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Pharmaceutical industry needs more cross-sector collaboration

Connect in Pharma is promoting a new era of cross-sector collaboration within the pharmaceutical industry

The newly announced agenda for Connect in Pharma sends a strong message for more cross-sector collaboration. Technology gurus, consultancy experts and motivational speakers from a wide range of industries are calling for a new, modern era of pharmaceutical packaging and manufacturing that utilises high-tech and innovative thinking from other industries.

“We have designed this year’s agenda to allow for professionals in the pharmaceutical industry to connect not only with each other, but also to be inspired by the advances and solutions seen across other industries,” said Renan Joel, Divisional Managing Director at Easyfairs. To promote cross-sector collaboration, visitors to the two-day event taking place on 14-15 June 2023 in Geneva can expect to hear from experts from such companies as Google, McKinsey, NASA and Bain & Co. along with speakers from GSK, Gerresheimer, Merck and Roche.

A recently released report from Connect in Pharma found that pharma lagged behind other sectors when it came to the adoption of digitally-enabled manufacturing techniques. Many are now looking to apply the rapid explosion in digital capabilities to how our medicines are made, shipped, and delivered. Likewise, challenges imposed by failing healthcare systems, a growing population and the climate crisis need joined-up solutions.

“We could learn from other industries that are much more advanced,” said Philippe Gerwill, an executive advisor to the healthcare industry, in advance of his talk on ‘Industry 4.0, digitalization and transformation in pharma’ at the event in Geneva.

Christian Baudis, former MD of Google Germany and Founder of My Digital agrees. “The company which understands the best practices in other sectors and applies them to its business is the one that’s going to have a huge competitive advantage,” he said in advance of his presentation on ‘The Future of Pharma’.

Henrik von Scheel, widely regarded as the originator of Industry 4.0, is also due to speak at Connect in Pharma. “Pharma companies need cross-competencies,” he said in advance of his talk on the ‘Industry 4.0, digitalization and transformation in pharma’ panel with Gerwill. “If you want to invest in AI, you need skills in R&D, manufacturing, and even quantum sciences. We need to add new disciplines because the complexity of our computing power is beyond one discipline,” added von Scheel.

The topic of sustainability is another area calling for collaborative thinking. The event will host both a panel discussion devoted to sustainability and the Sustainable Medicines Packaging Awards for the second year running.

“Partnerships will be critical in the design, innovation, implementation and execution of sustainable packaging solutions,” says Nazneen Rahman, Founder of YewMaker, the executive lead of the Sustainable Medicines Packaging Awards, which will be presented at Connect in Pharma on 14 June. “It’s not just about creating new materials or recycling options, but also about connecting all the different pieces to make a real impact. This requires a new way of working together that may be challenging, but it’s essential for success.”