Similar to last year, the event attracted a capacity crowd of over 400 attendees prompting the organizers to again have to change to another venue for next year. The one-day, annual event held last week showcased the strong Massachusetts life science industry, particularly the contract research and contract manufacturing organizations that support small and large developers of new therapeutics. For the second year in a row the symposium’s attendance was 30 percent higher than originally planned – testimony to not only the interest in networking and sharing best practices among CRO/CMO organizations, but also to the overall strength of the life science cluster here in the Commonwealth. In addition to the higher attendance, 40 local CMO/CRO organizations exhibited their capabilities, up from just 22 last year. Within the 40 exhibitors one could find organizations with capabilities ranging from early stage research and development all the way through commercial manufacturing.
Accelerating Drug Development was again this year’s theme and the entire program was organized to see how developers of new drugs can speed their products to market while being more cost efficient. Through numerous speakers, panel discussions, networking sessions, and moderated table side talks the entire audience got exposed to the best practices and ways of doing business by leveraging locally based resources. Greater Boston continues to see tremendous growth in its local contract research and contract manufacturing organizations, which can assist any size life science firm with innovative technical solutions. Many of the participants were commenting how business models are continuing to evolve. Efficient use of capital is now becoming the main driver in whether to outsource or not. New companies investing to build new facilities, labs etc. are becoming the exception versus the rule as there are more ways than ever to leverage outside resources. Much of the day’s discussion also centered around what efficiencies can be achieved if you work locally versus overseas or in a different part of the country. Issues around IP, increased regulatory scrutiny, and the ability to meet regularly and quickly transfer technology or collaborate on problem solving can often accelerate the development process and reduce overall costs.