Decentralized manufacturing of cell and gene therapies: Overcoming challenges and identifying opportunities

Decentralized or “redistributed” manufacturing has the potential to revolutionize the manufacturing approach for cell and gene therapies (CGTs), moving away from the “Fordist” paradigm, delivering health care locally, customized to the end user and, by its very nature, overcoming many of the challenges associated with manufacturing and distribution of high volume goods. In departing from the traditional centralized model of manufacturing, decentralized manufacturing divides production across sites or geographic regions. This paradigm shift imposes significant structural and organisational changes on a business presenting both hidden challenges that must be addressed and opportunities to be embraced. By profoundly adapting business practices, significant advantages can be realized through a democratized value chain, creation of professional-level jobs without geographic restriction to the central hub and a flexibility in response to external pressures and demands. To realize these potential opportunities, however, advances in manufacturing technology and support systems are required, as well as significant changes in the way CGTs are regulated to facilitate multi-site manufacturing. Decentralized manufacturing is likely to be the manufacturing platform of choice for advanced health care therapies—in particular, those with a high degree of personalization. The future success of these promising products will be enhanced by adopting sound business strategies early in development. To realize the benefits that decentralized manufacturing of CGTs has to offer, it is important to examine both the risks and the substantial opportunities present. In this research, we examine both the challenges and the opportunities this shift in business strategy represents in an effort to maximize the success of adoption.