EY white paper details how the CGT industry can collaborate to advance the field

By Samantha Black, PhD, ScienceBoard editor in chief

November 8, 2021 -- A transition from corporate individualism to teamwork and collaboration is necessary to meet the challenges that exist for companies in the cell and gene therapy (CGT) industry, according to a new white paper published by Ernst & Young (EY) on November 4.

The problem: Challenges to universal accessibility

The white paper addresses three areas that EY has determined are pain points for the CGT industry, including:

  • The supply chain
  • Bespoke manufacturing
  • The affordability of CGT therapies
  • A powerful example of the challenges facing the CGT industry is demonstrated with autologous therapies. Unfortunately, it is common for patients receiving these therapies to generate upward of 40 coordinated digital and analog handoffs between disparate teams of healthcare providers, manufacturers, third-party logistics companies, and insurers and payers. It is also typical that none of these entities have systems in place to "talk" to each other, resulting in increased manual processes and opportunities for error.

    Simultaneously, there is significant room for improvement for bespoke CGT manufacturing. EY's white paper cites process scale-up and streamlining analytical methods as two areas where organizations are innovating. All of this comes at an extremely high cost to the patient, which EY identifies as an additional critical challenge for the industry.

    Embracing a culture of collaboration

    The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated to the biopharma industry the need to break down siloed processes and come together to deliver urgent solutions, which include vaccines, diagnostics tools, and therapeutics.

    Further, the pandemic has spurred conversation within the industry to discuss how CGT delivery to patients can be improved so that every patient who can benefit gets the right therapy at the right time with few or no bumps in the road.

    To realize the improvements needed in the CGT community, the industry must create tools together, with functional interoperability as a common goal. The EY white paper explains that for this to happen, there must be an evolution from coopetition (a combination between competition and collaboration) to co-opportunity (a model in which there are opportunities for all companies involved).

    The goal is to achieve "industrialized collaboration," according to Adlai Goldberg, global digital, social, and commercial innovation life sciences leader at EY. Goldberg coined this term to represent a movement in which collaboration is woven throughout the fabric of the CGT industry.

    "At this year’s Meeting on the Mesa I was heartened to witness the importance attendees placed on the need for greater levels of collaboration in the industry. They universally cited infrastructure, interoperability and standardization as the key issues facing the industry," Goldberg commented on industrialized collaboration when speaking about the recent event.

    EY is helping the industry move the needle forward on this objective by providing a cloud-based platform called Pointellis. The platform is open but private and allows secure data exchange for each participant in the CGT supply chain.

    Do you have a unique perspective on your research related to cell and gene therapy? Contact the editor today to learn more.

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