March 2022: From the Editor

As you receive this issue, Informa’s BPI West conference is taking place at the San Diego Convention Center on 14–17 March 2022, with live digital panel discussions the following week. People appear to be cautious but eager to get back to live-conference attendance. BPI’s senior technical editor, Cheryl Scott, will make the journey down there to represent us this year, so if you plan to be there, please take a moment to visit with her.

BPI West was the first of our conference series to suffer cancellation in March 2020 — and soon after that, quarantining began. Before then, my sense of time over the years had been influenced by the regularity of our conference schedule (e.g., if it’s March, it must be BPI West time). And I suspect that may be the case for many people who travel for business. Although we have learned how to meet efficiently and present online, and video conferencing is a useful form of communication, we have found that it is an unsatisfactory replacement for true human interaction.

As BPI’s 20th year of publication progresses, we are cautiously emerging back into the world. This is my 34th year of inviting authors and editing manuscripts. Through the decades, the ebbs and flows of science and technology have brought about sometimes subtle, sometimes disruptive sea changes — and as the tides continue unabated, the contour of the shore changes. So many factors combine to influence the industry that it is often impossible to find a starting point for a given development. Sometimes a major new technology is the earthquake that sends forth a tsunami, as when polymerase chain reaction (PCR) emerged from academia to be adopted by the biotechnology industry. Many of us who saw the first single-use bioreactor can remember that moment as a turning point. But some technologies that seemed to signal a breakthrough in industry thinking did not end up making waves, and others hadn’t progressed significantly until time and tide lifted them into prominence: mRNA vaccines, for one.

I want to see your impressions from the biopharmaceutical industry’s past 20 years. Given BPI’s founding early in the 2000s, our anniversary issue this summer should provide a snapshot of the industry’s 21st-century development so far. Help us celebrate by sending your thoughts in a short email (300–500 words) to me at with a subject line that includes the word anniversary. Please let me know whether I can include your name if we cite your comments in our introductory article. You might consider the following questions:

• Which specific method, technology, strategy, regulatory guideline, or other key development strikes you as having had a significant impact since the early 2000s? Why (how)? We’ll be addressing the overall impact of single-use systems in an article, of course, but what in particular stands out?
• Do you see possibility in a lesser-known technology for broad commercial impact in the future? This might be a new laboratory process that you see as potentially disruptive.
• Conversely — what highly touted advancement has not lived up to its initial promise? Is it still viable on a niche scale, or could it make a wider impact yet?

Topics you might consider include outsourcing, facility design, automation, process monitoring, analytical methods and instrumentation, material sourcing and supply-chain management, manufacturing strategies, advanced therapies, transgenics, and training. What segments of the industry need increased regulatory guidance? What obstacles are impeding healthcare access?

This is your industry. We editors only distill information to help you communicate your present needs and visions for the future. I invite you to be part of our birthday celebration!