Magazine Article | March 1, 2016

White- And Blue-Collar Leadership In Pharma Outsourcing

Source: Life Science Leader

By Louis Garguilo, Chief Editor, Outsourced Pharma

What do biotechnology and pharmaceutical sponsors want most from their contract development and manufacturing service providers? Today that answer might be summed up as: “White- and Blue-Collar Leadership.” Allow me to explain.

During last year’s CMO Leadership Awards ceremony, I thought the following: “Despite the vast industry experience and brainpower of the scientists, engineers, managers, and executives in this ballroom, the service providers gathered here represent the real blue-collar workforce of the biopharma industry” — blue collar in every positive connotation of the term.

As I explained in a subsequent article, these are the hard-working men and women, often unbeknownst and unacclaimed, who wake up each day around the globe to keep projects and materials flowing and provide the services and solutions the rest of the industry – and patients ultimately – count on. Along with the great men and women at their sponsors’ facilities, these are the people who help put the “make” in “making drugs.”

As the year progressed, though, we increasingly heard biotech and pharma sponsors talk about obtaining a higher level of strategic leadership from their service providers and suppliers. CMOs should now feel confident, sponsors are saying, and add “white-collar” leadership to overall relationships, as well as guidance for specific projects. In fact, at an Outsourcing Pharma Conference during the year, the CEO of a CMO said, “I’ve been astonished at the use of the word ‘partner’ more recently; sponsors actually mean it.” Another CEO put it this way: “We’re reaching an interesting point where the service-provider industry needs to make a decision: Are we going to lead?”

Moving to this year’s CMO Leadership Awards, and this supplement to Life Science Leader, we’ve listened carefully to both sides of the sponsor-provider dialogue. For the first time, we’ve partnered with Industry Standard Research (ISR) to home in on the specific attributes the bio and pharma industries value in their CMOs: quality, reliability, capabilities, expertise, and compatibility. We’ve also taken into account that while all sponsors look for these qualities in some manner and degree, your needs and approach vary more than ever. To capture this, we’ve broken down the awards into the sponsor categories of: Big Pharma, Small Pharma, or Overall (combined Big and Small Pharma).

There’s more. We’ve also made an adjustment from perception-based metrics to experiential data, ensuring our results are truly aligned with direct sponsor experience. This year, award recipients can see more clearly reflected in their crystalline awards words like “partner” and “leader.”

Is there an overriding focus in outsourcing in 2016? If I had to pick one, I’d go back to a fundamental activity: project management. More outsourcing, more complicated products and processes, wider global and multivendor partnerships, and extended supply chains all call for elevated and enlightened project management. One of our articles in this issue (p. 28) dives into this subject. (Spoiler alert: we draw an unexpected conclusion.) I hope you’ll enjoy all the articles within, as well as reading the lists of who’s the best of the best in our industry. I’d also like to send out a special thank-you to Janssen’s Remo Colarusso for working with me on the feature article.