Compound Management & Integrity: Chairman's Review

Clive Green

The 2013 compound and sample management conference marked the 10 year anniversary of the event and came at a pivotal time in the development of our enabling capability for drug discovery. In the early part of the millennium, when the industry pipelines and balance sheets where in a healthy condition, most major Pharma companies invested heavily in their compound and sample management infrastructure. The intervening 10 year period has seen the industry face significant scientific, regulatory and commercial challenges in delivering new drugs to market, which in turn has challenged R&D spend at a time when the next round of significant capital investment is required to meet our research service deliverables.

In previous years, the conference focussed on addressing key challenges in process improvement and technology development. This year saw a significant shift in emphasis towards the role that compound and sample management can play in supporting collaborative ventures across scientific institutions, managing the high cost base to optimise financial support for valuing-added scientific activities, the integration of small molecule and biological sample management, and the pivotal enabling role of IT.

On the topic of collaborative ventures, Thierry Kogej (AstraZeneca) and Jens Schamberger (Bayer) provided a fascinating insight in to the computational practises and challenges of sharing large Pharma screening collections, whilst Krister Wennerberg (Institute for Molecular Medicine FIMM-EMBL) shared the academic collaboration perspective through the establishment of a national facility for the use of compounds in Finnish academia. Value in compound and sample management activities, and the role of outsourcing, was key themes in many presentations. Rose Gonzales (Pfizer) shared the evolution of Pfizer’s business models for compound management, and an expert speaker panel debated the topic of internal rebuilding or outsourcing with the audience. An interesting insight was provided by Karen Billeci (Genentech), who described the challenges associated with integrating small molecule and biological sample management, and the critical requirements placed on the IT infrastructure. With a similar emphasis on novel IT solutions, Dina Nagib (Vertex) showcased the in-house development and project impact of an IT application capable of automating routine screening cycles.

The podium presentations, panel discussions and pre-workshops also offered an insight to future hot topics in compound and sample management, with many delegates debating the impact of analytical techniques for assessing sample quality and the challenge of global operations. This year’s conference continued to provide the premier networking event of its type for compound and sample management professionals, and we look forward to another interesting and rewarding schedule for next year’s event.