35th Anniversary Special: New Models in Contract Services - Pharmaceutical Technology

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PharmTech Europe

35th Anniversary Special: New Models in Contract Services
Sponsor companies' increasing focus on strategic outsourcing has changed the rules of the game.

Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 36, Issue 7, pp. 62-67, 73

Influence of quality by design

PharmTech: Has quality by design (QbD) influenced the outsourcing relationship? (See also "Reader Views on Changes in Pharma Manufacturing").

Kosko (Pfizer CentreSource): I fully expect that the benefits and advantages bestowed by a QbD approach will be an increasing topic of discussion, especially for new high-value projects proceeding through the development cycle. Selecting a service provider with expertise, capability, and experience can lead to a valuable dialogue on the range of potential benefits. A robust QbD approach also can lead to a greater understanding of the manufacturing process for both partners, which ultimately results in a better management of quality, change control, and supply.

Bhatia (DPT): Increased FDA oversight has resulted in a strong emphasis on quality management systems. Failure to adopt new initiatives that drive quality has recently resulted in warning letters, consent degrees, and even closure of plants for pharma, biotech, and contract providers. QbD is a similar initiative that will ultimately drive quality. It is expensive and requires change in processes and systems. But that is what is needed to deliver the quality that the agency is targeting for the future. The survival and success of the CRO that supports CMC could depend on the decision to either sit on the sidelines or make the tough decision to support this initiative.

Weiler (SAFC): With more than 80% of all new chemical entities originated by small virtual pharma or biotech companies, QbD plays an important role. CMOs have to use all their experience to advise their sponsors on the fastest and most efficient way to move forward. An experienced CMO will have worked with many different sponsor companies, so the concept of continuous improvement is built into daily operations. As a CMO, we are always looking at ways to build out each process by adopting and implementing best-practice procedures. This experience, coupled with the speed and flexibility of virtual pharma companies can be one of the key success factors when using the QbD approach in an outsourcing relationship.

Hennecke (Xcelience): The pharmaceutical industry has learned the collective lesson that a lack of process control can lead to significant downstream costs in terms of time and money. The industry's response has been to bring QbD into the earlier stages of development. The question is not really whether or not to implement QbD, but how and when. Because of their breadth in customer bases and scientific understanding, service providers are increasingly in a strong position to offer solutions to complex formulation and process-development needs using QbD.

Many sponsors are looking for advice from consultants and outsourcing partners on the role of QbD in their drug-development strategy. More and more, I see contract service providers actively engaging in discussions with sponsor companies early in the development process, recognizing the significant value in the CMC data package as sponsor companies consider approval submissions or technology transfer to commercial manufacturers. A provider that can provide QbD services really sets itself apart from the pack and takes solutions selling to a new level.

Ruff (Metrics): QbD has definitely raised client expectations. They have read the ICH guidances and listened to FDA, which has signaled that failure to follow QbD is to invite delays in drug approvals. Sponsors now expect their providers to fully understand and apply QbD principles in their development projects. Clearly, this is already happening and will become increasingly important. Contract service providers who follow the QbD pathway will have a significant competitive advantage.


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