BioPhorum Connects senior leaders as they respond to COVID-19 crisis

newsMay 29, 2020 | COVID 19 | News

Keeping in touch with peers and colleagues has never been more important. Sharing ideas, discussing problems and finding solutions are vital to counter the extraordinary COVID-19 pandemic.

For the leaders of development and manufacturing supply chains, the priority has been continuity of supply and workforce protection. The urgency of the situation has led to rapid decision-making, new policy approaches and innovation at a pace that is unusual for our industry.

Making its own contribution, BioPhorum has set up a ‘Senior BioPhorum Connect’ process to enable industry perspectives around COVID-19 to be shared.

It recognizes that there is value in confirming that measures being taken are appropriate and in line with the rest of the industry, ensuring gaps and potential solutions have not been missed and understanding where a higher-than-standard approach has been taken.

While regular virtual meetings have been productive, a more structured data-gathering survey has been undertaken to assess how companies across different countries and geographical regions have implemented lockdown measures while continuing to produce essential drugs. Some example topics include:

  • Senior leaders are concerned about ensuring a safe working environment is maintained for key workers in their manufacturing facilities and laboratories, and that the workspace is designed to protect them from infection
  • Testing for and tracking infection is an important risk management tool, and one that is rapidly changing as diagnostic and background community virus levels become clearer
  • The return to work process as countries exit lockdown becomes critical to get right. Too soon and it may be counter-productive, too slow and longer-term investment and business management may be impaired.

By understanding how peers have reacted to these challenges, senior managers can have greater confidence in their own responses.

Colette Ranucci, PhD, Associate Vice President, Global Technical Operations, Global Biologics and Sterile Operations, at Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA, said of the process, “As we find ourselves in the midst of this pandemic, it has been extremely valuable to have a forum where industry leaders can share current and evolving approaches and responses.  Incorporating tools such as the Workforce Protection survey to establish a benchmark provides the opportunity to continue to brainstorm, share and leverage best practices as the industry continues to refine its approach in response to the uncertain and evolving circumstances.”

The results of the survey will be available in early June. It is envisaged that the survey will be repeated several weeks later to determine what has changed, what has worked and what lessons can be learned.

To receive a copy of the results, or to participate in future surveys, please contact Simon Chalk via

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