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Reconfiguring global pharmaceutical value networks through targeted technology interventions

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Harrington, TS 
Phillips, MA 


Targeting a series of advanced manufacturing technology (AMT) ‘interventions’ provides the potential for significant step changes across the pharmaceutical value chain, from early stage ‘system discovery’ and clinical trials, through to novel service supply models. This research explores future value network configurations which, when aligned with disruptive shifts in technology (process and digital), may enable alternative routes to medicines production and the delivery of additional value to ‘end-users’, i.e. patients and health care providers. We draw on a categorisation of AMTs that may enable a shift from the traditional ‘batch’ and centralised manufacturing paradigm of ‘make-to-stock’, towards more re-distributed ‘continuous’ manufacturing and ‘make-to-order’ models. Despite reported benefits in the academic literature (e.g. reduced footprints, improved quality, enhanced flexibility and inventory savings), current adoption rates of continuous technologies in this sector remain low (c. 5%). This paper presents new data sources, in our study of AMT adoption in a global pharmaceutical context – assessing the barriers to implementation, and the pathways to delivering future continuous manufacturing scenarios. Our findings capture the high level of disparity in viewpoints, highlighting the uncertainties and transformational challenges ahead – in terms of opportunity areas, technological readiness and a future vision for the sector, as a whole.



continuous manufacturing, technology interventions, pharmaceutical value networks, reconfiguration opportunities, scenario assessment

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International Journal of Production Research

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Informa UK Limited
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/I033459/1)
This research is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation [grant number EP/1033459/1], its industrial partners, and the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) funded project ‘ReMediES’ (Re-configuring Medicines E2E Supply) [grant number TS/ L006529/1].