Breaking outsourcing norms

Feb. 16, 2020
CMOs are crushing the contract services game by sidestepping tradition
Post-Super Bowl activities have proceeded in normal fashion — the ticker tape from champion parades has been swept up, the winning quarterback has returned from Disney World and, most importantly, we’ve all recovered from our hangovers.

But Super Bowl LIV itself was unique.

Besides bringing Kansas City its first Super Bowl victory in 50 years, the game highlighted numerous examples of people who stepped out of traditional roles and rattled the status quo.

The winning quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, ushered in a new age of high-scoring, pass-heavy offense (known as “Air Raid” offense) that most of the NFL had historically laughed off as too extreme. Katie Sowers, offensive assistant coach for the San Francisco 49ers, made history as the first openly gay and first female coach in the Super Bowl. The halftime show shook the world as 43-year old Shakira and 50-year old Jennifer Lopez proved that belly-dancing and pole-dancing are not relegated to 20-somethings dancing in the dark, recessed corners of all-hours clubs.

When it comes to contract services, challenging the ordinary and expected can be tricky, too — but the rewards can also be big.

Pharma contractors are hired to perform a specific job on a set timeline with a limited budget to achieve one needed result. It’s a business model that doesn’t always welcome the risk that comes along with fresh ideas.

For this month’s cover story, we’ve chosen four contract services providers (three CDMOs and one CRO) who have found a way to break down barriers in the market, instead of being confined by them.

Lonza has set a new standard in antibody drug conjugates production by becoming the first to manufacture all three ADC elements under one quality system at a single facility. With over 200 ADCs in the preclinical stages of development, growth is inevitable and Lonza is set up to help drugmakers bring these promising oncology treatments to market.

Piramal Pharma Solutions is leading the way towards a new cultural and organizational mindset within the contract manufacturing space through its focus on patient-centricity. Through town halls and patient awareness councils, the CDMO is making sure its employees understand the impact that development and commercialization decisions have on patients.

Cambrex’s holistic approach to tech transfer is helping clients to avoid common pitfalls on the way to commercial launch. In a CMO world where everyone is promising “seamless” tech transfer, the reality is that this is rarely the case — but Cambrex is working hard towards that goal.

GVK BIO’s corporate social initiative is helping women leaders in India challenge the glass ceiling in pharma. In a country where less than 30 percent of working-age women are currently part of the workforce, GVK BIO has recognized that change is long overdue.

As more pharma companies look to lower costs, streamline operations, and expand geographical presence, CMOs and CROs are quietly becoming the behind-the-scenes heroes of pharma. It is our hope that this month’s coverage gives them their well-deserved time in the spotlight.

So, here’s to those who aren’t afraid to push boundaries — who take risks to show the world what can be possible. And may we all look as good as J-Lo in our 50s.

About the Author

Karen P. Langhauser | Chief Content Director, Pharma Manufacturing

Karen currently serves as Pharma Manufacturing's chief content director.

Now having dedicated her entire career to b2b journalism, Karen got her start writing for Food Manufacturing magazine. She made the decision to trade food for drugs in 2013, when she joined Putman Media as the digital content manager for Pharma Manufacturing, later taking the helm on the brand in 2016.

As an award-winning journalist with 20+ years experience writing in the manufacturing space, Karen passionately believes that b2b content does not have to suck. As the content director, her ongoing mission has been to keep Pharma Manufacturing's editorial look, tone and content fresh and accessible.

Karen graduated with honors from Bucknell University, where she majored in English and played Division 1 softball for the Bison. Happily living in NJ's famed Asbury Park, Karen is a retired Garden State Rollergirl, known to the roller derby community as the 'Predator-in-Chief.'