Guell park in Barcelona, Spain. Courtesey: 2017 - 2019 Fotolia.
Guell park in Barcelona, Spain. Courtesey: 2017 - 2019 Fotolia.

CPhI Worldwide, organised by UBM EMEA, closed its 27th edition with pre-audit figures indicating a record-breaking attendance of over 42,000 visitors and 2,550+ exhibitors. Held for the first time in Barcelona, Spain (October 4 – 6, 2016), CPhI Worldwide saw participation from 156 countries, an expanded exhibition platform, a revamped industry awards, bespoke content programmes, vast networking opportunities, along with key industry analysis.

The world’s largest Pharma event is a mecca of new trends, industry deals and insights – over 80% of attendance is international, with over 7,000 people travelling from China and India alone. This year, CPhI Worldwide delegates were in a confident mood, with growth looking strong in all segments of the industry. In particular, big Pharma delegates emphasised the need to be first to market in order to maximise profit opportunities – now a key consideration when selecting a CMO. In generics and APIs, Western players reported undertaking high-margin products with complex chemistries, with India and China showing accelerated growth thanks to the continued rise in global use and universal healthcare systems.

“In the last few years… in response to the changes in the pharma industry… we have brought … enriched content …  which was appreciated by more than 42,000 attendees…”

The management of CPhI Worldwide attributes the impressive increase in attendance to its enhanced reputation as a meeting ground for Pharma businesses, inclusive of new market segments – the event had over 120,000 connections within its unique Live Pharma Connect (meet and match) service, with over 12,000 perfect matches being made ahead of the event – and its commitment to delivering high-quality content and knowledge-sharing initiatives, alongside its established trade exhibition.

This year, the event became a five-in-one show, with the first ever Finished Dosage Formulation (FDF) event launched. An impressive 30% of the visitors attended this part of the event alone. FDF was designed to be dedicated to every aspect of the finished dosage supply chain, from Big Pharma and CMO to in/out-licensing and dossier specialists. Advanced formulations, licensing and drug delivery methods across different parts of the supply chain, have seen this part of CPhI grow quickly. Next year, in 2017, it is anticipated that CPhI Worldwide will attract increasing numbers of biopharm players, as companies invest in new technologies and biosimilars – with the US market now opening up and interchangeability gradually being established.

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Another major factor in the event’s continued success is its zonal layout – with outsourcing, machinery, and packaging represented by co-located ICSE, P-MEC, and Innopack respectively – all supported by Live Pharma Connect and other networking programmes that facilitated high quality meetings for all attendees. In total, CPhI Worldwide featured 19 different zones covering the entire supply chain, with bio exhibitors becoming increasingly prominent, and a further 22 country pavilions.

The Pharma Forum returned as the dedicated content hub, offering a wealth of information on trends, innovations, developments, and the latest regulatory insights; as well as providing access to the Innovation Galleries, Exhibitor Showcase, Knowledge Hub and Pharma Insights Briefings.

Pre-Connect Congress: ADCs and Personalized Medicine
Complementing this, the iconic Pre-Connect Congress celebrated its 8th edition with sessions on contract services, drug-delivery and design, packaging, FDF, global API production, biosimilars and high potent APIs amongst those featured. The Pre-Connect Congress, held a day before the opening of CPhI Worldwide also included a panel discussion covering antibody-drug conjugates and personalized medicine (biologics and biosimilars).

For many types of cancer, chemotherapy still remains the standard of care. However, chemotherapy is delivered in a way that damages not only cancer cells but also healthy ones. During the panel discussion, attendees heard how antibody-drug conjugates or ADC are changing how cancer cells are targeted and killed. But the process targeted killing via a ‘simple concept’ of delivering a cytotoxic agent linked to an antibody to specifically target a certain tumor marker and kill only cancer cells while sparing healthy cells and reducing side effects, is not as ‘easy’ as it sounds.

LONZA AT CPhI in Barcelona
Photo 1.0: The Lonza Booth at CPhI Worldwide in Barcelona Spain.

