Case study

BioPhorum Development Group: Driving collaboration and innovation

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The context

Since 2011, BioPhorum Development Group has sought to bring collaboration to the pharmaceutical industry while simultaneously maintaining intellectual property in its mission to provide better and faster process development of biopharmaceutical medicines.

The story

The Development Group currently has 14 workstreams to drive the innovation of the pharmaceutical industry of the future. Imtiaz Alam, Global Head of Process and Analytical Development Sciences at Lonza, has been involved in the Development Group for over four years as a sponsor. Through his involvement in workstreams and technical discussions, he has been able to see first-hand how peer-to-peer interactions help Lonza and other member companies assess where they stand and produce solutions to shared problems.

The outcomes

Members agree that participation in BioPhorum Development Group has provided a valuable opportunity for interactions with other companies, discussion of problems and potential solutions, and internal benchmarking. Through surveys, papers, posters, and face-to-face and virtual meetings, the team has sought to bring the industry together to drive innovation, increase speed and improve quality. Alam explained that Lonza has approximately 45 participants across the workstreams, and their involvement in the groups has been extremely valuable. They have been able to use their knowledge in an environment that can foster strong technical discussions, individual career development, and engagement with regulatory bodies as a team, which can be difficult for individual companies to do. One of the Phorum’s recent successes has been the Speed to Clinic initiative, which aims to harness scientific and technological advancements to streamline the drug development process while maintaining safety. New BioPhorum participant Amit Wani, Senior Scientist at Johnson & Johnson, has seen the potential benefits of this initiative and is looking forward to his involvement in the Phorum and the prospects of continuing to drive alignment across the industry in topics related to drug product.

The members recognize that having a joint interest in solving challenges and open participation enables the team to solve problems more easily than trying to achieve solutions on their own.

Lessons learned

The members recognize that having a joint interest in solving challenges and open participation in the Phorum enables the team to solve problems more easily than trying to achieve solutions on their own. Richard Alldread, Senior Director, Recombinant Product Development at CSL Behring Innovation GmbH, who has been involved with BioPhorum Development Group for one year explained that participating in the Phorum has been valuable to his company because of this open exchange of thoughts and ideas. “I’d like to find areas where people have unmet needs, like the recent Speed to Clinic initiative, and try to come up with tangible implementable solutions. For example, digital transformation is great to share ideas on because it tends to be an area where we need to improve in regard to how we handle data, but as fairly traditional scientists, we sometimes get lost in what is possible.” Carmelata Chitikila, Associate Director, BioTherapeutics Development & Supply at Johnson & Johnson, agrees that all of the data information that is available can be overwhelming and difficult to know how to process as an individual company, but she anticipates this challenge can also be met through collaboration within the Phorum. “With the various workstreams for different products at BioPhorum, we need to determine how to collate information that spans products and determine how to best digest this information,” explained Chitikila.

Through continued discussion and sharing, the members are excited about the possibilities for the future and look forward to addressing these and other industry-wide challenges.