your new acquaintances and/or colleagues and friends to share notes on your respective sessions. You will also have access to the presentations after the meeting.

Finally, as the Program Chair this year, the one thing I really want is your feedback on the conference. Make sure you complete the survey after the 2019 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo, because we do utilize the feedback to help improve the 2019 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo next year.

What else do members need to know about the 2019 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo?

I mentioned earlier that ISPE is helping transform our workforce of the future though our Women in Pharma® and Young Professionals initiatives. For the first time ever at the 2019 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo, students and young professionals will have a Hackathon, which offers the opportunity to compete to develop solutions to real-world problems while developing lasting connections. The success of the pharma industry’s efforts to modernize, globalize, and transform to adapt to new challenges and innovations depends on knowledgeable, creative, and driven leaders at all levels. And the 2019 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo provides a great opportunity to build those leaders.

The Hackathon format has been extremely popular at the last three ISPE Europe Annual Conferences and provides great networking and collaboration opportunities among students, YPs, industry, and ISPE staff and board members. We need to continue to encourage and support the development of our students and YPs. I challenge industry management, academic leaders, and ISPE members and groups to identify and sponsor a student or young professionals participation in the first 2019 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo Hackathon and attendance at the Conference this year. In addition, I encourage you to sign up and participate in the Women in Pharma® events at the conference, including the off-site Women in Pharma® event on Monday evening 28 October. These events will have a lasting and positive impact on individual careers and the future of our industry.

A final note: ISPE will be announcing a new three-year Strategic Plan at the 2019 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn firsthand about the Strategic Plan, which will continue to build on our work in the last few years with added focus on important future trends of the industry.

Get the latest information on the 2019 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo program, registration, and more.

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2019 ANNUAL MEETING & EXPO MODERNIZE. GLOBALIZE. TRANSFORM.

Vital Statistics

The four-day 2019 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo features:

  • Six extensive education tracks on industry-critical initiatives—focusing on excellence, modernization, and harmonization in pharmaceutical science and manufacturing
  • More than 85 hours of targeted technical sessions from both industry and regulatory leaders
  • Over 200 exhibitors featuring innovative technologies and services
  • ISPE Discovery Stage showcasing cutting-edge modernization in pharma products and services in the Expo Hall
  • Two days of in-depth classroom training courses on 31 October and 1 November
  • Over 24 hours of networking opportunities, including:
    • More than 50 plenary and technical sessions
    • Facility of the Year (FOYA) Awards Program
    • Membership Awards Program
    • Facility tours
    • 5K charity run/walk
    • Interactive workshops
    • Young Professionals events
    • Women in Pharma® events

Educational Tracks

  • Facilities and Equipment
  • Information Systems
  • Innovation in Pharmaceutical Engineering
  • Process Development and Manufacturing
  • Quality Systems & Regulatory
  • Supply Chain Management

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