5 & 6 June 2024
Palexpo, Geneva
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Connect in Pharma Q&A with Event Co-founder Wilfried Phipps

With just one week to go until Connect in Pharma 2023, we sat down with event co-founder Wilfried Phipps to discuss the many features and opportunities attendees can look forward to on 14th-15th June. Wilfried shares his insights into the key themes of the conference agenda and gives his advice about how you can make the most out of your visit.

Q 1. As the conference season for the pharmaceutical sector begins, what makes Connect in Pharma stand out?

A For me, the key selling point of Connect in Pharma is the richness and variety of the agenda.
This year we’re adding top speakers from companies such as Google and McKinsey, alongside experts in digital technologies, allowing the pharmaceutical industry to connect not only with peers but with other’s making advances in other industries. Connect in Pharma was created as a forum for discussion of the challenges of tomorrow from an industry-wide perspective and this richness is part of Connect in Pharma’s DNA.

It was great to see the launch of the event last year, and we received very positive feedback about the content programme. We decided to take the content programme further this year, adding an additional theatre so that we can run three simultaneous tracks and address a broader range of topics. This has given the event the scope to explore important areas including Injectables, 4.0 Pharma, Women in Pharma, Innovation in Biopharma, Sustainability, and increases the opportunity for interactivity between speakers and the audience.

Building a health-focused Europe is high on the pharma and political agenda. Having a deep focus in the European pharma and biotech industries, Connect in Pharma is well-placed to lead conversations on how this can be achieved. If the event can contribute ideas that drive this mission forward, we will have succeeded in our goal.

Q  Innovative drug delivery systems, including inhalation and injectable technologies, are a key theme of the agenda. What are the most exciting developments in this area?

A There’s a wealth of innovation in these markets. This is largely driven by the rise in new treatments and biological products that rely on these technologies, alongside the increasing push towards sustainability.

Last year, Unither Pharma presented Euroject, an innovative device for single dose injection of therapeutics based on Blow-Fill-Seal (BFS) technology. This year, Fareva will also share their developments in this area, as well as their collaborations with Apiject. In the field of injectables, Portal Instruments also stands out as a very innovative company, and will present its needle-free and painless injection technology – a very promising patient-centric innovation.

There will be in-depth discussions about devices with the potential to support new molecules and wider therapeutic areas, for example, nasal vaccines that developed during the pandemic. This year’s agenda features an interesting presentation on the challenges and opportunities of a mucosal platform for nasal vaccination from Lovaltech, a pioneering start-up in this field.

Q Sustainability has been an important part of Connect in Pharma since it’s conception, hosting the Sustainable Medicines Packaging Awards 2 years running. Why is it so important to discuss sustainability at such an event?

A For a long period, the focus of the pharma sector was on taking care of people’s health, but ethics and responsibility of a business or a sector includes both sustainability and benefit to society. We understand more about the links between health and climate change, and it’s our responsibility to tackle both. If the pharmaceutical industry was a country, it would be the 5th largest global emitter of carbon and making this industry greener will have significant impact.

The need for exchange of information on this subject is now crucial and urgent. The sector is undergoing a transition and reducing the sector’s carbon footprint is a key objective. Obviously, among other things, this concerns packaging and drug-delivery devices – key areas for the Connect in Pharma community. Many issues are still pending due to the lack of reliable alternative solutions, so there is more work to do before we achieve sustainability goals.

Q There’s a great diversity of companies represented at Connect in Pharma, spanning big pharma, innovative biotechs, consultancy, digital technologies, policy, and more. Why is this diversity important in taking the field forward?

A I believe that connecting the value chain will enable the industry to innovate better and faster. Connect in Pharma is the first event to focus on the entire value chain downstream of the molecule and partnerships between pharmaceutical and biotech suppliers are increasingly developing to offer more integrated solutions to their customers. Connect in Pharma reflects this trend and aims to encourage these partnerships by bringing all suppliers together under one roof, providing the opportunity to exchange ideas for a more integrated sector.
Furthermore, by bringing in experts from outside the sector, we hope to provide inspiration for the pharmaceutical industry, allowing best practices to be shared and adapted across sectors. This is particularly important in the field of digitalisation and AI, where pharma came late to the game. Sustainability is another excellent example of an area than benefits from this diversity: it is only through collaboration across the entire value chain that the industry can have a real impact.

Q What are you most looking forward to about the event this year?

A Our conference programme is as rich as it is varied, with top speakers from different backgrounds. This will be an incredible opportunity to learn more, and I look forward to attending the presentations.

Q And finally, if Connect in Pharma was a new medical product and you had to write the user instructions on the label, what would you write to ensure the user got the most out of it?

A To infuse continuously for 2 days starting June 14! 

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