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Strategies for Simplifying Biopharma’s Digital Journey

The biopharma industry requires digital transformations to improve efficiencies and deliver critical therapeutics to patients at an accelerated rate. Although great efforts have gone into implementing data-driven business models and processes, the industry has seen mixed results in return, with the digital evolution remaining in the early phases of development.

Lack of standards, vision and appropriate strategies keep digitalisation programs from success, possibly preventing biopharma from achieving its goals for a data-driven future. Clearly, biopharma needs a shared vision and strategic roadmap to facilitate this transformation.

In this article, Samsung Biologics’ Chief Information and Marketing Officer, Process Improvement, James Choi delves into the shared vision of biopharma’s leaders to drive a digital transformation in their organisations. He also emphasizes the need for the industry to prepare for the road ahead.

The Need to Accelerate Biopharma’s Digital Transformation

In the biopharma industry, mergers and acquisitions (M&As) have helped elevate companies, translating into a wider variety of offerings, greater levels of expertise, and expanded geographical reach. However, when organisations join together, siloed digital infrastructures can arise and lead to difficulties. The challenges and costs involved in adopting holistic data management systems to rectify these issues mean that many of these companies are running disparate legacy technologies that are decades old.

Consequently, the biopharma industry is constrained from developing efficient data-driven operations and is in danger of a future filled with data integrity (DI) challenges. This is highlighted by the fact that 75% of FDA manufacturing warning letters in 2018 cited DI as an issue, more than doubling the 28% seen in 2014.1

Despite this need for the industry to accelerate its digital transformation, recent polling has identified some hesitancy in adapting data-driven digital business models.2 In fact, in a survey of equipment vendors involved in designing and upgrading their biopharma clients’ facilities, 27% stated digitization is rarely part of the discussion.2

This lack of consistency in digital innovation is not sustainable. However, with industry-developed standards and digital plant maturity models, the biopharma industry can start to address these issues and accelerate progress.