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September 2023: From the Editor

S Anne Montgomery

September 19, 2023

2 Min Read

New-Anne-2-228x300.jpgWith another September comes another collective sprint to the end of the year. Because of our three-month minimum span from receipt of a manuscript to its publication, we already are planning our January–February issue. But between now and then, we have plenty to do. The publication’s editors, Dan Stanton’s BioProcess Insider team, and our conference colleagues are gathering up ideas, comparing notes, evaluating trends, and creating editorial and conference calendars for 2024. The BPI conference and colocated meetings are coming up at the annual Biotech Week Boston (18–21 September) as you receive this issue.

With our calendar still open for suggestions and early planning for the 2024 events underway, this is your opportunity to share topics with us that you want to see BPI tackle next year. A draft of our the editorial calendar will be ready for BWB, but we will continue refining that afterward, so we welcome your ideas.

This year has been difficult to navigate for almost everyone. Operating budgets, supply contracts, construction projects, and pipelines still are recovering from interruptions and changes in priorities. In the aftermath of the pandemic, people and institutions are left with many questions about what to restore and what to leave behind. What permanent changes have been made to outsourcing approaches, facility and sourcing decisions, and regulatory harmonization? What drug-development programs were suspended that might not be restored — and what are the long-term implications? We already were talking about a talent shortage in late 2019 — now what? Expertise is needed for establishing and maintaining process controls, as reflected by the technical articles in this issue. The knowledge and skills needed to set up such systems and interpret their results are critical to streamlining process steps and saving time and resources in intensified and/or continuous modes. What will newcomers to the biopharmaceutical industry expect for their work lives, and what opportunities will drive them to pursue careers in biotherapeutic development? What message will help draw more people to the work of the biopharmaceutical industry?

People who tell me that they expect the industry to “return to normal” may be hoping to reassure themselves with such thoughts. I agree that not all changes made in crisis mode are worth keeping. But the industry has learned so much since early 2020 about its science, technologies, and capabilities. Many collaborations and innovations that made COVID-19 vaccines available now continue toward reducing costs of drug development and improving accessibility. The real question is how to manage the transition from short-term survival-mode thinking into a future of resilience, making the best of the good will that the industry has earned in the past few years.


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