Special Reports
September / October 2020

2020 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo: Driving the Future of Pharma

Beau Castro
2020 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo: Driving the Future of Pharma

The 2020 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo will be ISPE’s first completely virtual Annual Meeting. As always, there will be great learning and networking opportunities—in fact, the digital format offers greater flexibility for attendees.

The 2020 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo will focus on steering the future of pharmaceutical science and manufacturing toward a more global, synchronized, and quality-driven industry. This signature event draws pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical professionals at all levels of the industry, from Young Professionals to the most senior executives in drug manufacturing, supply chain, devices and equipment and services, and global regulatory agencies.

The theme for the Annual Meeting, “Driving the Future of Pharma,” is especially appropriate in these times of tremendous challenge and change to the industry. The conference will take place over five days, from 2 to 6 November, maximizing participants’ opportunities to attend the 41 education sessions featuring over 160 speakers in six tracks. In addition, the Annual Meeting will feature one plenary session, one global regulatory town hall, two FOYA sessions, and five postconference workshops, for a total of more than 75 hours of content.

The Annual Meeting will also include the new ISPE Partner Showcase, a platform providing access to a virtual exhibitor marketplace so you can filter, search, and browse the vendors serving the industry. You will be able to note your favorites among the exhibitors, and can reach out through the platform for appointment scheduling and live chats to learn more information.

Pharmaceutical Engineering® spoke with Jennifer Lauria Clark, Executive Director, Strategic Development, CAI, and 2020 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo Conference Committee Chair, to hear her insights about the sessions and other conference experiences that you will not want to miss, and how this year’s Annual Meeting will be different—and yet the same—as past meetings.

The theme of the 2020 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo is “Driving the Future of Pharma.” 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?

The Annual Meeting Planning Committee along with the ISPE staff was thoughtful in choosing our theme for the 2020 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo. We discussed the importance of speed to market, cell and gene therapy, Pharma 4.0™, supply chain challenges, and the evolution of medications—all while maintaining compliance and meeting all global regulatory guidances. Little did we know the world would be literally laser-focused on many of our companies today due to the pandemic that has swept the globe! The time is now to participate in the 2020 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo to learn more about what is happening around us, so you do not get left behind as we evolve together—quickly—in our current climate.

Educational topics will focus on subjects including advanced technologies, which we need now more than ever before to help us work together in delivering what may be the most important vaccine to reach the market. Decisions made by ISPE members who are leaders in the industry today will literally impact global economic and health for many years to come.

The focus on “Driving the Future of Pharma” allows attendees to participate in education and open discussions around:

  • Implications to current supply chain issues
  • Fast-tracking molecules and medications to get patients the help they need faster
  • The drive to modernize and transform our global industry
  • Young Professionals
  • Women in Pharma®
Jennifer Lauria Clark, CPIP
VP, Sales and Account Relationship Management

Alongside all the current challenges facing our industry, ISPE is leading the way to drive change and transform the way industry thinks about diversity, Women in Pharma®, Young Professionals, and this is truly shaping the next workforce of the future. The Annual Meeting is ISPE’s largest event of the year, with more than 40 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 and build a network of industry contacts and colleagues.

By going to a virtual platform for this year’s Annual Meeting & Expo, we are afforded a bit more time to absorb the networking and educational as-pects of the meeting.

The 2020 Annual Meeting will be virtual. Why will this be a great experience for attendees?

Evolution is essential in our business. Whether it is adapting to our new virtual technology by attending an education discussion of significant drivers of change related to supply chain, regulatory, or manufacturing issues, or learning how to video conference for the first time, the 2020 ISPE Annual Meet-ing & Expo has you covered.

By moving to a virtual platform, we have opened many new ways for more of our members to engage with and have access to fellow members and new ideas. All sessions are open to all attendees and will be recorded. We have also scheduled all committee meetings outside of the education ses-sions. In this way, you will not face competing sessions and committee meetings in the same time slots.

This schedule design gives each of us the flexibility to hear the relevant and timely information from all the sessions, on our own time. If you have a meeting come up halfway through a session, you will not have to miss any valuable content. Each attendee will be able to build their own itinerary and be alerted when their sessions are coming up in their tracks that best suit their current role and future desires, without having to run across a confer-ence center to grab a seat for the next session.

We have over 160 speakers this year presenting on topics that include supply chain issues, facilities and workforce of the future, quality, and regula-tory deep dives.

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

Having a blend of seasoned and new members is always a great way for new ideas and relationships to flourish. This year will be a little different with the virtual platform, but there are still plenty of ways to virtually network. There will be 24 hours of Women in Pharma® activities the week before the ed-ucational sessions. Communities of Practice (CoPs) and international committees that help the Society grow will also be meeting at times scheduled outside of educational sessions. This provides the opportunity to attend and participate, and also gives you the time to attend as many educational meetings as you would like.

