BioCentriq Attended Phacilitate’s Hugely Successful Advanced Therapies Week 

Last week, BioCentriq attended Phacilitate’s Advanced Therapies Week, which was a great success and had thousands of attendees. Located in Miami, the venue held vendors and therapy developers from Tuesday through Friday, and BioCentriq was thrilled to host our booth right up front, near the entrance. 

Pictured left to right; Phil Vanek, CTO of Gamma BioSciences, David Smith, VP, Development of BioCentriq, Erica Wilhilde, Director Membership and Business Development, ARM, Haro Hartounian, CEO, BioCentriq and Amy Lamperti, SVP, Commercialization, BioCentriq

From the BioCentriq team, Haro Hartounian, Ph.D., CEO; Alex Klarer, VP of Business Strategy and Innovation; David Smith, VP of Development; Amy Lamperti, Senior Vice President of Commercialization; and Chathuranga De Silva, Ph.D., Senior Director of Business Development, all attended. They spoke with therapy developers seeking manufacturing to let them know all about BioCentriq’s capabilities and met with fellow members of the cell and gene therapy ecosystem to discuss the best ways to partner to help bring products to patients. We were happy to offer our updated brochure to those who attended, and it is also available for download if you’d like to access it now. 

Another thing we gave out? The famous BioCentriq rubber ducks. This goofy little duck with hair reminiscent of Albert Einstein’s drew a lot of attention, and though many people took one “for their kids,” we suspect otherwise. But, if you also want one “for your kids,” contact us and we’d be happy to ship one to you. 

One of the highlights of this event was the incredible opportunity the BioCentriq team had to learn more about the Emily Whitehead Foundation. Emily Whitehead was just five years old when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Though the chance of being cured for children with this disease is between 85-90%, Emily relapsed twice. Expected to live for just a few more weeks, Emily’s parents did all they could to get her into a clinical trial for the experimental CAR-T cell therapy. It saved her life. Now, Emily is a healthy young woman pursuing her dreams. 

The BioCentriq team had the pleasure of speaking with Emily’s father, Tom, and others involved in running the foundation, and we hope to support the team in unique ways moving forward. Our goal at BioCentriq is to make stories like Emily’s less rare—to offer the miracles of cell and gene therapies to patients around the world.  

“Emily’s story reaffirms our mission as a clinical manufacturing and development organization,” said Amy Lamperti. “Helping to develop and manufacture products that will result in patient success stories is what we strive to do, and our compassion and empathy for families like the Whiteheads is what drives us.”

Finding ways to make these therapies more accessible was the overarching theme of the opening plenary and fireside chat that took place on Tuesday afternoon. The cost of goods for cell and gene therapies can range from nearly $300K to$1.8M. The constant question the entire industry ponders is how we can work together to reduce those costs. Is it finding ways to minimize the time required in the clean room? Or should we be focused on automating processes to reduce the labor cost?  

Our team and many others are constantly considering these questions and examining the bottlenecks we all face on a daily basis to find ways to improve patient access. One of the most challenging bottlenecks we face industry-wide is a shortage of skilled labor, despite the number of workforce development programs available. These programs include augmented virtual reality training, hands-on training, and off-the-shelf courses developed by subject matter experts. Yet the problem remains, and the solution lies in producing workforce development programs that are affordable, effective, and scalable. 

These challenges are not new, and BioCentriq is proud to not only take part in the much-needed conversations about how we solve them, but to offer active solutions to reduce the impact of this issue. The McKinsey Digital Capability Center, managed and operated by BioCentriq, offers an opportunity for companies to explore innovative ways to apply lean manufacturing disciplines and digital use cases that will both optimize manufacturing processes and help address the labor shortage. 

At the end of the week, our team left inspired and motivated by the incredible people they met and revitalized by the Florida sun. If you’re curious about BioCentriq’s capabilities, we’re ready to meet with you and discuss how we can help advance your program. With over 70 scientists, engineers, analysts, and manufacturing specialists—plus the established quality systems and expertise to support the release of both autologous and allogeneic drug products—we’re ready to help make more life-saving therapies available. Contact us today with more information about your next project.