Innovation, Intelligence, Passion

Published on: 
Pharmaceutical Technology, Pharmaceutical Technology-03-02-2011, Volume 35, Issue 3

INTERPHEX 2011 aims to address the industry's unique characteristics.

From the basic science that drives research to the complex engineering that defines process development and the global supply chain, this is a complicated industry. Add to it a changing business model, emerging markets, challenging pipelines, a tough regulatory process, and research and development costs that are still off the charts, and you have what could turn into a tangled web of complexity. But pharm is also a simple industry, in a way. An industry whose essence can be captured in a few words: "Where patients come first" (Merck), "Do more, feel better, live longer" (GlaxoSmithKline), "To be as brave as the people we serve" (Shire). It's an industry with a common purpose: to make patients' lives better.

It's also an industry where INTERPHEX plays a role, producing what is recognized as the leading annual face-to-face convocation. Compared to the industry we serve, the event business is relatively easy to understand. But the fact that INTERPHEX provides a singular event for a singular industry gives us a serious responsibility to communicate the industry's unique characteristics effectively and efficiently.

In preparing for this year's exposition, we brainstormed, combed through research, studied the market, and went into the field to talk to our partners, sponsors, exhibitors, and attendees. Out of this research emerged three watchwords for INTERPHEX 2011: innovation, intelligence, and passion. Let me tell you why.


Innovation. Our first thought was product and process innovation, but we came to realize that innovation applies more broadly and richly to this industry than that simple perspective. Innovation is not limited to the economic perspective of creating customer or producer value or doing things to improve productivity. Looking beyond these goals reveals a world of innovation in the general collective-thinking process, in organizational restructuring, and even at the level of individual reinvention.

Intelligence. About a year ago, I visited a leading biotech company. The top manufacturing and quality management leadership were kind enough to spend an entire day with me discussing the market, their company, their needs, and where INTERPHEX fits in. When I left at the end of the day, I realized there was more brainpower in that meeting than in any other I'd been to previously. But it didn't stop there. That experience with industry has held true in every company meeting and conversation I've had since. The collective brainpower in this industry rivals any other.

Passion. Any discussion of passion takes us back to the simplicity of the pharmaceutical manufacturing market and how everyone who touches it (even event producers) helps, in some way, to make patients' lives better. I've experienced this passion in settings ranging from stirring keynote speeches to private conversations about possible treatments for a young child's illness. I have heard company presidents and CEOs express this passion as well as those who work in the ranks of their companies. It's a driving force for the corporations and individuals in this industry.

I believe you'll see some concrete examples of these watchwords at this year's INTERPHEX on March 29–31 in New York City. They'll be in the educational programs developed by our Advisory Board. Topics include regulatory perspectives, global supply-chain management, manufacturing in emerging markets, and more, all delivered by learned and engaged experts. They'll be in all of the special sessions and events, from our Signature Series to the INTERPHEX Main Stage. And they'll be in the practical wisdom and collaborative approach of the more than 650 exhibitors who will be showcasing their newest and best products and services.

I hope that with innovation, intelligence, and passion, we've come close to capturing the industry's complexity in a simple yet meaningful way. We look forward to seeing you at the Javits Convention Center in New York, and I look forward to hearing from you at any time about how we can make the marketplace created by INTERPHEX even more effective in serving this industry.

Bob Stewart is industry vice-president for INTERPHEX,