CIO Michael Del Priore discusses how the IoT will play out in pharma, how a strong relationship with a few key vendors is crucial to success and more in this Q&A.
Catalent Pharma Solutions is a global provider of advanced delivery technologies and development solutions for drugs, biologics and consumer health products. With more than 80 years of experience, Catalent has proven expertise in bringing more customer products to market faster, enhancing product performance and ensuring reliable clinical and commercial product supply.
Catalent employs approximately 8,700 people, including more than 1,000 scientists, at 31 facilities across five continents, and in 2015 generated more than $1.8 billion in revenue. The company's brand promise is "More products. Better treatments. Reliably supplied." In partnership with the company's customers, including companies of all sizes, Catalent develops, formulates and supplies many life-saving therapies. Catalent’s CIO, Michael Del Priore, shares with CIO Insight how IT plays a role in mergers and acquisitions, the benefits of engaging key strategic vendors and some exciting trends in the pharma industry.
CIO Insight: This is not your first stint as an IT executive at a pharmaceutical company, as you were once the vice president and global head of Commercial Operations IT at Roche. You spent more than three years as CIO of consumer packaged goods company Church & Dwight in between, however. When you returned to the industry, what struck you as having changed during that period from an IT perspective?
Del Priore: Personalized medicine, an emerging practice of medicine that uses an individual's genetic profile to guide decisions made in regard to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, was in its early stages when I was at Roche and has progressed significantly since. This requires new ways of analyzing data to develop and deliver better medicines to patients in a more targeted way. Also, the implementation of product serialization, the means by which drugs can be tracked throughout the supply chain to counter threats such as counterfeiting, adulteration and diversion has progressed. The regulatory frameworks were just being developed when I was at Roche and now they are in effect in certain countries. Therefore, we have invested at Catalent to be in position to service customers who have serialization requirements.
CIO Insight: You have been a member of the mergers & acquisitions team at Catalent. What role do you play as IT leader relative to M&A?
Del Priore: I am part of the team that evaluates potential acquisition targets during the due diligence process to determine whether the target company fits with our strategy, assess how it is run and what it would take to integrate it into Catalent. From an IT perspective, we evaluate their current IT landscape and identify integration costs as well as potential synergies. Of course, if we should acquire a company, we execute the integration using our M&A playbook.
CIO Insight: You believe strong vendor management practices are an imperative for the modern IT department. Please provide a brief overview of the methods you use to motivate your strategic vendors.
Del Priore: I believe in engaging a small number of key strategic vendors (around 10) in supporting our strategy and execution. We hold a yearly strategic vendor forum where we share our IT strategy and plans to ensure that our strategic vendor community understands it well, so they can deliver the most value to Catalent. Next January, we are also planning a trip to the West Coast to visit a number of key partners and dive deeper into their strategies and capabilities to better understand how we may be able to apply them to Catalent. So the more you can engage, share ideas, and better understand each other, the stronger the relationship and the more value and opportunity that can be created for everyone.
CIO Insight: What technology trends particularly excite you as you look two or three years to the future?
Del Priore: Collaboration and communication technologies have improved significantly over the past few years and they can now be used to dramatically change the way people in global organizations interact. We are driving this new way of working across Catalent, leveraging IT solutions such as the Office365 suite to improve team work, knowledge sharing, productivity, employee satisfaction, and to ensure alignment across the globe. The Internet of things is also very interesting and will have a great impact in our industry going forward whether in the manufacture of drugs, how they are distributed or how they are consumed.
CIO Insight: Can you describe some areas where you are transforming how you serve your customers by leveraging technology?
Del Priore: Throughout the Catalent network, technology plays an important role in providing solutions for our customers. For example, within our Clinical Supply Services business, we are transforming the delivery model for important clinical trial materials:
*Catalent Fusion is a secure Web-based, fully collaborative platform delivering fast, accurate clinical supply chain data, keeping clients informed and up to date. Inventory and shipment tracking for one or more studies means Sponsors, Contract Research Organizations and investigators can check shipment and kit levels at the touch of a button;
*Clinical Supplies Management brings the experience of our drug supply professionals to a client's study, providing expertise throughout the complete clinical supply project lifecycle—from initial packaging strategy to final drug accountability. Supported by sophisticated forecasting and simulation tools, we can optimize study design and ensure cost-effective approaches for ongoing clinical supply management;
*A new demand-led clinical supply solution that enables dynamic inventory management and just in time labeling driven by patient demand which can significantly reduce drug waste and lead times;
*We are also testing new temperature recording devices which will be used to track variations in temperature and assure those responsible for the trial that the shipment has remained within a specified range during transit. These data can also be uploaded to Fusion for viewing by the customer;
*Finally, we are in the process of implementing a new Global ERP platform across Catalent. This program is called Catalyst which will enable speed, efficiency, and growth across our global businesses.