The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented stress on supply chains in nearly every global manufacturing segment. Bioprocessing and healthcare have been hit especially hard as suppliers struggle to find materials to meet the demand for COVID vaccines and therapeutics. On top of ongoing non-COVID biologics projects being manufactured, this has created serious supply chain stress.
The bioprocessing industry has been instrumental in addressing COVID challenges, but at the beginning of the pandemic, with no precedents to this situation, worst-case scenarios were being planned for. Yet, despite some dire predictions, industry has shown resilience and the production of vaccines and biotherapeutics has continued.
To provide an overview of the current and near-future bioprocess supply situation and trends, BioPhorum has collaborated with the biotechnology market strategy and research firm BioPlan Associates. The findings have been published in The impact of COVID-19 on bioprocessing supply chain.
The analysis is based on qualitative insights from interviews with ten large-scale biopharmaceutical end-users in the US and Europe, and ten bioprocess suppliers. Questions asked include:
- How should suppliers change production output over the next 12 months?
- Are current order cancellations part of the business cycle (COVID-transient) or a more systemic situation?
- Have we seen greater manufacturing efficiencies that are cutting overall demand?
- Are we seeing greater competition that may reduce suppliers’ revenue?
- Are suppliers increasing or reducing hiring?
The research findings include comments on serious supply problems in the near term, how better communication is needed if the gap between end-users’ vs. suppliers’ forecasted demand is to be reduced, and the systemic shifts in segment revenue.
The research shows that despite the acute challenges, especially for supplies such as single-use devices, the bioprocess industry has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic reasonably well. This means the bioprocessing sector will continue to effectively deliver vaccines and biologics into 2023 and beyond. The lessons learned from this period will result in a more dynamic supply segment with more competitors, innovation, efficient supply chains, and probably future price competition.
If you want to know more about the research findings, click here.