Pharmaceutical Commerce - November/December 2016 - 22
A new approach to pharma supply-chain collaboration
Team-Up seeks to bring manufacturers and logistics providers together
By Alan Kennedy, Executive Director, Team-Up
Market expectations of service
and quality are continuously advancing.
The health product consumer of
today seeks and expects more service,
more safety, more value and more
customization. For this to happen
requires enormous, and continuous,
efficiency improvements on the part of
However, productivity dividends are, like many things,
subject to the law of diminishing returns. Supply network
optimization offers a clear route to meeting the escalating
requirements of the market while securing the longterm profitability and market respect of the participating
organizations. Among the industr y's more savvy
organizations, the efficiency battleground is moving from the
factory to the supply chain with huge potential for efficiency
gains, cost savings and competitive advantage.
Research by Accenture has indicated that, by implementing
global strategies to optimize freight-related spend, shippers
can lower transportation costs by up to 25%. Similar levels
of savings have been recorded in other studies of pharma
logistics rationalization. The bottom line is that major
pharma shippers, especially those with multinational
manufacturing and marketing interests, have it within their
grasp to extract orders-of-magnitude improvements in value
if they are prepared to support collaborative delivery models
that go right down to the industry's grass roots.
The new Team-Up initiative operates as a shipper-driven,
single-focus 'best practice' group specifically promoting
strategic partnering between all players in the pharmalogistics process. With this in mind, the Team-Up program
came out of exploratory discussions at the LogiPharma
2016 Conference in Montreux followed by a roundtable
consultation with key stakeholders. The idea behind the
consultation process was to bring a senior representative from
each of the main pharma-logistics stakeholders around a table
to explore the potential for genuine end-to-end collaboration.
The need for reform
In the case of pharmaceutical manufacturing, the processes
concerned are generally under continuous efficiency review
and, as a result, most of the "low-hanging" productivity
gains are quickly picked up. In contrast, pharma-logistics
operations tend to be relatively comatose, often escaping
root and branch analysis by pharma producers on account of
their 'non-core business' status, and the anticipated cost and
disruption of change.
However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to reconcile
the growing demands for reduced costs with those for
improved performance. Logistics companies are having to
negotiate an ever more intricate labyrinth of regulations,
performance standards and shipping routes while maintaining
the profitability necessary for innovation, business
development and shareholder return.
These logistical challenges are particularly acute
in developing regions where there may be additional risks
associated with infrastructure limitations, tax, duty and
regulatory complications, poor market data, ramp and handling
inefficiencies, language barriers, and a lack of trained manpower.
Team-Up is seeking to emulate the radical supply-chain
re-engineering that is a recurring feature of many other
logistics-intensive industries such as automotive, retail,
aerospace and construction.
A preliminary portfolio of Team-Up goals includes:
* Realigning the corporate culture of pharma logistics to
better support integrated working.
* S haring collaborative best practice and providing
the industry with practical advice and tools in order to
standardize partnering methodologies and facilitate the
assembly of integrated supply networks.
* P roviding shippers and logistics providers with a
recognized accreditation status for exemplary collaborative
working and to promote these credentials to all sector
* Strengthening the business case for integrated supply
networks by building an evidence-base from pilot programs
and other evaluations.
Team-Up operates independently of any existing bodies
and movements, and is not associated with any vested interest
groups or particular segments of the supply chain. This makes
it relevant to the entire pharma-logistics sector, including all
modes of transport-air, ground and ocean. The Team-Up
approach is of universal validity and has no geographical
barriers-local, national or international. Furthermore, the
Team-Up approach has been designed to foster the collaborative
working practices that are implicit in partnership-dependent
programs, such as IATA's CEIV program, the Pharma.Aero
group and other industry collectives.
Planning sessions are being held in late 2016 with a formal
kickoff slated for early 2017. We invite all interested parties to
contact the Team-Up organization and play an active role in
its development. Contact us via www.team-up.global.
About the Author
Alan Kennedy is a collaboration consultant and executive
director of Team-Up. A pioneer of integrated supply chain
working, Alan first got involved in the practical implementation
of collaborative working methods in supply chains while
working with the Electrolux Group in the 1980s. More recently,
he has been involved in bringing best-collaborative practices
to the pharma-logistics sector. He has presented at many
conferences and published numerous papers on the subject
of supply chain collaboration and integration. He can be
reached at email@example.com.
ATCC broadens its resources for cell lines to research cancer
New resources for precision medicine
A flurry of announcements from
American Type Cell Culture (ATCC;
Manassas, VA) signal a major commitment
to new resources and capabilities in
providing cells and cancer "models" (a
term that refers to cell lines with particular
genomic characteristics) to academic
and commercial researchers. ATCC, a
nonprofit, has been for years a repository
of human cells, bacteria, yeasts and viruses;
it also develops standardized materials and
protocols for working with these biological
materials in drug development and research.
In July, the National Cancer Institute
announced the formation of the Human
Cancer Models Initiative, which brought
together NCI with Cancer Research UK,
the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the
foundation Hubrecht Organoid Technology.
Together, these organizations will "generate
new models of cancer that more accurately
represent human tumors," according to an
NCI statement. Of particular interest is
the development of "organoids," which are
three-dimensional organ-buds, grown in
vitro, that show realistic micro-anatomy.
That technology itself is only a few years
old. NCI contracts with a company called
Leidos Biomed to manage a biorepository in
Frederick, MD, said to be one of the world's
largest. Leidos, in turn, is subcontracting
the management of the facility to ATCC.
Under a separate contract, NCI has
chosen ATCC to manage the intake,
authentication, production marketing and
distribution of the cancer models. These
models "will be generated using tumor
tissue from patients with a variety of cancer
22 Visit our website at www.PharmaceuticalCommerce.com November | December 2016
types, including rare and pediatric cancers,
and will include a complete genetic analysis
and anonymized clinical information about
the patients and their tumors, including
their response to treatment," according to
And in May, ATCC renewed a multiyear
contract with the National Institute of
Allergy and Infectious Diseases to manage
a repository of those biologic samples and
compounds. This contract work has been
ongoing since 2003.
F i n a l l y, AT C C a n n o u n c e d a
collaboration with BioAgilytix, a leading
bioanalytical testing laboratory specializing
in large molecule bioanalysis. Together, the
organizations will develop new and custom
cell lines, with ATCC providing reagents
and cells complementing the bioassays
BioAgilytix develops. The technology is
said to "establish the potency and stability
of therapeutic products and help establish
their safety and efficacy profiles."
On its own, ATCC maintains a 126,000sq. ft. facility in Manassas that contains 200
freezers, including vapor-phase nitrogen
freezers, mechanical freezers and cold
rooms. Some 3,400 cell lines are maintained
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