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Home » Life sciences » Giving the life sciences sector a competitive edge with digital transformation

David Staunton

Head of Transformation, Life Sciences Manufacturing, Cognizant

Henal Shah

Life Sciences Lab Practice Head, Cognizant

Paul Power

Head of Data Infrastructure and Intelligence, Life Sciences Manufacturing, Cognizant

Life sciences companies are urged to embrace digital transformation to help them increase the speed of manufacturing to achieve a competitive advantage, enabling accelerated medicine launch and ultimately improving patient health.

Through data availability improvements and better data usage, combined with smart manufacturing systems that ‘talk’ more effectively to one another, life sciences companies are seeing increased efficiencies and yield, accelerated production speeds and cost savings.

Digital transformation solutions accelerating product launches

David Staunton — Head of Transformation, Life Sciences Manufacturing at professional services company Cognizant, outlines how digital transformation is accelerating product launch. Emerging technologies are supporting the ‘large pipeline’ of molecules developed by life sciences companies and enabling them to keep pace with industry expectations.

“Covid-19 and the accelerated launch of the vaccine has reset executive expectations,” says Staunton, adding that there are now similar expectations for other product launches with digital systems and data compressing the traditional timescales.

“There is also a deeper understanding of the processes and equipment available from a smart manufacturing approach, where systems work together to specifically improve yield, capacity and batch release time.”

Boosting sustainability while cutting costs

Digital technologies are also helping cut material and labour costs, with a sustainability bonus. “There is an energy focus with the data available across the platform,” says Staunton. “By dealing with water stewardship as well as solvent and plastic use, the data is facilitating a more nature-positive carbon zero approach.

“The industry is using digital technology to promote system connectivity and utilising data advantages, to create the business insights that drive competitive advantage. This enables the industry to launch molecules that have never been made before and make more in-demand medicines faster,” states Staunton.

Digital technologies are also helping
cut material and labour costs.

Making data meaningful and contextualised

Staunton underlines the importance of organisations implementing Industry 4.0 initiatives, which conceptualise rapid technology change. “It is not the biggest that wins the race, but the fastest,” he says. “Using the data and digital systems as a competitive advantage is vital to stay ahead as a leader.

“Tier one pharma companies are under a lot of pressure because customer, pricing and government expectations have changed, so they need to drive value to compete. One of the biggest challenges is the availability of data,” according to Paul Power, Head of Data Integration and Intelligence, Life Sciences Manufacturing at Cognizant.

The company supports life sciences companies with end-to-end digital transformation solutions through a ‘connected by intent’ mindset, which evaluates the real-time data a business requires and ensures it is available and accessible from the outset.

Helping our life sciences clients transform through manufacturing 4.0.

Quicker accessibility to data means better decisions

Henal Shah, who leads the company’s European Lab Centre of Excellence Practice within its Life Sciences Manufacturing Group, points to a shift away from client data centres to large volumes of instrument, lab, manufacturing and molecule data stored in the cloud. This, she adds, has cost benefits and offers quick access to contextualised data.

“We are seeing the industry shift towards cloud data storage, but what is important is how we leverage data to make competitive decisions and gain a competitive advantage in a secure manner.” Another issue has been organisations having disparate systems and getting them to talk to each other. “It is very important to ensure that you drive competitive advantage through quality, compliance, scalable infrastructure and system interconnectivity,” she says.

Less room for error raises stakeholder confidence

Smart labs are seeing widespread automation of routine tasks such as sample handling, preparation or testing; with AI helping to enable the automation of routine tasks and cut down on errors. This, in turn, enhances customer and regulatory confidence with monitoring, control and access to data in real time — with a clear audit trail and enhanced data integrity.

The life science industry is transforming its digital systems to meet new requirements to accelerate launch and reduce costs to ultimately improve the health of patients on a global scale.

To find out how Cognizant can help take your manufacturing into the new digital age, contact us at

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