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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

Onwards and Upwards

PMPS:You have been with PCI for 13 years now. What do you like best about working for the company?

Tim Brown: Both professionally and personally, I truly enjoy working with so many colleagues who demonstrate a high level of engagement in and commitment to our role in the drug development process. Being part of bringing medicines to patients around the world is very rewarding. In addition, I am excited to work for a company which offers a wide range of services and technologies.

Ultimately, what I enjoy most is the opportunity to make a difference to patients’ lives. Since our organisation is part of the pharmaceutical supply chain, I feel a strong commitment and sense of accomplishment to serve clients that work to help patients who desperately need a breakthrough medication.

Having joined the Clinical Services team in May, how does it differ from other departments you have worked in previously?

My previous roles in the organisation were progressive and immensely challenging. I provided strategic and tactical leadership within our Technical Operations group, which consisted of Engineering, Maintenance and Operational Performance Excellence. I did a lot of strategic development to systematically ensure our equipment and processes were designed to provide the highest level of quality and reliability.

Now that I am more directly engaged in our Clinical Services business in a customer-facing role, it provides the opportunity for more direct client contact time. Nearly every project is unique and managed within a tight timeframe. Our work is collaborative with our clients, and we have a mutual interest to ensure each party has exactly what they need, when they need it. Overall, the industry, the projects, and even the vernacular are very different to my past experience. It has been a great transition and I am excited to build a long-lasting career in this sector.

How does your background in Process Analytical Technologies and Lean disciplines complement your current position?

My experience in industrial engineering and as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt has taught me to drive at the root cause, develop the appropriate solutions and actions, and measure the results for sustainable improvements. Those methodologies and thought processes are applicable to any discipline, and I certainly use them in my current role. I will always value that stage of my career as it provided me with the necessary tools to navigate towards solutions and work on initiatives that are truly impactful on the business.

What initially attracted you to the pharma industry?

I worked previously in both the automotive and food and beverage industries. My experiences there left me wanting more diversity and rewarding challenges. The pharma industry is very dynamic; there is a large client base with differing requirements and development needs. One example of this is the opportunity to benefit patients through effective package design. The tailor-made designs that we deliver provide a differentiator for our organisation. The complexity of creating and validating a unique package piqued my interest early in my career. Even today, it is still amazing to see a concept package come to fruition.

How would you describe your business philosophy?

My business philosophy is really a personal commitment to customer service, whether to internal clients in previous roles, or as a direct focus on customer needs in my current capacity. This ensures the success of my team and the partnerships we have with our clients.

What have been your proudest moments?

I owe a great deal of thanks and appreciation to the opportunities I have had with PCI (and Anderson prior to acquisition). The vast majority of my career has been in the contract pharmaceutical packaging industry. I have worked in various roles, beginning with entry-level management, and now reside in a senior management position on the Clinical Services team. Ultimately, my proudest moments come from coaching and mentoring my associates and watching them grow.

And what keeps you awake at night?

With the global developments in clinical trials, our role in clinical supply has become a 24/7 business. With the evolving needs of clients, the company has grown to an expansive global footprint and network, and to be effective, we need to be available at all times. The clinical trials we support are vital to the success and longevity of our clients and their patients. Quality, customer service and supply assurance are requisite competencies to have in order to compete in this market: those three characteristics are omnipresent, day or night.

What do you believe the pharma industry must focus on in 2015?

There is clearly still pressure in the industry to deliver value – both to shareholders and to patients. Companies large and small are struggling with this, and it is evident in the recent merger and acquisition activity. By extension, contract service providers in the industry are called upon to deliver more to the relationship for the benefit of bringing drugs to market faster, more safely, and with less cost.

I think this will continue to drive a need for true partnership in outsourcing, where both parties share in mutual outcomes and recognise the benefits of strategic relationships. It will be a paradigm shift for some, but progressively minded companies in our industry are well on their way to forming these structured partnerships.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?

Changes in how healthcare is administered have already prompted interesting changes. Drug delivery technologies are evolving, with increases in large molecule products, and growing self-administration of those drugs is emerging as a result of the push to spend less time in hospitals and clinics. There is also a desire to get patients to take more ownership and accountability for their health outcomes, which coincides with this self-administration and self-monitoring – particularly with new electronic technologies and applications. Medications are becoming increasingly expensive, and payers want to ensure patients are getting the maximum benefit for their spend. I think this will continue to shape commercial supply, as well as affecting clinical trial supplies and administration.

In a similar vein, there is a growing focus on patient compliance and adherence. Drug companies are increasingly being called upon to clearly demonstrate that patients will be adherent to their drug and can be measured on health outcomes they ultimately generate. If not, they are not in the queue for reimbursement and their commercial prospects will be severely limited. I am certain that this focus on adherence will continue to find its way into clinical studies as the industry learns how much it can affect the results of study outcomes. Regulatory approvals will be contingent upon demonstrating health outcomes, predicated on positive adherence.

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Tim Brown is Director of Project Management, US Clinical Services, at PCI, with progressive experience in commercial packaging operations and clinical project management. He has over 15 years of pharmaceutical packaging knowledge in a variety of key leadership roles. Tim is also experienced in forecasting, budgeting and engineering designs of small and large capital expenditures to justify and invest in business growth.
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