• Kevin Cast

Why “Demand Chain” is the new “Supply Chain” in Cell and Gene Therapy

Takeaways from the BSMA Europe Conference

Why “Demand Chain” is the new “Supply Chain” in Cell and Gene Therapy
Why “Demand Chain” is the new “Supply Chain” in Cell and Gene Therapy

Why “Demand Chain” is the new “Supply Chain” in Cell and Gene Therapy

It was my privilege last week to attend the Bio Supply Management Alliance (BSMA) Europe conference in Brussels, Belgium, along with my Archbow colleague, Bertrand Tardivel.

As a panelist on the Cell & Gene Therapy / CAR-T & Regenerative Medicine Supply Chain Panel, I was able to participate in a vital conversation impacting the industry.

I shared insights from Archbow’s Cell and Gene Therapy (CGT) experience, but more importantly, I learned a lot from my fellow panelists and the engaged, insightful audience.

The big takeaway from the conference was around a marketplace evolution from “Supply Chain” to “Demand Chain.”

Where a traditional pharma model relies upon large inventories and cumbersome/ bulky processes, CGT is all about a very personalized experience.

Supply Chain focuses on a large amount of inventory that is needed to address the uncertainty of consumption by patients while Demand Chain is centered around an individual patient.

Supply Chain has the luxury of traditionally slow response times; Demand Chain requires flexibility and just-in-time applications.

The move from Supply Chain to Demand Chain is a fundamental shift that simply can’t happen in a vacuum. From vendor coordination to data integration to managing site-of-care fatigue, industry collaboration is in everyone’s best interest, especially, and most importantly, the patients we serve.

In his opening remarks, Devendra Mishra, Executive Director and Co-Founder of BSMA, said it best,

“We must collaborate to compete.”

Devendra’s poignant statement addresses many key elements of the new Demand Chain:

  • Precise temperature control – vendors will need to collaborate across 3PLs, shippers, transportation, and treatment sites to maintain multiple proper temperatures for numerous therapies.

  • Blockchain - Blockchain may (or may not) be a factor sooner than we think. One specialty pharma company recently created a blockchain pilot program with all of the key stakeholders included. 3PL + wholesaler + retailer + patient service provider = unsurpassed data and data quality, because everyone participated.

  • Site capacity and fatigue – with clinical trials alone, sites of care are experiencing fatigue with CGT and the additional levels of coordination required. Imagine the additional burden sites will incur when multiple products are commercialized. Working together to think through how manufacturers can support sites to lessen the strain of CGT will benefit everyone.

  • Patient support – Most CGT companies are U.S.-based, and therefore expect high-quality patient support to go hand-in-hand with CGT. However, despite that expectation, European countries are unprepared to offer a similar level of support. Is the market ripe for an expansion of support services across European markets?

  • Digitalization – there is a great need for integrated logistics technology across the Supply/Demand Chain. Coordinating platforms across the industry may also work to ease a certain amount of burden from sites of care.

  • Chain of Custody/Chain of Identity – how can the industry collaborate to elevate standards and eliminate concerns around privacy?

  • Operational efficiency and quality – drug pricing pressure will intensify the need for all aspects of the Supply/Demand Chain to operate as efficiently as possible. Companies will need reliable expertise in end-to-end performance management to achieve ZERO defects in the Supply/Demand Chain.

  • The value of guidance – there are hundreds of CGT start-ups, and they tend to have little to no Supply/Demand Chain infrastructure, making it a seller’s/vendor’s market. To find the best commercialization partners, and avoid giving vendors the upper hand in negotiations, pharma companies need qualified, connected consultants who they can rely upon to bring the best vendors to the table and negotiate fair contracts.

At Archbow, we’re working in the CGT space every day, helping clients find the best partners and negotiate the best contracts. Through collaborative industry events, like BSMA, we’ve built an extensive network of vendors, KOLs, and sites of care, to give our clients the ability to compete. We’ve done the legwork so that you don’t have to. Contact us today to start building a European Demand Chain for your CGT product.


Archbow Consulting helps pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the USA and Europe design, build, and optimize product distribution and patient access strategies. Archbow was founded by industry veterans to meet a need in the marketplace for consulting options that offer diverse real-world experience, are able to leverage deep connections across the industry, and can also provide actionable strategic guidance. We invite you to learn more about our team, services, and clients’ success, and connect with us via email, LinkedIn, Twitter or subscribing to this blog which you can do below.