Press release: ZETA Symposium: The Pharmaceutical and Biotech Industries Rely on Digitalization

07. March 2023 by Andreas Pompenig Digitalization, Events, Process Expertise, ZETA News

The pharmaceutical and biotech industry relies on digitalization

ZETA – global solutions provider for the pharmaceutical and biotech industries – is holding its fourth international ZETA Symposium. The focus this year is on linking the real and the digital worlds for the well-being of patients. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data and algorithmic decision-making all the way through to concrete applications, including cell and gene therapy, hold enormous potential. There is sustained interest from the industry in interdisciplinary discourse. The organizers expect more than 180 participants from 13 countries to attend the symposium.

Digitization of society

The digital turnaround is complete, and innovative technologies offer new solutions that entail huge value generation potential. The digitalization of society is leading to an ever more complex interconnection of humans and technology. An example of these socio-technical hybrids in the pharmaceutical, biotech and life science industries is personalized medicine. Smart manufacturing will be at the core of future modular production plants where digital data from the engineering phases generate added value for the production stage. All of this and other highly relevant concepts in the booming biopharmaceutical industry will be discussed during the three-day ZETA Symposium. The event is being held at Schloss Seggau in Southern Styria, Austria, where an information exchange between experts will take place in the worthy venue of the castle’s conference centre from 6 to 8 March 2023.

12 top-class speakers including keynote speaker Professor Markus Hengstschläger from the University of Vienna will hold presentations at the ZETA Symposium. The professor of genetics and best-selling author will assess the ethical aspects of new technologies in his presentation “Medical genetics – quo vadis?”.

Is the pharmaceutical industry fit for the future?

Digitalization is an important growth factor and driver of innovation in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. It is currently keeping the entire sector on their toes and the high level of interest in digitalization is reflected not least in the wide range of topics covered by the symposium speakers. A survey among the 180 participants conducted prior to the conference confirmed the significance of this subject.

What challenges do digitalization, Industry 4.0, and next generation strategies pose to the industry

What are the opportunities offered by the virtual factory, IoT and artificial intelligence, and what impact does quantum informatics have on the development of active agents? Christian Eckermann (Boehringer Ingelheim Biopharmaceuticals), Stefanos Grammatikos (UCB), Clemens Utschig-Utschig (Boehringer Ingelheim RCV), Frank Paetow (Siemens), Pierre-Olivier Esteve and Clement Neri (McKinsey & Company) will provide a comprehensive overview of the latest trends and strategies for digitalization in the biopharmaceutical industry.

Industrial architecture is an area where digitalization has long since taken hold. Digital tools support complex planning and design tasks as well as the construction of production infrastructure – also against the background of an increasingly high demand for sustainability, as will be explained by Professor Christoph M. Achammer of ATP architects engineers in his presentation.

Competitive through artificial intelligence

Progress always entails risks. The increasing level of digitalization makes companies vulnerable to rising cyber crime – which poses a major threat. However, the decision in favor of digitalization has long been made, because unless companies are open to it they will not remain competitive. Reliability and guarantee of production are indispensable – in the pharma industry more than anywhere else, because this sector does not cater to consumers but to patients who are waiting for often vital medication. Daniel Bren from OTORIO will present ways and strategies that maintain critical production processes with the highest degree of security and reliability.

New therapies call for new strategies

Groundbreaking successes in medical research are leading to novel therapies that can increasingly be tailored to the individual needs of patients – personalized medicine is the new approach. These cell, genome and viral therapies represent a major challenge for the traditional pharmaceutical production process. There is an urgent need for new production solutions, and the pharmaceutical supply chain plays a significant role in this respect. The volatile market environment in the past few years caused by a number of disruptive events has had a considerable impact on supply chains. In some cases, delivery times and supply chain configurations have come to play a more important role as clinical decision-making factors for therapies than clinical data.

Modular systems can be conducive to managing diversified supply chains, introducing new products with moderate investment effort and driving production efficiencies – especially when they are orchestrated through modular automation. In their presentations, Phani Sukhavasi (Vertex Pharmaceutials), Andreas Bamberg (Merck Group) and Thilo Kaltenbach (Roland Berger) will talk about how the industry can respond to this paradigm shift.

The place for visionaries and pioneers to meet

Ritu Nalubola from the US agency for the regulation of prescription drugs (FDA) is expected as a special guest at the symposium. Her presentation will focus on the FDA’s efforts to accelerate acces to secure, effective and innovative medication for patients.

ZETA Managing Director Andreas Marchler on the symposium in a nutshell: “Following on from the successful events of previous years, the ZETA Symposium has become established as a meeting point for international industry experts and pioneers in their fields. It is an important hot bed for the development of new solutions and trends.

Discussion with decision-makers

This year’s symposium will see an inspiring new item on the agenda: selected business partners will discuss three paramount issues of the industry in round-table discussions in the framework of the Sponsor Forum:

  • “Technological Innovations to be Expected Within the Next Few Years”
  • “Flexibility and Agility – Strategies to meet Supply Chain Challenges”
  • “US – Europe – Asia: Different Markets, Different Requirements: Just Challenges or Opportunities?”

These moderated discussions provide an opportunity for direct exchange and discussion with the participating companies and top managers: Michael FREYNY (Head of Digital Industries, SIEMENS), Gino DE KONINCK (Regional Sales Directer Western Europe, TURCK), Olaf OPHOFF (Vice President Business Unit Automation Systems, TURCK), Klaus KÖHLER (Global Industry Manager Life Sciences, Endress+Hauser), Markus HEINY (Industry Manager Life Sciences, Endress+Hauser), Stephan MÜLLER (Managing Director, GEMÜ), Christopher SANDUSKY (Director Automation Solutions, cytiva) and Kenneth CLAPP (Senior Manager, cytivia).

A look behind the scenes of an Austrian flagship company

The event will be rounded off with two workshops hosted at the ZETA headquarters in Lieboch. The workshop “From Integrated Engineering to Integrated Operations” is dedicated to the expansion of the digital value generation chain to include the operative phase of a pharmaceutical plant, with the aim of developing solutions for real operations and making effective use of the data from engineering in operational business.

The focus of the second workshop “Innovations in Industrial Applications” is on the extensive ZETA product portfolio. Use cases and product solutions that are fit for the future are presented. These product innovations are successfully driven forward in the ZETA TechCenter, the company’s own development lab, in close cooperation with the customer.

f.l.t.r.: Andreas Marchler, Alfred Marchler, Univ.Prof. Dr. Markus Hengstschläger, Gert Moelgaard, Oliver Spadiut, Josef Maier
f.l.t.r.: Andreas Marchler, Alfred Marchler, Univ.Prof. Dr. Markus Hengstschläger, Gert Moelgaard, Oliver Spadiut, Josef Maier


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