Timelines and Supply Chains Still Seen as Challenges
BIO International’s annual convention is one of the largest gatherings of biotechnology innovators in the world. The Aldevron team attending this year’s in-person gathering in San Diego observed that the past few years of COVID restrictions haven’t changed the high interest in our industry.
One theme the event had in common with other conferences this year is the concern over timelines for manufacture and turnaround times. Supply chain restrictions have amplified this to a degree, with a number of attendees saying that their development timelines have been slowed, forcing a closer look at how turnaround times and planning are managed in-house, while holding suppliers to a higher standard.
That led to several discussions on the state of the industry’s capacity to provide needed elements for research and development. In addition, the need to find a way to streamline approvals and make manufacturing operations more efficient, across the industry, seem to be growing in importance as the need for therapeutics development accelerates beyond what was expected only two-to-three years ago.
How to meet all those needs (capacity, timeline, supplies and manufacturing) was in evidence all over the event, as many companies are following Aldevron’s lead in expanding facilities and capabilities to provide the industry with high-quality products. Expansion is expected to help in shortening turnaround times, which several attendees expressed as an issue with their projects.
From the standpoint of modalities, mRNA is still a leading topic. This interest is still growing, with additional questions about the industry's abilities to support the demand for mRNA in therapeutic development, or to develop partnerships that can help ease concerns about supplies and timelines. There were indications that, while still prominent, some of the interest in vaccine development has now moved toward development of gene and cell therapies.
BIO provided a wide range of topics to discuss, and a chance to get a view of the industry that we haven’t been able to get for some time. Optimism from the attendees seems to point to strong ongoing growth, which may bring further challenges in development. But with the indications of expansion from suppliers such as Aldevron, quite a few attendees said they were confident those challenges would be met.