Pharma Manufacturing 2024

Company News | By: James Clemens | | 5 minute read.

Pharma Manufacturing 2024

Last week, Ronnie Anderson & James Clemens were in attendance at the 2024 Pharma Manufacturing Conference at the Crowne Plaza in Liverpool hosted by Bionow. As well as a great opportunity to network in the Pharma Manufacturing space; the day provided the opportunity to hear from senior leaders in the industry discussing how the Northern Powerhouse is playing a pivotal role within Pharma Manufacturing.

The sector continues to face challenges, such as attracting the right talent, managing increasing costs, adopting ethical practices, investing in new technologies and supply chain disruption. There are also many opportunities to grow, including access to funding at local and national levels, working collaboratively across industry, academia and the public sector, developing more sustainable manufacturing practices and utilising developments in new therapies to streamline routes to market.

With an array of topics on the agenda here are some of our highlights

Keynote Speakers

Both keynote speakers on the day gave great insights into their businesses, Nige Hilton, VP of Manufacturing & Site Head at CSL Seqirus Liverpool discussed how a large business has challenges tackling social value, a thought provoking topic, especially as companies have added focus on employees and their wellbeing, can we be doing more?

Rachel Lewin, MSAT technical Director at GSK introduced the room to the advanced aseptic manufacturing facility at their Barnard Castle site, Q block. To get such a technical insight into a site was a great way to kick off the afternoon sessions.

Panel Discussions:

A day of panel discussions all with different topics but all with the underlying theme of the Northern Powerhouse and how as a community Bionow and its members can come together to make area more joined up in its thinking and collaborative in how it works.

The first panel of the day focused widely on the north and its geographical benefits for business and pharma manufacturing. With a range of logistical challenges, how do we harness the hub clusters in the area to bring them together and use local government relationships to highlight why people should consider the north when starting their business.

Chair: Andy Jones, Founder and Director, MedrusPharma Consulting

Adeel Aslam, Technical Director & Northern Powerhouse Investment Champion, Bouygues Energies & Services

Tony Meadon, Associate Director Quality (QP) and Core Team Leader, Pharmaron Biologics (UK)

Simon Reid, Assistant Director for Business Growth, Growth Platform – Liverpool City Region Growth Company

Mark Proctor, Vice President, UK Operations, AstraZeneca

Chintan Patel, Executive Director Operations, FujiFilm Diosynth Biotechnologies

Innovation and Digitisation, is a hot topic across life sciences and how it can benefit the industry by removing the geographic challenges that come with R&D, manufacturing and clinical operations. Another in-depth panel with knowledge coming from both the deep-technical and commercial sides of the fence, it isn’t a matter of if we harness digital practices, it is a matter of when and how.

Chair: Neil Wetherall, Managing Director (UK), Factory Talk

Tom Foulkes, Digital Project and Change Manager, AstraZeneca

Hannah Edmonds, Chief Engineer – Digital Manufacturing Accelerator, MTC Liverpool

Jonathan Munkley, Technical Director – Digital Services Lead, WSP

Technology,we are all aware of the speed that it is changing pharma manufacturing, but as much as it is important to understand the technology of now, it is potentially more important to know the technology of the future. Within your development roadmap considering emerging technologies and how they can benefit you in the future, albeit theoretically, is key when ensuring you hit your checkpoints along the way to fruition.

Chair: Stephen Byard, Principal Research Fellow, Quotient Sciences

Safwan Akram, Professor of Innovation in Healthcare / Biosciences, National Horizons Centre

Ania Jolly, Head of Research and Business Engagement, Henry Royce Institute

Andrew Owen, Professor of Pharmacology and Director of CELT, Centre of Excellence in Long-acting Therapeutics (CELT)

Skills and the war on talent, as much of a buzzword now as it ever has been. The covid period has clearly left a shortage of practically skills as most knowledge coming through universities had become purely theoretical. Many professionals within pharma manufacturing learnt their trade in labs and on site, without this opportunity the industry is feeling the effects. However, businesses such as CSL Seqirus and AZ are working with local institutions, such as Manchester Metropolitan University, to deliver apprenticeships to bridge this gap. All in attendance will agree this panel could have had a whole day dedicated to this subject, but with investment starting to filter through to these such apprenticeship schemes the industry should feel the difference in the short term.

Chair: Natalie Kenny, CEO, BioGrad

Charlotte Blant, CEO, Tiro

Kath Hart, HR Director Liverpool, CSL Seqirus

Amie Bentley, Apprenticeships Business Development Manager, Manchester Metropolitan University

David Cosgrove, Senior Director –  Customer Relationship Team, TriRx Pharmaceuticals

Emily Butterworth, Laboratory Scientist Apprentice, Manchester Metropolitan University/AstraZeneca

Joe Watkins, QC Degree Apprentice, Seqirus

Collaboration, something that is very easy to preach but not always as easy to practice. Within Pharma Manufacturing collaboration is vital and can’t be much more important than it is in Technology Transfer. Being able to communicate your own innovations, design, knowledge or otherwise from one organisation to another or from one purpose to another takes collaboration. Guided by policies, procedures and the values of the organisation hearing a number of case studies from the panel only reaffirmed how vital it is to collaborate.

Chair: Nick Smith, Regional Operations Manager, Scitech Engineering

Tom Smith, Head Bioprocess Automation, Labman Automation & Azam Razzaq Head of Early Phase Microbial Development & Manufacturing, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies

Ben Gay, Senior Scientist, MSAT at Centre for Process Innovation Limited (CPI)

Declan Greally, Pharmaceutical Technical Director, Elanco

Mike Pipis, Regional Business Manager, SGS Vitrology


A fantastic day or networking as always for the team, the exhibition room provided plenty of footfall past our stand which generated insightful conversations and some new partnerships which we look forward to cultivating in the future.

We extend our thanks to all the speakers who contributed to the success of the 2024 Pharma Manufacturing Conference. Your expertise, insights, and dedication to advancing pharmaceutical manufacturing are truly appreciated.

Finally, another great event from Bionow, thank you to the whole team for seamless organization and we look forward to continuing our support of your events.  

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