If you have not joined a Communities of Practice yet, this is a great time to network and learn something new. If you are an expert, it is our responsibility to give back to the industry and help those who are interested in our fields to become stronger than us. Please join a Communities of Practice and help respond to questions and challenges our members are facing.

If you are interested in volunteering, this is an excellent time to get involved in ISPE. You will become familiar with a group of people who not only will appreciate your technical talents but also will get to know you and network with you. Growing our membership and maintaining strong ties is more important now than it ever has been with the current economic and remote working climate for many of us.

There are also networking events tied to the educational sessions themselves. There will be time to ask questions, meet the speakers, and enjoy a drink (at your home) with fellow colleagues after a great day of training.

By having a blend of entry-level, college-level, and seasoned folks, the conference is more diverse, stronger in its messaging, and can be thoughtfully discussed with the group.

I challenge each attendee to participate in at least one networking event associated with the 2020 ISPE Annual Meeting. Join the Virtual 5K hosted by the ISPE Foundation, a Communities of Practice meeting, or one of the Women in Pharma® events.

You never know whose life you are going to influence when you take a few minutes to meet someone new and share something about your career or your life. My husband and I were at an ISPE CaSA networking event almost 10 years ago and one conversation with a fellow member whom we had just met empowered us to say yes to a new job in a new location for my husband. It was scary to think about moving away from our family to a new state alone, but because of a single veteran ISPE member sharing their story with us, we took the leap. We were very grateful for the advice and time this person took to speak with us, and we had no idea we would get a call the next day with this great job opportunity.

What are you most looking forward to hearing about/learning more about at the Annual Meeting?

The keynotes and plenary session are always my favorite parts of the Annual Meeting. I love people and reconnecting with them just before the plenary, and feeling all the energy in the room always sets the stage for a great meeting.

This year will be a little different as we have gone virtual, but if you get online, text a few friends who are watching with you, and listen to the speakers, you will be able to feel some of the same energy we feel in person.

By listening to the plenary session, we get a chance to reflect on a year of discovery, challenges, and successes with our colleagues. We get to hear fresh perspectives from industry experts leading the way for better patient care.

Everyone has a specific reason to attend the 2020 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo. Please take the time to custom-build your itinerary in the virtual platform. You will be able to set your schedule and note which items you will want to come back to at a later time and listen to after the conference. The flexibility of a virtual conference allows you to access content anytime during the conference and for 12 months after.

While some of our traditional events are not able to happen this year, we are creating new traditions with a virtual platform and anticipate global engagement and access for all members. I look forward to sharing a new experience with you in November.

What else do members need to know about the Annual Meeting?

Over the last three decades in our industry, over 100 companies have consolidated to about 30. Through mergers, acquisitions, leadership changes, and evolution, someone was driving the changes to make a better future for patients.

This year, ISPE is giving you the chance to participate in more educational sessions and networking than ever. We encourage everyone to visit the Exhibit Hall, now renamed the Partner Showcase, and see the new ideas and technology from our top-notch exhibitors or just stop in to say hello. I know we are all in much need of one-to-one contact with familiar faces these days, so be sure to add some of these conference events to your itinerary.

As the 2020 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo Chair, I want to thank each and every one of the people who are attending and helping produce this con-ference. Moving to virtual while maintaining the integrity of the conference is the best solution for our membership. We welcome your feedback during and after the conference; we are all learning how to navigate our new normal, and your feedback is crucial to make sure we are meeting the needs of our members through content, networking, and access to the latest technologies and information.

As ISPE members, it is a benefit to lead change through our organizational involvement. As members of our industry, it is our responsibility every day to help drive the future of pharma.

Vital Statistics: 2020 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo

When: 2—6 November

Where: Virtual conference

Number of education sessions: 41

Number of speakers: Over 160

Number of postconference workshops: 5

Other highlights: Plenary Session, Global Regulatory Town Hall, 2 FOYA Sessions

Education tracks:

  • Facilities & Equipment
  • Information Systems
  • Innovation Forum
  • Process Development & Manufacturing
  • Quality Systems & Regulatory
  • Supply Chain, Operations, & Packaging

Learn More & Register

Special Section: 2020 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo

FOYA Category Winners & Honorable Mentions for 2020: Examples of Excellence

FOYA Category Winners & Honorable Mentions for 2020: Examples of Excellence

Each year, ISPE celebrates innovations and advances in pharmaceutical manufacturing technology with its Facility of the Year Awards (FOYA) program. This year, we added a new category, Social Impact, to recognize companies that developed new standards and practices to prevent drug shortages and increase patients’ access to medicine, designed new tools or techniques that reduced the cost of drug products, or accelerated a shift to sustainable facility design that has significantly reduced environmental impact.

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