It’s the end of the 2014 conference season! I didn’t get to attend every event this fall — I’ll see you in Madrid, CPhI/ICSE! — but the Pharma & Biopharma Outsourcing Association (PBOA) was represented by me or by our member companies at Contract Pharma‘s Conference & Exhibition, CPhI/ICSE, AAPS annual meeting, the BioProcess International Conference & Exhibition, ISPE annual meeting, PDA Microbiology, and Outsourced Pharma West. We also voted in our first Chairman, Peter Bigelow!
I was happy to get out and see so many CMOs, CDMOs and other service providers in those exhibit halls. It’s one thing to e-mail and call people, but I’ve always found it more valuable to sit down and have a face-to-face conversation.
And, boy, did I have a lot of those.
I used to tell people that the one thing I learned from all those years of covering trade shows as a magazine editor was: “outgoing business cards in the left pocket, incoming business cards in the right pocket.” In this new role, I’ve discovered that I need to collect business cards from everyone I talk to, whether I’ve just met them or known them for 15 years, so I can reconstruct the day’s conversations in my work-journal that evening in my hotel room. (No, I can’t say that I lead a very exciting life.) If you see me during a trade show jotting down notes in a little Calepino notebook, it’s because I prefer deciphering my own handwriting to typing away on a phone.
Looking over all those notes and entries now, I’m gratified to see how many companies are interested in what we’re doing with the PBOA, and how many told me they want to be part of the association. I can’t name any names just yet, but I’m looking forward to announcing a new round of members for 2015.
All those conversations were great, not merely for recruiting member companies to the PBOA, but also to learn more about the issues the CMOs/CDMOs want to see us address. We’re building a broad coalition, so it’s important that I get to hear news from the front line. A few repeating themes were FDA’s Quality Metrics Surveillance initiative, the guidance for Quality Agreements between CMOs and clients, GDUFA/PDUFA reauthorizations, and implementation of Serialization under DQSA. All these things have the potential for huge ramifications on the CMO/CDMO sector, and it’s our collective responsibility to be involved in how those regulations and laws are decided.
So now that 2014 travel is over, the PBOA is focused on prioritizing those key agenda items, planning meetings and events (not our own conferences) to educate our members and get our message out, and developing partnerships that will benefit our member companies. (You can be focused on three separate things, right?)
If you work at a CMO/CDMO and we didn’t get to meet during those trade shows, why don’t you drop me a line and tell me about your concerns for the industry, be they regulatory, legislative, scientific, or business-oriented. You can leave a comment on this blog-post, e-mail me, or DM me on Twitter (speaking of, you should follow us at @PBOAssoc). Nothing beats face-to-face conversation, but we have to start somewhere, right?
P.S. More than a few of you have mentioned that the big downside to my launching the PBOA is that I had to leave Contract Pharma and give up my From the Editor page. While you can’t go home again, I may as well use this space to give you some of that old magic:
What I’m Reading
The Getaway Car: A Donald Westlake Nonfiction Miscellany – Donald Westlake – A 200-page collection of nonfiction from the master writer of crime novels (under his own name as well as Richard Stark, Tucker Coe, and others), it’s a wonderful read, revealing plenty about the nuts and bolts of making a living in publishing in an era when such a thing was possible.
Backing Into Forward: A Memoir – Jules Feiffer – I’ve got a thing for legendary practitioners of lowbrow art forms, I guess. This is the memoir of the amazing cartoonist, satirist, playwright, screenwriter Jules Feiffer, and it’s a hoot. Feiffer began working in comics as an assistant to Will Eisner at the age of 16, in 1945. So, yeah, he’s seen a lot over the years.