The article, Reimagining Medicine, was published in the July/August 2016 edition of Pharmaceutical Engineering® Magazine.

Joseph Jimenez, CEO, Novartis, Reimagining Medicine - Pharmaceutical Engineering MagazinePart two of this three-part series from Joseph Jimenez, CEO, Novartis, details the second point in how Novartis is reimagining medicine.

Second, we must scale up our operations so that we can meet the growing demand of the future. As the global population ages, we expect demand for our products to rise considerably.

That means we need to begin tackling this challenge now to ensure we can successfully handle the significant increase in manufacturing capacity we expect will be needed over the next several years.

One way we’re advancing towards this is by taking steps to increase cross-divisional collaboration across geographies and improving the way we work together internally. We want to combine all of our resources to ensure we have the capacity to support a growing portfolio. Earlier this year, we announced we would centralize our manufacturing operations across divisions within a single technical operations unit. We expect that this will of course help us streamline costs, but it should also help us improve quality. By centralizing our operations, we expect to be better positioned to develop next-generation technologies and share best practices.

In 2015, the US FDA approved a record 51 drugs, the most since 1950. Almost 40% of these approvals were for biologic drugs, up from 22% in 2013.

A great example is our biologics portfolio, which we expect to be an important growth driver for the company. In the next decade, we expect demand for biologics to increase significantly, up to eight times from today. This includes both innovative products, as well as generic versions of biologic medicines, or biosimilars. These products are difficult to make and require special skills and expertise, as well as specific infrastructure. We need to be ready to meet that demand. We are building our capacity for our manufacturing platforms so that we are able to quickly scale up and deliver for patients. We are creating best-in-class capabilities that will enable us to have a smaller manufacturing footprint with increased capacity. For instance, the growing demand for our drug Cosentyx® has prompted us to focus our efforts across the entire chain to ensure that we can meet this in the near term.

We’re also leveraging new technologies such as continuous manufacturing to speed up the traditional method of producing and packaging drugs. Historically, it can take up to 12 months to manufacture a drug, but continuous manufacturing can produce the same product in just hours, from start to finish, and at a much lower cost. Companies can save an estimated 30 percent or more in operating costs by reducing product-quality failures, cutting waste, and shortening production timelines. Since 2007, we have been working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop the joint Novartis–MIT Center for Continuous Manufacturing, investing $65 million. This is one of MIT’s largest industrial research collaborations ever. Together we have already developed the first prototype process that produces drug tablets from raw chemical ingredients in a continuous end-to-end process. In fact, we have already started to implement this technology at one of our manufacturing facilities in Switzerland. We expect this technology will enable us to produce medicines for significantly less cost and with faster lead times, all while helping deliver better quality.

As we work to innovate how we manufacture our drugs, we expect that a key piece of this will be our ability to attract the best talent in the world, with deep functional expertise and leadership capabilities. We want to build the strongest team in the industry, and we aspire to be an employer of choice.

By:  Joseph Jimenez, CEO, Novartis

Missed part one? Catch up now – Reimagining Medicine – The Novartis Mission.

Part three of this series will be published next week revealing the final pieces of Novartis’ commitment to reimagining medicine.  Want to read the full article now?  ISPE Member’s download the latest edition of Pharmaceutical Engineering® Magazine.  Not a member?  Join today to take advantage of this unique member benefit packed with pharmaceutical industry news, special reports, and technical articles to help you in your day-to-day job.

Hear Joseph Jimenez speak at the 2016 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo in Atlanta, GA on 18 – 21 September 2016.  Jimenez will give his perspective on pharmaceutical industry trends and invite discussion with attendees on the future of the industry.  Register today!