Editorial—Sustainability for a Long-Distance Race

April 1, 2004
Carol L. Fisher

BioPharm International, BioPharm International-04-01-2004, Volume 17, Issue 4

It may take take more than a decade to bring a new drug to market, but it's still a race from the bench to the shelf. It's easy to think of the race in terms of a sprint, like a six-second dash from one end of the pool to the other, especially during crunch times when you're rushing to meet deadlines. However, developing a biologic drug is a much longer race, more like a 400-meter medley. If you've ever competed in one, you know it's a test of endurance that requires a long-distance mind-set, strategic thinking, and a complex combination of skills.

It may take take more than a decade to bring a new drug to market, but it's still a race from the bench to the shelf. It's easy to think of the race in terms of a sprint, like a six-second dash from one end of the pool to the other, especially during crunch times when you're rushing to meet deadlines. However, developing a biologic drug is a much longer race, more like a 400-meter medley. If you've ever competed in one, you know it's a test of endurance that requires a long-distance mind-set, strategic thinking, and a complex combination of skills.

Carol L. Fisher

That's exactly how some industry leaders are approaching the drug development finish line today. It's less about pouring endless amounts of money into the pipeline and more about employing best practices and alternative strategies, if the growth of the BioPharma Operations Excellence Consortium is any indication. The Consortium now holds chapter meetings on both coasts of the United States and in Europe. Members are seriously engaged in searching for ways to go the distance in the most efficient, cost-effective way.

A company looking for every competitive advantage in this long-distance race should consider adding sustainability to its repertoire. Sustainable-built environments benefit not only the economic bottom line but the social and environmental too, AKA the "triple bottom line." The financial markets prove this out. Over a five-year period, the Dow Jones Sustainability Index outperformed the Dow Jones Global Index with an annualized return of 15.8% versus 12.5% (Financial Review, February 27, 2002).

There is pretty dramatic documentation that sustainable strategies increase shareholder value, boost worker productivity, improve employee satisfaction, and decrease absenteeism — besides having a positive impact on the environment and the community. If all that is possible without costing more to implement, sustainability can yield significant returns — and shave valuable minutes off your time to market.

Carol L. Fisher, Editor in Chief

BioPharm International

cfisher@advanstar.com

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