Nice Symposium Oral Solid Dose 2017: Bringing the Supply Chain Together to Tackle Development Challenges

The first-ever “Nice Symposium,” hosted by That’s Nice, brought together a diverse range of service and technology providers and their customers in the oral solid dosage (OSD) market to discuss challenges, opportunities and current business drivers — including the need to improve patient adherence, sustain quality and meet regulatory requirements — while also framing what collaboration across the supply chain must look like today.

A New Concept in Dialogue and Networking

The industry is undergoing a paradigm shift from large-volume blockbuster drug development and manufacturing to a focus on small-volume targeted therapies, as well as personalized medicines and immunotherapies. In today’s business climate, successful new drugs are brought to market under accelerated conditions and with evidence-based advantages, while still meeting quality and compliance requirements. This requires deep collaboration across and through the supply chain.

Designed to be an interactive think tank and a robust forum, Nice Symposium Oral Solid Dose 2017 provided an environment to generate dialogue among pharmaceutical professionals, to explore important issues facing the industry and to share solutions. The symposium generated interactions supporting the growing importance of preferred partnerships between suppliers and their customers, regardless of whether they involved contract service providers and drug innovators or equipment suppliers and generics manufacturers.

Nice Symposium Small Molecule will take place in New Jersey in January 2018 and continue the dialogue around the key outcomes of the 2017 OSD event, with the addition of the entire small molecule API life cycle.

In-depth Knowledge Sharing

Four-panel sessions tackled a range of issues, including OSD supply chain interactions; clinical trial supply and logistics; serialization, traceability and patient safety; and outsourcing difficulties and opportunities. Panelist dialogue focused on the challenges associated with OSD development and manufacturing, how these challenges can be converted to opportunities, and how companies across the supply chain are responding — especially through deeper, more strategic collaboration. The diversity of the supply chain, represented by participating panelists, supported a lively conversation across a broad range of specific topics during each of the sessions, including:

  • The composition and functioning of the oral solid dose supply chain
  • Worldwide demand at all stages of the oral solid dose supply chain
  • Increasing patient adherence through dose form and formulation tactics
  • Outsourcing challenges and opportunities, including sponsor needs, partner models and project management approaches
  • Meeting serialization requirements and capitalizing on investment
  • Collaboration across the entire oral dose supply chain, with a focus on best practices
  • Investing in contract development and manufacturing organization innovation
  • Clinical trial logistics and management
  • Equipment/operational expansion strategies
  • Accelerating time to market and how it affects the supply chain

Key Themes

In each panel discussion during the 2017 Nice Symposium, several key themes emerged:

  • Time to market is critical, and therefore speed and flexibility are essential to sucess
  • The pharmaceutical industry is evolving in a number of respects — consolidation,
    globalization, emergence of small pharma, greater outsourcing/partnering, increased complexity on all levels from the new drug candidates to clinical trials to manufacturing processes, the switch from blockbuster to small-volume drugs, and advancing
  • Addressing patient adherence with products — including the API, formulated product, delivery technology and packaging as one solution

Despite being the oldest, most popular dosage form, OSD development and manufacturing can still be problematic. Responsive and flexible CDMOs with the ability to address any concerns quickly and leverage opportunities will be successful going forward. Doing so will require the development and application of novel technologies and the establishment of strategic, collaborative partnerships.

High-throughput synthesis, solid-state technologies, spray drying, orally disintegrating formulations, direct-to-patient delivery for clinical trial materials, equipment sourcing, regulatory compliance, facility design, continuous manufacturing and track-and-trace systems: These technologies and capabilities are just a handful of those required to take an OSD drug from discovery through commercialization.

Looking Forward: Future Symposia

The “think tank” concept for a pharmaceutical industry conference that brings together representatives from all aspects of the supply chain proved to be valuable.Even in a one-day format, the 2017 Nice Symposium provided a strong breadth of focused engagement. The concept of bringing thought leaders from across the supply chain together in an open dialogue with customers fostered a conversation around innovation, collaboration and solutions. Based on discussions with industry experts about relevant topics for further events, we have prepared a Nice Symposium event for 2018.

Nice Symposium Small Molecule will take place in New Jersey in January 2018 and continue the dialogue around the key outcomes of the 2017 OSD event, with the addition of the entire small molecule API life cycle. In addition to the areas of formulation and excipients, we will explore clinical trial manufacturing, and progress in serialization. During the one-day event, a total of 12 panels will be presented in two tracks, offering participants a broad range of chances to contribute to the dialogue around key issues facing all members of the pharmaceutical supply chain.

For more information, including how to register, visit


Cynthia A. Challener, Ph.D.

Dr. Challener is an established industry editor and technical writing expert in the areas of chemistry and pharmaceuticals. She writes for various corporations and associations, as well as marketing agencies and research organizations, including That’s Nice and Nice Insight.