ISPE SmartBrief Special Report: 2020 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo | ISPE SmartBrief Special Report: 2020 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo | A conversation with ISPE President and CEO Tom Hartman
October 28, 2020
ISPE SmartBrief Special Report
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Special Report
ISPE SmartBrief Special Report: 2020 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo
(Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)
While COVID-19 has brought disruption and challenge to every industry, pharma has especially felt the pressure of the pandemic -- pressure to bring it to an end with new treatments and a vaccine. The industry has responded with speed, agility and innovation.

There's no better time to take stock of where we've been and look forward to what's next than right now, as the industry advances therapeutic breakthroughs at a record pace. Join your colleagues in the pharmaceutical industry from around the world next week at the 2020 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo in a new virtual setting, where the focus will be squarely on the future, informed by an unprecedented year -- and unprecedented innovation. The special report below will give you a glimpse of what you can expect. Learn more on ISPE's website, view the agenda, and register today!

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ISPE Executive Perspective
A conversation with ISPE President and CEO Tom Hartman
A conversation with ISPE President and CEO Tom Hartman
In five days, the global pharmaceutical community will convene for the 2020 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo, Nov. 2-6, for five days of plenary speakers, educational programming and networking. The program is built around the theme "Driving the Future of Pharma," and it focuses on timely topics, including pandemic-driven challenges, cell and gene therapy, and digitalization. SmartBrief spoke with ISPE President and CEO Tom Hartman to learn what he expects from this year's reimagined digital conference.

What sessions are you most looking forward to at this year's event and why?

With nearly 70 hours of educational sessions, I have quite a few, but there are two standouts this year. I'm personally looking forward to engaging in discussions around COVID-19 during the Global Regulatory Town Hall. This year's Town Hall has an extended time frame and will center around COVID-19-related implications for global regulatory harmonization and features representatives from FDA, MHRA, Health Canada, WHO, ANVISA and more agencies not previously represented at the ISPE Annual Meeting. I'm also looking forward to a message during our Annual Member Meeting on Thursday, Nov. 5 from Stephen Hahn, MD, commissioner of the US FDA. Bringing the industry and regulators together in a "conversational safe zone" to engage in open discussions is critical to finding solutions to complex industry challenges.

Are there any significant differences or changes from last year's conference?

In response to the pandemic, we pivoted our event to become an immersive virtual experience. This signature conference has been educating and inspiring pharma professionals for over 38 years, and this year's reimagined virtual event promises to be the biggest and best ISPE Annual Meeting ever. The engaging digital format makes this our first truly global Annual Meeting, providing industry professionals with even more opportunities to collaborate and expand their network in the pharma community worldwide. We have some exciting new additions this year, including the pre-conference 24 Hours with ISPE Women in Pharma® event, the new ISPE Partner Showcase featuring 100-plus exhibitors and a virtual networking lounge.

What do you expect to be themes and/or hot topics for this year's event?

COVID-19 continues to be a hot topic throughout the industry and at all ISPE events. With this being our biggest conference of the year, we have interspersed pandemic discussions throughout the education program covering various areas -- from drug shortages, rapid vaccine development, regulatory harmonization and more. Advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) and cell and gene therapies also continue to be very relevant discussion topics in the industry as manufacturing technologies for these novel therapies continue to evolve. Sessions feature experts who will share their perspectives and insights on the latest innovations, best practices, supply chain complexities and commercial manufacturing challenges.

What did you enjoy the most at last year's conference?

A standout of the 2019 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo was the fireside chat with Amy Abernethy, MD, PhD, principal deputy commissioner of the FDA. Dr. Abernethy shared her professional background and her journey to the FDA. I am excited that Dr. Abernethy will join us again for the 2020 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo to share new insights and perspectives during her keynote fireside chat session. Other compelling, senior-level keynote presenters include S. Joseph Tarnowski, PhD, senior vice president, R&D, medicinal science & technology, GlaxoSmithKline; Paul McKenzie, PhD, chief operating officer, CSL Behring; and Jeffrey Marrazzo, CEO, co-founder, Spark Therapeutics.

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The COVID-19 impact
At the event
The 2020 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo's focus on the future of pharma has taken on new significance with the world laser-focused on drug and vaccine development amid the COVID-19 pandemic, says Conference Committee Chair Jennifer Lauria Clark, executive director of strategic development at CAI. She calls on her industry colleagues to "learn more about what is happening around us, so you do not get left behind as we evolve together -- quickly -- in our current climate."
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Pharma engineering perspectives
ISPE update
What are the short and long-term challenges that pharma supply chain, operations, and packaging need to address? The challenges are numerous. Pharmaceutical ingredients are sourced from a global network that has been challenged by lockdowns. Clinical trials have been stalled due to patient access. Standard activities need to continue amidst shifting resources. Full Story: iSpeak
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Many of our colleagues are taking on the challenge of rethinking the old ways. They are collaborating with each other and the regulatory agencies to take effective steps to remain at the forefront of regulatory science and innovation. Why? In order to ensure the continued delivery of effective medicines. Full story: iSpeak
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