CPhI Festival of Pharma: event overview and highlights

by Abdul Khalifeh Contributor

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The CPhI Festival of Pharma (5 – 16 October 2020) is the world’s largest virtual pharmaceutical trade show and features a MASSIVE two-weeks of events playing host to 20,000+ attendees from over 700 companies.

The CPhI Festival of Pharma has been created to fill the gap left by in-person events and mixes informative content, networking opportunities and a virtual marketplace. But crucially, all of which can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home or workplace.


It will feature CPhI’s largest ever content agenda spanning more than 50 different sessions including webinars, podcasts, interviews, and panel discussions with top industry executives. There will be the CPhI Awards and Women in Leadership Forum, as well as the digital marketplace and matchmaking platform to facilitate business via virtual means.


Beyond our incredibly broad content agenda we are also extremely proud to offer the industry unparalleled virtual networking facilities, including our state-of-the-art AI-driven matchmaking service and our digital marketplace. The Festival of Pharma will give 20,000+ attendees the best possible opportunity to connect with new and existing partners – whether that be to source ingredients, products or services – in a completely digital setting.” – Cara Turner, Commercial Director, Pharma at Informa Markets.


There will also be a range of downloadable content – including reports and whitepapers – on offer for attendees. The digital expo will deliver a comprehensive overview of the entire supply chain, covering everything from drug discovery and vaccine development to patient adherence and patient centricity, contract services, packaging and devices, and bioprocessing. Market outlook sessions will also be scattered throughout the two weeks, mirroring the World of Pharma podiums at the CPhI in-person events, where attendees can learn about the opportunities and challenges of pharma markets from around the world.  


Discover CPhI's Virtual Marketplace

If you’re in search of a certain pharmaceutical product, ingredient or service and can’t locate the right supplier, let CPhI help you with an AI-driven matchmaking tool. This empowers the industry to schedule meetings with the exhibitors ahead of and during the Festival of Pharma – meaning you meet the contacts most relevant to your business.


Content Sessions – Week 1



Monday 5th October

The first day of the Festival of Pharma has a focus on COVID-19 and how the pandemic has impacted global pharma throughout the entire supply chain. Opening the event will be Adrian van den Hoven, Director General of Medicines for Europe, who will be delivering a keynote webinar on how lessons learned from COVID-19 may apply to the new EU pharmaceutical policy.


Additional panels will explore how COVID-19 has stimulated innovation and collaboration, as well accelerated drug discovery in the vaccine space.


The sessions are moderated by Dan Chancellor of Pharma Intelligence and Duncan Emerton, Director of Pharma Consulting at Pharma Intelligence, respectively.


Tuesday 6th October

Tuesday’s sessions look at drug delivery, formulation and ingredients – with notable digital content sessions on the ‘future of drug delivery’ and ‘overcoming tomorrow’s formulation challenges’ sponsored by Aptar Pharma and Capsugel, respectively. Additionally, an in-depth webinar will present an outlook on the Italian pharmaceutical market and is delivered by a host of Italian pharma executives in partnership with Teknoscienze.


Troy Carpenter, President of Vetter Pharma International USA narrates a podcast on the evolution of CDMOs in response to the increasing demand for the manufacturing of highly complex biologics and how this landscape is changing.


Wednesday 7th October

The CDMO space is in the spotlight on Wednesday, where Gill Roth, President of the Pharma and Biopharma Outsourcing Association will be delivering a keynote webinar on the future of CDMO sector, including how COVID-19 has impacted supply chains, clinical trials and inspections.


Peter Sharipo, Senior Director of Drugs and Business Fundamentals at GlobalData will moderate a virtual panel discussion on the outlook for the CDMO market, covering the fastest-growing therapeutic areas and emerging trends.


Thursday 8th October

Thursday will begin with a keynote on redefining supply chain resiliency in response to COVID-19, and will be delivered by Caroline O’Brien, Global Quality Audit – Hub Director Asia Pacific at AstraZeneca and Chair of PSCI.


BD will sponsor a notable multi-speaker webinar on trends in pharma packaging, administration and drug delivery devices in partnership with Pharmapack


Heidi Floyd, Author, International Speaker, Patient Advocate and Activist will be taking part in a podcast discussing her experience related to drug delivery and patient centricity as an oncology patient. Her session will consider how the industry can better align the needs of patients and life science companies.


Friday 9th October

Friday’s sessions have a particular focus on technology, and starts with a webinar keynote from Bibiana Campos Seijo, Editor-in-Chief of C&EN and VP of C&EN Media Group. She will discuss the enormous potential for cross-collaboration between pharma and tech.


A digital panel discussion will also be held by Aurelio Arias, Senior Consultant and Thought Leadership at IQVIA on the impact of AI and machine learning in pharma, with a deep dive on how modern data analytics is fuelling rapid technology advances and business disruption.


