The Record - Issue 18: Autumn 2020

56 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om D ubbed by many as the ‘invisible killer’, Covid-19 has posed unprecedented chal- lenges, particularly for the pharmaceutical and biotech companies involved in trying to find a vaccination and cure. “Everyone is fighting against the same enemy, but no one knows the exact nature of the fight or which weapons will be most effective. We know wemust prepare our troops so they can spring into action the moment we have the right ammuni- tion,” says Andrea Ruosi, CEO of AX for Pharma. While still in the initial R&D and clinical trials stage, pharmaceutical and biotech companies are already having to coordinate with multiple sup- pliers, contract manufacturers and third-party logistics providers to set up agile supply chains to ensure they will have the capacity to quickly produce and distribute large quantities of the vac- cines to various geographical locations as soon as they are approved. “Timelines have never been so short, and we’ve never had a situation where companies are try- ing to manage all stages of vaccine research, trials and production in parallel,” says Ruosi. “We’ve also seen other companies that are being challenged to rapidly ramp up their production and distribution to enable them to repurpose existing medicines to treat the side effects of Covid-19, while also still delivering them to their usual patients. Companies need to carry out this work as quickly as possible, but they must still maintain high quality standards to create safe products and comply with industry regulations.” To overcome these challenges, it’s essential that pharmaceutical and biotech companies have the right IT systems in place. Traditionally, they have implemented standard enterprise resource plan- ning (ERP) systems for core financial, human resources and operational tools, and then bolted on industry-specific solutions tomanage processes such as clinical trials, laboratory information management and manufacturing. However, deploying a plethora of systems to manage each part of the process is time-consuming, expensive and carries both operational and compliance risks. “Typically, all these solutions are deployed by different vendors, so they operate in separate silos, creating a disjointed system and making it difficult to gain a real-time overview of – and complete control over – the entire development, manufac- turing, warehouse and distribution, and supply chain process,” explains Ruosi. AX for Pharma has spent the past 12 years focusing solely on the biotech, life sciences and pharmaceutical industries. “We want to provide organisations with the tech- nology they need to be able to transform the lives of patients worldwide by creating, manufacturing and distributing effective vaccines and medicines Andrea Ruosi explains how AX for Pharma 365 will help biotech and pharmaceutical companies to expedite the development and production of a vaccine against the virus Combatting Covid-19 BY R E B E CCA G I B SON “We want to provide organisations with the technology to transform the lives of patients worldwide” I NT E R V I EW