New McKinsey center to help transform and digitally enable cell- and gene-therapy manufacturing

New McKinsey center to help transform and digitally enable cell- and gene-therapy manufacturing

McKinsey’s newest Digital Capability Center will partner with NJII to focus on digital enablement and operational excellence in cell- and gene-therapy manufacturing.

McKinsey will launch a new Digital Capability Center to advance the manufacturing of cell and gene therapies (CGT). In partnership with NJII, the Digital Capability Center will focus on accelerating operational excellence and digital transformations in biopharmaceutical manufacturing.

CGT continues to be the fastest-growing area of therapeutics, with several new therapies available to patients and hundreds more in development. Sustaining such innovation requires biopharma companies to solve many operational challenges, particularly in the manufacturing and scaling up (or “scaling out”) of CGT. Despite the many encouraging industry initiatives under way, the biopharma industry has yet to realize the full potential of digital technologies to bring transformative change to its operational approach. For CGT manufacturing in particular, the impact can be substantial in advancing therapies that can treat and potentially cure certain debilitating diseases.

“Bringing the lessons of Industry 4.0 to CGT operations is critical to the continued growth of the CGT industry, not only in revolutionizing our approach to treat and cure diseases, but in improving the health outcomes of people everywhere,” said Jeff Smith, McKinsey partner and a global coleader of the firm’s CGT work. “The Digital Capability Center will focus on digitally enabling operations to improve performance—from advanced analytics for higher bioprocessing productivity to AI in deviation reduction and digital-twin-based plant scheduling—and the mindsets and capabilities needed to enable, scale, and sustain the transformation.”

The new Center will join McKinsey’s fast-growing global network of Digital Capability Centers—immersive learning environments that inspire and equip organizations to deliver sustainable performance improvement from operational-excellence and tech-enabled transformations. The network currently has centers in Aachen, Atlanta, Beijing, Gurugram, Istanbul, Salvador, Singapore, Monterrey, and Venice.

“Through our innovative network of Digital Capability Centers, we are able to showcase the impact of digitization on the operations value chain and accelerate digital transformation across industries,” said Ulf Schrader, McKinsey senior partner and the global leader of the firm’s work in the life-science industry. “Our newest center will focus on the impact of digital enablement across CGT-related operations—economies of scale and productivity, quality excellence, and supply-chain efficiencies and resilience—and enabling a new generation of leaders in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

The new Center will feature a model cell-therapy-manufacturing facility to provide biopharma companies with an immersive learning experience that simulates the journey to operational excellence. The Center will also provide insights and lessons learned from other industries, such as automotive, industrial manufacturing, consumer products, and mining, that have reshaped their production and operational performance through advanced technologies and have adapted the culture of their workforces to enable new ways of working. As a state-of-the-art learning facility, the Center will enable biopharma companies to deploy digital capabilities, reimagine their operations functions beyond the four walls of a manufacturing facility, and scale the changes across their workforces.

“Despite encouraging case examples, the biopharma industry has yet to realize the enormous potential of Industry 4.0 technologies to bring transformative change to its operations—and in particular, to CGT manufacturing,” said Andrea Gennari, McKinsey partner and a global coleader of the firm’s work in biopharma operations. “This is a unique and exciting opportunity to bring operational excellence to CGT and ultimately better serve the patients who depend on these life-changing therapies. We are also excited to be partnering with NJII and their biopharma subsidiary, BioCentriq, which bring invaluable industry experience in driving innovation, solution development, and workforce development.”

The Digital Capability Center for CGT will be located on the Newark, New Jersey campus of the New Jersey Institute of Technology and is scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter of 2021.

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