“Don’t  believe that you can ‘conjugate’  just any antibody, linker and cytotoxin and expect great results,” noted  Laurent Ducry, Group Leader Bioconjugation R&D at Lonza. “For each drug we have to optimize these three elements.  The right ‘combination’ is not ‘obvious,’ Ducry added.

Antibody-drug conjugates are complex – the antibody, which targets a particular protein, a cytotoxin, which is meant to attack the diseased tissue and a chemical that connects the two, called a linker.

But the complexity reaches beyond the actual ADC. “Some of the target proteins reside on both cancer and healthy cells. As a result, it can be challenging to make these target proteins specific enough to only target cancer cells,” noted Ramesh Dixit, Vice President & Global Head at MedImmune.  “And while most ADCs will get into the targeted tumor cells they will also get in some ‘healthy’ or normal cells. This is not an easy to control,” Dixit further noted.

“Given the complexity of ADCs, we should not be discouraged when the early and preclinical data are not immediately stellar,” David Rabuka, Global Head of R&D Chemical Biology at Catalent Biologics noted. “We should simply follow a stepwise process and strive towards incremental improvement in how we develop novel ADCs,” Rabuka explained.  “… that’s why it is important to choose the right target, linker and cytotoxin,” Mark Wright, Site Lead at Piramal added.

The manufacturing of ADC also requires proper attention.  “One of the key aspects in the manufacturing process is containment,” Richard Denk ar Skan AG, concluded.

Comprehensive market analysis
For more than 4-years, CPhI Worldwide has also delivered comprehensive analysis on a selection of different pharmaceutical markets, ranging from the United States to China. CPhI Worldwide 2016 saw the publication of the 4th CPhI Annual Report: Prospects, Analysis and Trends in Global Pharma, which prophesised the emergence of 3D printed formulations, patented products in China and need to properly define continuous processing methods.

Celebrating the global pharmaceutical industry
Finally, in the celebration of global pharmaceutical industry, the revamped CPhI Pharma Awards took on a new focus, bestowing recognition to companies and innovative products through the 13 awards presented this year, five more than in 2015.

Women in Leadership
Bringing together female executives from across pharma, including Dorene Lynch, Commercial Accounts & Global Marketing Lead at Pfizer  CenterOnem Claire D’Abreu-Hayling, Global Sterile Manager – Global Generics R&D at Teva Pharmaceuticals, Claudia Lin, General manager at AlphaMab and Sarah Hauer, Vice President Business Development, Softgel US & Europe at Catalent Pharma Solutions,  the CPhI Women in Leadership Forum provided an opportunity to exchange knowledge, network, and learn from the experiences of female pharma executives .

Exceeding expectations
“CPhI Worldwide in Barcelona, Spain, has exceeded all expectations, the event was a massive success with the launch of FDF and achieved a record-breaking attendance overall. It’s a real magnet of everything Pharma, and key indicator of the industry’s overall strength,” noted Rutger Oudejans, Brand Director Pharma at UBM EMEA.

“Having over 42,000 attendees is a great achievement and shows the esteemed regard with which it is held globally. In the last few years, we have brought in an increased and enriched content, and more parts of the supply chain in response to the changes in the pharma industry. With the Women’s Leadership Forum, the Pre-Connect and new events we are helping provide a vital platform for global industry to meet, learn and do business. What gives us most pride is that the meetings that take place at Worldwide are integral to the industry’s growth and future innovation. Next year, CPhI Worldwide will visit Europe’s biggest Pharma market once again, and we remain committed to the continuous improvement of our platforms, programmes and initiatives.” Oudejans, added.

Last Editorial Review: October 25, 2016

Featured Image: Guell park in Barcelona, Spain. Courtesy: © Fotolia. Used with permission. Photo 1.o: The Lonza Booth at CPhI Worldwide in Barcelona Spain and Photo 2.0: Celebrating Pharma during the CPhI Pharma Award Ceremony. Courtesy: © Sunvalley Communication. Used with permission.

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