In its March edition, Supply Chain Magazine devotes its SURVEY to the Supply Chain of vaccines. A very interesting article to which Elisabeth Auzanneau, Partner and Régis O’Mahony, Senior Manager & Rhône-Alpes Director of DIAGMA were able to contribute.

The vaccine supply chain is subject to very strong manufacturing uncertainties

In the vaccine supply chain, production is a key step. “Vaccine manufacturing yields can be affected by the increased complexity in stabilizing and controlling processes that rely on living products, rather than chemicals. Beyond questions of arbitration and allocation, this uncertainty linked to production contingencies can therefore partly explain the shortage phenomena we are witnessing with these vaccines, “underlines Elisabeth Auzanneau, Partner at DIAGMA.

Another notable specificity of the vaccine supply chain

Regarding release, Régis O’Mahony, Senior Manager, Rhône-Alpes Director at DIAGMA, indicates another difference between a vaccine and a drug. “For a drug, excluding a vaccine, the release of the batch before marketing is validated by a pharmacist. responsible. For a vaccine, this is also the case, but also requires in Europe the control and validation of an independent national authority (in France ANSM – National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products), which can contribute to lengthening delays “.

An unprecedented acceleration in the marketing of vaccines

The last few months have already given a taste of the possibilities in terms of lead time reduction. “There has been an unprecedented acceleration in the marketing of vaccines against Covid-19 linked to the multiplication of candidates, the extreme prioritization of the various contributors, and the parallelization of operations. The most striking element is the start of production even before obtaining marketing authorizations. Previously, such a risky initiative would not have been taken, especially in a limited capacity context. The feeling of urgency was shared by all and all forces (laboratories, government authorities, distributors, etc.) have mobilized “, observes Régis O’Mahony, Senior Manager, Rhône-Alpes Director at DIAGMA.

New schemes to sustainably shorten the time to market

Elisabeth Auzanneau also evokes a disruption of the balance between players and models. “On the occasion of this crisis, new players have entered this vaccine market such as AstraZeneca. New technologies also emerged on this occasion, with messenger RNA in particular. In addition, we have seen the creation of alliances between players for R&D (Pfizer and BioNTech, AstraZenzca and Oxford, etc.) or even to guarantee production capacities (Pfizer-BioNTech and Sanofi) beyond the traditional use of contractors. / CDMO (Pfizer-BioNTech and Delpharm, Moderna and Recipharm…). This trend has been markedly accelerated in recent months. It is intended to be sustained in the face of the risk of future pandemics. The experience feedback should help standardize these crisis patterns, making it possible to shorten the time to market, in order to respond to the global immunization challenges induced by a pandemic “.


How about a global S&OP?

The DIAGMA firm takes the thinking a step further until it considers a global S&OP to deal with this kind of crisis. “Even if this may seem utopian, why not imagine, for future pandemics, the establishment of an S&OP at the global level based on governance itself global with for example a strengthening of the role of the WHO or scientific committees. In addition to synergies in terms of R&D, it would make it possible to better understand the needs of the different countries (which country, how many people, number of vaccinations per person, vaccination plan, availability of products), to ensure capacities (for production , suppliers, etc.), the availability and definition of distribution means and to better understand arbitration questions ”, projects Elisabeth Auzanneau.