Back in a familiar setting once again for this thriving show, and one could sense the buzz of excitement whipped up immediately upon entering the lobby among the Chemistry Companies and Contract Manufacturing Pharma crowd – due to the singular, burning topic, at the front of the mind of every single leader of thought, from both sides of the industry alike… The bar had moved!
Yes, the bar had moved, and grown too. This, coupled with a new lick of paint, was just what the Ocean Palace resort needed to whip her back into shape, ready for the 21st century.
Another healthy injection of vitality was given by the number of attendees from the buying side of the industry, which felt like it had increased on last year. This led to a palatable bustle of pre-arranged meetings going on about the place, balanced panel discussions and new faces to the usual crowd of lovable bar flies from the supplier side. So a commendation should be made to the organisers for this achievement.
Another commendation would be for the density of the programme, panels running into networking breaks, into speed networking sessions and early on-set evening activities/happy hours kept things moving, and gave the feel of a real productive show.
As in previous shows there were a number of relevant panel discussions of which I had a chance to attend a few. The discussion in the panel entitled ‘Trends in our evolving customer and supplier business’ covered among other topics, what are the industry preferences for ‘one-stop shops’. Opinions which were bounced around included that vendors (at least those present) preferred to use as few vendors as possible, but coming short of a one-stop shop for Chemistry Services. And the handful of vendors they choose should offer services aligned with a ‘sweet-spot’, additional services should be in areas that fit your pre-existing skill set.
Another viewpoint was around the increasing importance of project management when outsourcing companies become consolidated and multi-faceted. This was an interesting panel to hear, but I still feel that there may be more variety of opinions and preferences in the buyer side than reflected here, and this range is roughly matched by the variety of offerings in the outsourcing industry. So there is place for the small niche companies, as well as the larger companies often derived from consolidation we see within the industry. I think the spectrum of ‘one-stop shop’ suppliers may find more use from buyers from the smaller and virtual biotech’s (possibly under represented on panel discussions) who have limited bandwidth.
My final comment has to be on the quality of lunches and after show gatherings which afford plenty of opportunities for professional networking, and crucially, karaoke buffoonery.
All in all, a very productive and enjoyable show.