C&EN, November 12, 2018
CMOs are embracing continuous manufacturing in several ways. Some (e.g., Patheon and Catalent) are investing directly in continuous lines that will be available to customers much like traditional lines. Other CMOs are collaborating with bio/pharma companies that have developed their own technology. In one widely reported example, Hovione is building a new suite at its East Windsor, NJ, site to house a continuous manufacturing line developed by Vertex Pharmaceuticals to produce its own products. Hovione will operate the line and will be able to sell any uncommitted capacity to third-party customers.
The Hovione-Vertex collaboration is an example of another way that CMOs are responding to the need for flexibility in manufacturing: developing new types of collaborations with clients. The traditional CMO business model, with multiple clients sharing the same tightly scheduled production trains, is not adaptive; it is basically a one-size-fits-all. CMOs must be more innovative in their sourcing arrangements (i.e., they must offer manufacturing arrangements that can adapt to the market response as the new product is rolled out).