Alvaro Goyanes Goyanes, Co-founder and Director of Development at FabRx is to take part in a podcast on the growing application of 3D-printed drugs in pharma and its potential in the personalised medicines space.


Content Sessions – Week 2


Monday 12th October

The second week will be opened by Amina Faham of DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences, who will be delivering an eagerly anticipated keynote on the landscape of affordable healthcare. In particular, she will be looking at how the changing landscape for the coverage of healthcare services and products is creating new challenges in making sure that healthcare remains affordable to patients. The day’s agenda will also feature a roundtable on patient centricity with key industry stakeholders from the wider community discussing strategies for improved patient health outcomes.


Tuesday 13th October

Tuesday will begin with an in-depth market outlook into the US pharma economy. Leading analysts will assess the market potential, challenges and opportunities in the world’s largest pharma market.


The afternoon will also include a special roundtable on ‘Tackling Nitrosamine Contamination’ and the CPhI Pharma Awards.


For the day’s podcast we will hear from Sharon Cunningham and Orlaith Ryan, Co-founders of Shorla Pharma on ‘leading start-up innovation in Oncology treatments’.


Wednesday 14th October

Another market outlook webinar will be delivered on India. Analysts will discuss the market’s potential, challenges and opportunities, alongside pharma companies who have successfully built businesses in India.


The afternoon includes a roundtable on ‘Innovation in Oncology Development’, exploring new approaches – including immunotherapies – that the industry is adopting to revolutionise cancer treatments.


The day’s agenda will close with the Women in Leadership Forum and a podcast on Leadership Lessons.


Thursday 15th October


The morning webinar is on Trends in Ophthalmic Drug Formulation, Delivery & Packaging (delivered in partnership with Pharmapack) and is followed by an afternoon roundtable on the Impact of API Globalisation on Drug Shortages.


Finally, Parviz A. Shamlou, PhD, Executive Director of the Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing will provide a comprehensive overview of biopharmaceutical processing, including current strategies and as well what the future landscape may look like. The webinar includes a virtual facility tour and training workshop.


Friday 16th October

The closing day of the CPhI Festival of Pharma begins with a market outlook webinar on China, which is shortly followed by a roundtable discussing the present and future of Cell & Gene technologies.


The two-week virtual event concludes with a virtual roundtable ‘Facing the COVID-19 Crisis: Leadership and the Future of Pharma’. The closing debate is delivered in partnership with The Medicine Maker and sees members of The Medicine Maker 2020 Power List discussing the challenges of leadership throughout the pharma supply chain. They explore the lessons we can learn amidst the pandemic, and share their insights on what will be the ‘new normal’ for pharma.



Networking opportunities


In addition to a ground-breaking agenda, the CPhI Festival of Pharma delivers unrivalled networking opportunities before, during and after the show. The two-week event has been carefully designed with networking at its heart and the second week is dedicated to hosting scheduled meetings between existing and prospective partners.


To give attendees the best possible chance to arrange meetings, the networking platform opens two weeks (21st September) before the start of the event. This will give attendees more time to nurture existing client relationships, as well as the opportunity to build connections with new, prospective customers. To empower the global pharma industry, the platform will be operating 24 hours a day, enabling partners from different time zones to meet and conduct business at any time.


The Festival of Pharma uses a bespoke AI-driven Matchmaking Platform to facilitate new business development: recommending individual contacts tailored to each business’s and individual’s needs. The platform works by analysing the profiles of all attendees and actively learning how to best march contacts. It means that every person that attends is recommended with a completely unique, targeted experience.


In addition, attendees can also conduct manual searches for products/services, companies and individuals.


“one of the aims of the AI-driven matchmaking platform is to try and best recreate those unplanned moments attendees have become accustomed to at our live shows with regards to lead generation and business development. So we have looked how we can best drive matching business partners to together,” added Turner.


Key networking features include:

  • No limit on the number of company representatives for each exhibiting company
  • Virtual meetings will be able to host up to 50 people
  • Content sessions in week two are designed with an added networking element, enabling session attendees to meet others with similar interests
  • The complete exhibitor list will remain displayed on the Festival of Pharma website after the show


Extras and additional features


The CPhI Pharma Awards have celebrated the industry’s most revolutionary and innovative minds since 2003 and the winners will be unveiled in a virtual ceremony on Tuesday 13th October. The awards feature 15 bespoke categories, including a new category for this year – Innovation in Response to COVID-19. The awards will be preceded by the CPhI Pharma Awards: Innovation Pitch Session on Monday 12th October, which will give award entrees the chance to showcase their products and services in the ‘Innovation in Response to COVID-19’ category.


The Digital Marketplace will be divided into product-specific zones, just like the in-person events, and give attendees the chance to source their desired ingredients, products and services.


Moving away from industry-related content, the Wellbeing for Work sessions will be running across the first week, where attendees can learn practical science-based tips for improving their mental health and wellbeing.


Register here for Festival of pharma and to hear a detailed review of session please listen to our content preview podcast with Tara Dougal.

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