From the Editor—At The Brink of Maturity

January 1, 2004
Carol L. Fisher

BioPharm International, BioPharm International-01-01-2004, Volume 17, Issue 1

There are pressures on biopharma to grow up — and to grow up fast. Although we still hear references to its "infancy," I think we're well past that stage and already confronting the awkward — and sometimes painful — experience of adolescence.

There are pressures on biopharma to grow up — and to grow up fast. Although we still hear references to its "infancy," I think we're well past that stage and already confronting the awkward — and sometimes painful — experience of adolescence.

Carol L. Fisher

Like a teenager searching for an identity, the industry is in the midst of organizing and defining itself as a business, spurred on by looming patent expirations, extraordinary costs, and major risks. Leadership firms know they must improve their processes to remain competitive, and they've begun analyzing and implementing best practices in areas like accounting, production, marketing, and the logistics of distribution to the masses — or, in some cases, to markets of one.

Industry pioneers in the supply-chain arena met similar challenges more than a decade ago. Those who slashed cycle times, maximized sourcing capabilities, and streamlined distribution by implementing Quick Response and Efficient Consumer Response pulled ahead of the competition and reaped the rewards.

You may recall the Bose management success story with JIT II (Just In Time II), where Lance Dixon, with the blessings of Bose President Sherwin Greenblatt, nixed the well-established paradigm of adversarial supply-chain relationships and created collaborative alliances, albeit cautiously, by empowering Bose suppliers onsite and via automation technology. The strategy blew them away, far exceeding Dixon's, Greenblatt's, and even the suppliers' expectations and forecasts.

Of course there's a huge difference between drugs and high-end sound systems, and you may never be involved in developing or improving purchasing strategies. But there's a universal lesson behind the Bose success story that is applicable to every industry or company seeking change. Some may argue the success of JIT II was merely timing, or the marketplace, or the individual players. Personally, I think what made the difference was Bose's business philosophy and corporate culture: be devoted to excellence; promote and support freedom of thought; and understand it takes time for good things to happen, so be patient. These were the tenets that provided fertile soil for the paradigm shift that Dixon introduced.

There's no doubt in my mind that our industry is coming of age. It's obvious when you look at BioPharm International's most recent reader survey results. Article requests aren't just about science, validation, regulations, and compliance. Readers want to learn about scale-up development strategies, "business" issues, manufacturing processes, and collaboration.

These are the requests of pioneers whose industry is at the brink of maturity.

Carol L. Fisher, Editor in Chief

BioPharm International

cfisher@advanstar.com.

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