Survey Examines Trends in the Outsourcing Relationship - The BioPlan Associates 8th annual survey identifies key outsourcing concerns of sponsor companies and contractors. - BioPharm International

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Survey Examines Trends in the Outsourcing Relationship
The BioPlan Associates 8th annual survey identifies key outsourcing concerns of sponsor companies and contractors.


BioPharm International
Volume 24, Issue 10, pp. 26-33

TRENDS IN CMO SELECTION

We contacted Dr. Sonia Kansal-Kalavar, associate director of Biotherapeutics and Vaccine Outsourcing at Pfizer, who noted that the single most important trend in outsourcing today is the ability for chief officers to cull "the most qualified vendor to fit the gaps in their drug development." Determining how a vendor makes the grade over time is an important trend to follow, and one which we explore in our 8th Annual Report.

BioPlan found that during the past 5 years, the rankings of critical CMO attributes have shifted. For example, "establish a good working relationship," moved from the number-one spot in 2009, to the number-six spot this year, with 45.5% of respondents indicating this factor as a "very important" selection attribute. "Comply with my company's quality standards," perennially ranks as a leading concern, and takes the top "very important" spot this year, as it did in 2010.

As the industry matures, it seems that customer service and "establishing good client-vendor relationships" are improving. Maintaining good client–vendor relationships continues to be important, but the persistent "working relationship" issues may be taking on less importance. This change may be due to the current economic situation, where effective working relationships are becoming more vital because companies are experiencing internal staffing cuts.

STRATEGIES TO ADDRESS OUTSOURCING CONCERNS

Evaluating the changes in factors that sponsors use to select a CMO provides perspective on how effective CMOs have been at addressing these critical concerns. During the past four years, these shifts have been relatively significant. The largest increase has occurred in the importance of CMOs' handling of cross-contamination: this factor jumped significantly during the past five years, with an additional 32% of the survey respondents identifying this attribute as "very important," or "important." In contrast, capacity issues have shrunk substantially, by almost 1 in 5 respondents in just 4 years, reflecting the worldwide overcapacity situation.

Partly as a result of the current economic climate, biopharmaceutical companies seem to have recognized the need to focus more heavily on productivity, processes, and quality. As such, companies are becoming increasingly risk- and cost-averse, especially for high-risk, high-cost outsourcing projects such as those involving biologics. These economic pressures have created stress and problems in the client–contractor relationship. The BioPlan study makes clear that despite ranking shifts during the past 3–4 years, the core critical attributes of an ideal CMO, such as quality standards and IP retention, remain consistent. For biodevelopers increasingly working within a globalized, competitive landscape, the benchmarking of these concerns is essential to getting the most out of the client–contractor relationship.


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