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How to Choose the Right CDMO For Your Pharmaceutical Project- Part Two: Will They Be Good to Work With?  

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Will They Be Good to Work With?  

Communication and Collaboration 

 When you enter an agreement to work with a CDMO to develop and produce your pharmaceutical product, you’re signing up for a long-term relationship not just with a company, but with a group of people. There will be challenges in communication. There will be technical or logistical issues. There will be challenges with priority alignment.  

Quickly creating a relationship of trust, transparency, honesty, openness, and commitment to success is paramount. The more interpersonal connections you make from your team to theirs, the more stable the relationship will be.  

Look for a CDMO where the people are responsive, communicative, and collaborative, and who demonstrate their willingness to work with you to solve problems and keep the project moving forward.  

In a team environment on a complex project, this works better with some standard structure. There are a few things you want to see:  

  1. A stable and defined team. Who is on the team? What is their role? If you don’t know who the people working on your project are, or (maybe worse?) they’re changing all the time, how are you supposed to build a good working relationship and maintain project continuity?  
  2. Access to the team members. It’s fine for a company to ask for the project manager or technical lead to be copied on all project communications. It’s not so fun when that person becomes a gatekeeper who keeps you from talking to everyone else. Sometimes picking up the phone to talk to the expert one-on-one is the best way to solve a problem.  
  3. Regularly scheduled team meetings.  
  4. Regularly scheduled executive check-ins.  

Pharmaceutical projects can be complex and unpredictable, so you’ll want to work with a provider that is able to adjust their approach as needed to ensure your project stays on track and meets your goals. Will the CDMO be easy and reasonable to work with when things go wrong or schedules change? Flexibility and adaptability are key traits to look for in a CDMO. Your project may encounter unforeseen challenges or require adjustments along the way, and having a partner that can adapt is invaluable.   


Don’t hesitate to ask for references from previous clients to learn more about what it’s like to work with them.  

Will the CDMO be transparent and honest about what’s happening with the project, with timely communication so you can adjust your plans or make decisions with complete information? Do they proactively look for solutions and present them for your consideration? What happens to your project if you don’t call them every day? Does it keep moving forward?  


Choosing the right Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) for your pharmaceutical project requires careful consideration of a lot of factors. Expertise, capability, cost, and timeline may be top of mind but don’t neglect experience, facilities, regulatory compliance, quality assurance, and culture. Remember that the people make the company. Do you think you’ll be happy to work with them for years?  

Richard Sidwell, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer
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