Glossary Definition: MES in Pharma

What is MES in pharma?

An MES in pharma, also known as a pharmaceutical manufacturing execution system, is a digital solution that tracks and documents the batch manufacturing process. These solutions are designed to lower costs, increase productivity, accelerate batch release, provide traceability, reduce training/upskilling time and maintain regulatory compliance. 

As such, pharma MES systems generally include:

  • Resource management (equipment and materials)
  • End-user configured workflows/recipes
  • Real-time data collection and monitoring
  • Review by Exception
  • Tandem collaboration
  • Training verification
  • Regular compliance oversight

Pharma MES solutions allow life science professionals to manage and oversee resources and execute batches seamlessly across teams and sites. As such, these solutions are increasingly replacing paper and paper-based records.

What are other names for MES in pharma?

Pharma manufacturing execution systems are also referred to as: 

  • Pharma MES solutions
  • Pharma MES systems
  • Pharma MES software
  • Cloud MES
  • MES medical solutions
  • Manufacturing Operations Management Systems (MOMS)
  • Electronic batch record system (EBRS)
  • Electronic batch records (EBR)
  • Master batch records (MBR)

Although these terms are interchangeable, the individual MES solutions are not. Instead, MES systems vary widely by platform.

What is Pharma MES?

Pharma MES is the name of an annual pharmaceutical manufacturing conference that’s held in San Diego every spring. The only US-based event on MES in pharma and biotech, Pharma MES gathers thought leaders from around the world.

At Pharma MES, attendees meet to discuss issues such as:

  • Data management architectures for process optimization
  • MES/ERP rollouts to align shop floor level and supply chain
  • Data integrity and compliance in GMP environments
  • Operational efficiencies for agile MES rollouts
  • Change management and cultural outlooks toward MES

To learn more about Pharma MES, read our recap post from the last event.

How does an MES work in pharma?

An MES for pharma uses digital tracking methods to monitor drug manufacturing from start to finish. 

Pharma-based MES solutions optimize the pharma supply chain by lowering manufacturing costs and increasing efficiency. This is achieved through capabilities like comprehensive data monitoring, whereby recipe management and electronic batch processing occur in real time. 

These built-in features allow pharma companies to track and analyze every step of manufacturing, which reduces the risk of deviations.

Through detailed tracking capabilities, seamless batch record keeping, and process management, pharma companies can optimize the manufacturing lifecycle while improving the quality of their therapies and ensuring safety every step of the way.

What are the top MES systems for pharma?

Although there are an abundance of MES systems available for pharma companies, not all solutions are created equal.

Integrations, features, and capabilities vary by platform. For example, some pharma MES solutions are on-prem rather than cloud-based, requiring dedicated private servers plus extensive coding knowledge to set up and manage.

Before selecting an MES system for your pharma company, consider these 8 questions. They’ll help you thoroughly vet solutions of interest so you don’t end up with a platform you can’t use.

Why is MES important for pharma?

Pharmaceutical MES systems are important because they lower manufacturing costs, accelerate drug manufacturing, and help pharma organizations maintain regulatory compliance

Here’s a breakdown of the benefits MES solutions offer pharma companies:

  • Real-time data accessibility
  • Improved operating efficiency
  • Faster lead times for materials
  • Equipment and material suitability checks
  • Right first time (RFT) manufacturing
  • Training verification
  • Improved compliance

Equipped with these capabilities, errors are reduced, process deviations are less likely to occur, and therapies are made accurately from the start.

MES solutions don’t just benefit pharma companies, they also benefit consumers. Bringing new therapies to market and manufacturing drugs for the millions of people who rely on medication to manage chronic conditions is generally a time-consuming and expensive process. 

But now, equipped with accurate data (available on-demand), pharma organizations can track, monitor, and analyze every step of the drug development process. This reduces resource waste and speeds up the entire drug manufacturing lifecycle — bringing life-saving treatments to the patients who need them faster.