Astellas confirms plans to invest $257mn to develop R&D facilities in Japan and US
The Japan-based pharmaceutical company, Astellas Pharma, has announced it plans to invest $257mn to develop new R&D manufacturing facilities in three sites in Japan and the US, BioPharmaDive reports.
It has been revealed that Astellas will create two centres in Japan, Toyama and Tsukuba, with both anticipated to be completed in 2019, in addition to one in Massachusetts, which is expected to reach completion in January 2020.
The new facility in Tsukuba is thought to cost around $44mn and will have the capability to develop clinical trial materials that can be utilised for Phase 1 and Phase 2 studies of cell and gene therapies in Japan, the US and Europe.
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In Toyama, Astellas are expected to invest almost $90mn to develop an 8,000 square-metre facility to create antibodies for both clinical and commercial uses.
However, the largest development is set to take place in the US with a new location of 24,000 square metres of its Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
The news follows Astellas recent movements in the last few years which has seen the company complete three deals to purchase assets in gene therapy, women’s health and mitochondrial research.
Gartner: Leaders Lack Skilled Smart Manufacturing Workers
With organisations rapidly adopting industry 4.0 capabilities to increase productivity, efficiency, transparency, and quality as well as reduce cost, manufacturers “are under pressure to bring their workforce into the 21st century,” says Gartner.
While more connected factory workers are leveraging digital tools and data management techniques to improve decision accuracy, increase knowledge and lessen variability, 57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support their smart manufacturing digitalisation plans.
“Our survey revealed that manufacturers are currently going through a difficult phase in their digitisation journey toward smart manufacturing,” said Simon Jacobson, Vice President analyst, Gartner Supply Chain practice.
“They accept that changing from a break-fix mentality and culture to a data-driven workforce is a must. However, intuition, efficiency and engagement cannot be sacrificed. New workers might be tech-savvy but lack access to best practices and know-how — and tenured workers might have the knowledge, but not the digital skills. A truly connected factory worker in a smart manufacturing environment needs both.”
Surveying 439 respondents from North America, Western Europe and APAC, Gartner found that “organisational complexity, integration and process reengineering are the most prevalent challenges for executing smart manufacturing initiatives.” Combined they represent “the largest change management obstacle [for manufacturers],” adds Gartner.
“It’s interesting to see that leadership commitment is frequently cited as not being a challenge. Across all respondents, 83% agree that their leadership understands and accepts the need to invest in smart manufacturing. However, it does not reflect whether or not the majority of leaders understand the magnitude of change in front of them – regarding technology, as well as talent,” added Jacobson.
Technology and People
While the value and opportunities smart manufacturing can provide an organisation is being recognised, introducing technology alone isn’t enough. Gartner emphasises the importance of evolving factory workers alongside the technology, ensuring that they are on board in order for the change to be successful.
“The most immediate action is for organisations to realize that this is more than digitisation. It requires synchronising activities for capability building, capability enablement and empowering people. Taking a ‘how to improve a day in the life’ approach will increase engagement, continuous learning and ultimately foster a pull-based approach that will attract tenured workers. They are the best points of contact to identify the best starting points for automation and the required data and digital tools for better decision-making,” said Jacobson.
Long term, “it is important to establish a data-driven culture in manufacturing operations that is rooted in governance and training - without stifling employee creativity and ingenuity,” concluded Gartner.