Article

The Impact Of COVID-19: CDMO Capacity And Supply Chain Disruption

By Vladas Algirdas Bumelis, founder and CEO; Francis Maddalo, director of U.S. operations; and Nick Maragos, vice president of business development; Northway Biotech

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As vaccination rates climb across the U.S. and many aspects of pre-COVID existence resume, a picture of the myriad ways in which COVID-19 has indirectly affected the economy has started to emerge: the pandemic has strained resources across the globe and impacted nearly every sector of the economy.

This impact has arguably been most acutely felt in the pharmaceutical space itself. While many drug developers and manufacturers have raced to bring vaccines that combat the virus to the market, others have struggled with the scarcity of supply created by an overwhelming demand for the same resources. Items as fundamental as the single-use plastic bags many contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) use in their reactors have seen their lead times more than quadruple: these supplies, which once took weeks to order and ship, can now take more than a year for CDMOs to procure.

This supply chain disruption, coupled with the compounding problems it can create for projects with tight timelines, has forced CDMOs to be both proactive and creative in their response. CDMOs that once operated on a “procure as needed” basis have adopted warehousing practices previously considered too costly to justify.

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