Accelerating Molecule to Market Timelines by Maximizing Resource Utilization
Pfizer is currently addressing two industry-wide disruptions: an increasing difficulty to deliver blockbuster drugs and a shift towards precision medicines for cancers and rare diseases. These shifts led to two bold initiatives by CEO Albert Bourla. The first initiative focuses on accelerated delivery of medicines to the market by reducing operational cycle times across product development. The second initiative focuses on portfolio diversification, with a goal of bringing 25 new drugs to market by 2025 and an emphasis on delivering breakthrough therapies to meet unmet patient needs globally.
To support the accelerated delivery of a diversified portfolio, Pfizer identified an opportunity to review working practices and enhance capacity in clinical manufacturing at its Sandwich, UK facility. The project’s goal was to increase batch throughput with reduced cycle times by maximizing resource utilization, thus delivering an expanded portfolio on expedited timelines.
The Tauber team focused its analysis in two primary areas: operational revamp and data utilization. In addressing the operational revamp, the team developed a series of new operational ways of working. The main recommendations included two technician teams for manufacture, continuous manufacture enablement, and a structured approach to fulfilling non-manufacture tasks. To improve data utilization, the Tauber team developed a simulation tool that incorporates the facility’s process flows, resource constraints, and capabilities. The simulation tool can analyze major site changes such as changing product mixes and new product capabilities, enabling data-driven decisions on potential cost-benefit changes.
When implemented, the Tauber team’s recommendations will enable a 62% annual batch throughput increase, while reducing end-to-end batch cycle times by 45% and technician working time per batch by 23%. These impacts will enable Sandwich to deliver the clinical product at an accelerated pace, reducing the time to deliver new medicines to market. This supports Pfizer’s industry leadership in both developing future blockbusters and meeting unmet patient needs through the development of breakthrough therapies and precision medicines.
Andrés Fuentes-Afflick – Master of Business Administration
Jason Ji – EGL (BSE Chemical Engineering, MSE Industrial & Operations Engineering)
Ross MacRae – Senior Director, Drug Product Supply
Paul Stuart – VP, Drug Product Supply
Chris Turnbull – Informatics Lead, Drug Product Supply
Brian Talbot – Ross School of Business
Henry Wang – College of Engineering
About Tauber Team Projects:
The 2019 Tauber Team Projects resulted in $390.3 million in savings according to sponsoring company calculations, an average of $30 million per project over 3 years.
Each two to three person Tauber Team consists of graduate engineering and/or graduate business students. Along with receiving high-level corporate support from the sponsoring company, each team is advised by a College of Engineering and a Ross School of Business faculty member and overseen by a Tauber Institute Co-Director. The projects begin on-site in May and continue for 14 weeks. Students present the results of their projects and compete for over $40,000 in scholarships at the U-M Tauber Institute's annual Spotlight! event, held each September in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Spotlight! provides outstanding opportunities for students and corporate partners to establish relationships while exploring innovations in operations and manufacturing.
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Read about Spotlight! 2019 Competition Results.
View Spotlight! 2019 Competition Photos.
Learn how to Sponsor a Tauber Team Project.