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Cencora VP of Emerging Therapies Talks Innovative Order-to-Cash Solutions for Cell and Gene Therapies


In an interview with Pharm Exec Associate Editor Don Tracy, Melissa Lattanzi, VP, Emerging Therapies, Cencora discusses the process of coming up with innovative order-to-cash solutions to help maximize market reach.

Lattanzi: We really need to work within the providers workflow whenever possible. They’re looking for standardization We have customers that say, “I want to order in your ordering platform. I’m used to it, I’m in it already, 'm ordering other things, I can see the price of the product, I can see any contract pricing I might be eligible for. I just want to order that way.” Others might say “know I have to work within this manufacturer portal or the seller frustration platform, or I am already talking to a patient services team, because there's a mandatory hub involved. Can I just order there? Why do I have to make a separate phone call?”

Different sites will have different thoughts about that and working within the workflow might look different from one center to another. We try to offer a lot of flexibility there and provide solutions, even for varying customers to meet them where they're at. In addition to that, I'd say, the other really important piece from an order to cash perspective is term payments. If they have to pay for a product before they're able to get reimbursed for it, it can cause some serious cashflow issues for some of these centers, so you need to make sure you're providing the right payment terms to help support that. However, that also can create some issues and concerns from a credit limit perspective. Even if you are giving a center, say four months to pay for a product, and even if they're only treating one patient a month, if the product costs say $2 million, that’s $8 million right there. As the product grows, even just going from one patient a month to two patients a month, that goes from $8 million to $16 million quickly.

I know we've had to really create some very unique SOPs specific to this for sound gene therapy. We've also made some system changes as well to make sure that orders don't get held up for these reasons, especially for customers who are generally speaking a little bit lower in terms of the credit risk. They’re well-established facilities and we know they're probably going to pay their bills for cell and gene. That’s typically who we're looking at in terms of the customer network. The last thing from an order to cash perspective that we’ve seen is facilitating some of the downstream aspects upfront when that order is placed, and I’ll give a couple of examples.

We have a program where we capture the CLI number or the unique patient ID upfront, and then we validate that against an approved list of IDs, so we’re able to ensure that someone didn't fat finger something or accidentally give us the wrong patient ID, which can cause challenges downstream when we're looking to ship out the product and track that chain of identity or chain of custody.

Another example of something that we've done is with identifying the method of administration. Then, being able to downstream and send the proper ancillary supplies or admin kits based on that method of administration. Also, a third example I'll just throw out there is getting the preferred delivery time. That way, you can ensure when you're shipping out the product that you're meeting the site's expectations around when they need the product.

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