Perhaps the best advice I’ve heard regarding industry conferences is twofold: first, make sure you attend, and second, keep your objectives for attending simple.
This sagacity comes from Timothy Scott, president and co-founder of Pharmatek Laboratories, a CDMO focusing on services from assessing “druggability” to clinical supply for small molecules of peptides.
“Anytime I go to a conference and there are discussions about our industry, my goal really is to just learn something new,” says Scott, who co-founded Pharmatek 15 years ago in San Diego. “How can I make my company better, and how can we do a better job as an industry? I expect we’ll learn a lot regarding both at Outsourced Pharma West in November.”
Scott will be one of the many industry leaders from pharma, bio and outsourcing service providers gathering at this inaugural conference and exhibition on November 10-11 in San Francisco. (To follow Scott’s first precept, click here to register.)
“I know this is an overused term, but it still applies,” says Scott. “I like to learn ‘best practices.’ I like to talk to other industry folks, learn what they are doing and apply it to my company. Likewise, I share the things that I see work and don’t work. More of this dialogue will make the industry better as a whole.”
My conversation with Scott reveals that he has a lot to share, and is completely open to doing so. He has deeply considered the industry as a whole, and how the individual pieces fit together to form our modern-day, global bio-pharma outsourcing market.
“Strategies are evolving. The outsourcing that is happening right now is fairly new,” he says. “We have hundreds of small and virtual companies with their quick-to-clinic strategies. They are not interested in validating everything to the nth degree before they take the next step. They are VC-backed and need to get in the clinic and get an answer as fast as possible. They think differently than companies 30 years ago. So, now we have hundreds of CROs and CDMOs in response to this, adjusting their own strategies.”
What might be the most important trend in the industry as Scott sees it is that pharma is looking to emulate these strategies. He says for most of the pieces in the development puzzle, pharma is also willing to go wherever in the world they can find the service provider who best does the job.
“A lot of people come to us because we have a particular expertise in developing poorly soluble compounds and finding solutions for that. There are other formulation groups who concentrate on different areas. A savvy CMC manager or development director today says, ‘I have to pick and choose the right skill set just like I would in hiring the right employees to do this internally.’”
Nowadays, many of those choices are in China and India. Regarding those markets, and considering they are competition for Pharmatek, Scott’s thinking is intriguing. “Anybody that says something negative about India or China is basing that on an experience they had in the past, or basing it on some past history they have read about. It is not about where things are going.”
Where they are going, says Scott, is toward a more integrated, global marketplace.
“I really believe you will see in 10 years good quality and reasonable pricing globally for outsourcing,” he says. “And that brings the industry full circle to sponsors basing decisions on the best customer service and competency.”
If he’s correct, this leveling of the playing field for global competition should be a win-win for sponsors and providers. Fortunately, you can discuss this face-to-face with Scott at Outsourced Pharma West in November.
(Editor’s Note: In preparation to speak with Pharmatek CEO Timothy Scott at Outsourced Pharma West, click here for an in-depth article on his thoughts for the future of the global bio-pharma outsourcing industry.)