The life sciences industry has been at the forefront in accelerating recent innovation and digital transformation. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for resilient supply chains and the potential for industry-wide collaboration and patient-centricity to accelerate clinical research and development (R&D) and time to value.
According to a McKinsey report, the median wastage level for investigational medicinal product kits in clinical trials was approximately 50%, with poor forecasting and planning attributed as the primary reasons. Using a data-driven approach to improve demand forecast accuracy and reduce overage could optimize costs, leading to annual savings of more than $100 million.
This highlights a significant opportunity to reimagine the current clinical trial supply management (CTSM) processes and adopt emerging technologies.
Currently available CTSM solutions are either highly customer-specific consulting solutions or highly fragmented; they do not offer end-to-end or out-of-box integration to clinical supply processes and core supply chain SAP S/4HANA modules. In addition, the SAP portfolio extends to include partner solutions the address industry-specific needs.
In this context, SAP has launched SAP Intelligent Clinical Supply Management, which addresses life sciences organizations’ unmet market need for transparent, flexible, integrated, and efficient clinical trial supply management.
SAP, as well as Roche, Tenthpin, and a consortium of more than 25 life sciences organizations, contributed by providing regular feedback into the design and development of the solution. This customer engagement initiative is defining the industry standard for tracking clinical studies — all the way from drug forecasting till delivery and distribution.
“The execution of clinical trials has become very expensive, due to the lack of oversight into drug product visibility across multiple partners and IT systems,” said David Volk, executive director of Clinical Supply at Roche. “This is an industry-wide challenge that we must all address together. The model of a consortium to solve this issue is not only beneficial to our industry, but to society. Setting standards will help greatly improve clinical trial success rates, to ensure time and money spent will push more clinical trials through to completion.”
SAP Intelligent Clinical Supply Management helps life sciences companies gain end-to-end visibility of clinical supplies, from planning to production to patient.
With the solution, life sciences organizations can:
- Optimize clinical trial processes and eliminate manual interfaces
- Gain end-to-end visibility into the clinical supplies process from source to clinical site with unified master data
- Support advanced and dynamic study designs with flexible and configurable clinical study set up
- Reduce inventory overage/wastage and clinical supply cycle times with more accurate demand forecasting and planning
- Establish a network of clinical supply chain stakeholders such as interactive response technology providers, contract manufacturing organizations, contract research organizations, logistics providers, etc.
- Innovate an industry standard to determine best practices, develop the future standard solution from which to learn, and co-innovate with other life sciences stakeholders
- Enable end-to-end process operations to plan, source, manufacture, distribute, and reconcile supplies for clinical research and development (R&D)
- Lower total cost of ownership (TCO) by leveraging existing SAP business capabilities through SAP S/4HANA extensions, such as material management, production process, logistics, sales, global label management, warehouse management, advanced track and trace for pharmaceuticals, global trade services, etc.
Based on the success of the clinical trial solution consortium, SAP has launched another consortium to address the needs for life sciences organizations cell and gene therapy processes. This consortium will support the development of the planned SAP Cell and Gene Therapy Orchestration solution.
Learn more about SAP Intelligent Clinical Supply Management:
- Read the solution summary
- View the infographic: Next-Generation Clinical Trial Supply Management for Life Sciences
Gayatri Gopal is director of Product Management for Life Sciences at SAP.