Ahead of CPHI North America, Dr Kevin Robinson (KSR) spoke with Sarah Griffin (SG), Brand Manager at Informa, to get her perspectives on what’s new at the event and the year ahead for pharma in the United States
CPHI North America is the only event when the world's largest healthcare economy meets with global pharma markets, ingredient suppliers and all parts of the supply chain.
Held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from 25–27 April, the event is a central hub for the US drug development and manufacturing industry and features a who’s who of international pharma leaders, innovators and developers.
The 2023 edition brings together thousands of pharma professionals from 80+ countries, with 65% of attendees having purchasing power and 48% being from the C-suite.
KSR: What is demand in the US market like for CPHI?
SG: Perhaps the best place to look for demand in the US is to look at the event itself; our exhibitor bookings have reached maximum capacity and there is a strong desire to return to in-person meetings. Looking deeper, our exhibitors comprise approximately 60% from the US and 40% from various international locations.
The trend for returning to pharma events is not limited to the US and we anticipate that all our shows will be back to full strength this year. But to look at pharma specifically, there is a significant demand in the US with domestic manufacturing and the wider sector poised to outperform the broader economy.
Looking forward, we have already booked more than 30% for the upcoming year and we anticipate that 2023 will be a game-changer for CPHI NA … with rapid growth expected in the next 2–3 years.
KSR: What should be the major takeaways for companies ahead of CPHI NA?
SG: Companies throughout North America are recognising the need to expand their supply chain networks and build contingencies to mitigate risks. Therefore, maximising the value of attending our event on-site has become more critical than ever.
By participating, companies have the opportunity to meet with existing partners and establish new contacts — an invaluable advantage for growth and security. Moreover, our community has expressed a strong desire to reconnect in person and rekindle the power of face-to-face meetings.
KSR: What topics at the conference will have a major effect on US companies going into next year?
SG: Our event’s topics and sessions are carefully curated to reflect the most significant trends within our communities and the wider industry. This year, we have dedicated an entire track to “supply chain issues and capacity challenges,” recognising their importance to the industry.
Additionally, we have observed a growing trend among pharma customers and CDMOs to seek new partnerships earlier and we are addressing this with a focus on helping attendees to “map out” their CDMO strategies.
With CDMO demand at an all-time high, our communities are proactively planning development and manufacturing strategies much earlier. Another major trend that we're exploring in content is how technology, particularly AI, can improve production processes and development.
Additionally, the ongoing debate around next-generation manufacturing, which utilises greener technologies and improved chemistries, is also a significant focus. We anticipate that these exciting trends will shape the industry in the years to come.
KSR: How is this year's event different from previous editions?
SG: Our focus this year has been on improving the back-end services of the event, making it simpler and more efficient to do business with us. We are proud to have made significant strides in an area that events previously struggled with.
Specifically, we have implemented a policy of responding to all customer service enquiries within 24 hours. This level of responsiveness is a game-changer for events and demonstrates our commitment to providing exceptional customer service.
KSR: Sustainability is now big part of the industry agenda; how does Informa contribute to this?
SG: Sustainability has become a major focus of our event and we are continuously reviewing every aspect to identify areas for improvement. We have already implemented several changes, such as reusable components, including carpets, and scrutinising vendors based on their ESG practices.
Additionally, the event’s content is aligned with the international sustainability agenda. Finally, we also urge everyone to participate in our post-event survey, for each one of which filled out we will donate to a local charity that supports young women to pursue a career in science.
Your input will not only help us improve the event, but also contribute to a worthy cause.
KSR: Do you have any plans CPHI NA in 2024?
SG: In 2023 and 2024, we have some incredibly exciting plans that involve embracing new technologies. For instance, we are utilising cutting-edge technology that can assess the average sentiment of individuals interacting with ads at our events without recording any personal information.
This is an unprecedented development for the events industry as it allows us to determine the most well-received sessions without having to ask the audience directly.
Additionally, we are currently beta-testing a platform exclusively for VIPs that customises display ads based on the job titles of the attendees — as we strive to create a truly personalised event experience. These innovations will undoubtedly make a significant impact at our events next year and attendees will notice the difference.