Skip to Content
Personal Insights

Therapy based supply chain in Life Sciences

Innovative IT players and hyper-scaler cloud vendors are penetrating the Life Sciences market and collaborating effectively with drug and device manufacturers. The recent convergence in the medical product segment has delivered state-of-the-art mobile apps for devices, as product orientation is moving gradually to service orientation, focused on patient proximity. Large pharmaceutical companies are acquiring biologics and therapy companies to grow their businesses and diversify their portfolios. Life Sciences companies now have the opportunity to learn from cloud business models like SaaS – Software as a Service, IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service and consider their own portfolio product as a service.  For example: plasma as a service as a new profitable opportunity for collaboration via their ecosystem platform similar to PaaS – platform as a service.

In the blood-plasma value chain, some Bio-pharma companies are investing in R&D and manufacturing of plasma therapies in their own collection centers in various countries where they separate plasma from blood collected from healthy donors. They also buy additional plasma from 3rd party resellers who own blood donation services that are monitored by the government or private/public organizations like the Red Cross based in their local country. These manufacturers are called Fractionators, as the production process involves fractionation (similar to benzene-oil separation), purification and filling-packaging process. The supply chain process involves two stages i.e. inbound planning where manufacturing capacity constraints demand aggregated the supply needed from various plasma collection sites to produce drugs and outbound planning that covers the responsive supply from the manufacturing site via the wholesaler distribution center to the hospital for drug infusions.  The manufacturing strategy is make-to-stock, and logistics involves cold chain and typical time period for the entire supply chain duration from collection to infusion can vary between 10-12 months.

In order to reduce cycle time, cost and improve operational efficiency; the network that facilitates the buy-sell relationship has the potential to play a key role in this value chain. Blood collection centers will require some help with onboarding into the global business network after which they can participate like suppliers or a contract organization. They can easily exchange relevant documents as attachments directly with relevant manufacturers, rather than sending via EDI and populate additional data via web based/mobile forms about donor information adhering to GDPR regulations. SAP offers an Intelligent Enterprise Suite, network and platform that can be considered to manage the digital supply chain for plasma therapy in Life sciences.

For immuno therapy, like the cell and gene value chain, cancer patient’s blood is collected in apheresis centers which is then sent to a Biologic manufacturer for CAR-T type therapy manufacturing. This supply chain requires a make-to-order manufacturing strategy with a batch size of one and the time period is less than a month from blood sample collection to drug infusion.  The network should be able to support the customer collaboration process for capturing patient details and adhering to HIPAA regulations. Even though the volume of patients is small today for these very costly drugs, the market potential is growing rapidly. Life sciences manufacturers scale and reach various countries across the globe trying to identify new apheresis centers in each country working with local hospital chains. SAP offers a customer suite of applications to manage the entire customer experience journey along with intelligent analytics to manage processes like chain of identity and chain of custody for patient’s drug track and trace.

Even though a system of record for different types of therapy will continue to use the SAP S/4 HANA Intelligent Enterprise with a digital supply chain and manufacturing process, it will be interesting to understand how many companies will be using the SAP network and platform apps for value added services in near future.  For more information, visit https://www.sap.com/industries/life-sciences.html.

Be the first to leave a comment
You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.