2024 Investiture Information

All Thayer Events

Special Seminar: Improving Patient Access to Biopharmaceuticals—Operational & strategic insights



12:00pm - 1:00pm ET


Meeting ID: 995 9695 0090
Passcode: 153207

More than 8,000 biopharmaceuticals are in the global research and development pipeline to treat cancer, diabetes, and many other diseases. These drugs are produced using biomanufacturing technologies. With increasing demand and competition, the biomanufacturing industry is currently experiencing a growing need for cost-effective and robust production to deliver affordable medicines.

In the first part of the seminar, we will focus on operational decisions to reduce biomanufacturing costs and lead times. We analyze a new production technology called bleed-feed. Bleed-feed technology allows biomanufacturers to skip intermediate bioreactor setups. However, the timing of bleed-feed is critical to its success. In addition, the process is highly regulated and its implementation involves complex trade-offs in operational decisions. We develop a finite-horizon, discrete-time Markov decision process model, and analyze the structural properties of optimal bleed-feed policies. Real-world implementation at Merck resulted in an 85% improvement in batch yield, and the project was also recognized as a finalist for the 2022 INFORMS Franz Edelman Prize.

In the second part of the seminar, we will focus on strategic decisions related to new drug development, and analyze different incentive schemes proposed for rare disease research. There are more than 7,000 known rare diseases, but only 500 of them have treatments. To support the development of new drugs for rare diseases, governments have introduced new subsidy programs and incentive schemes. However, there is no consensus on whether these programs can improve patient access to new drugs. We formulate a 4-stage Stackelberg game and analyze whether it is optimal to subsidize pharmaceutical manufacturers, patients, or both under different incentive schemes. We also quantify the impact of different pricing and payment schemes on social welfare, drug prices, and patient access to new drugs.

Hosted by Professor Laura Ray.

About the Speaker(s)

Tugce Martagan
Professor of Industrial Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands

Tugce Martagan

Tugce Martagan is an associate professor at the School of Industrial Engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology. She received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2015. Tugce specializes in stochastic modeling and optimization with applications in pharmaceutical supply chains. Her research has been recognized by various international awards, including the Franz Edelman Laureate for her joint work with Merck, first prize in the POMS Applied Research Challenge, first prize in the INFORMS TIMES dissertation award, and honorable mention in the INFORMS George Dantzig dissertation award. She has also received several teaching awards, a Marie Curie research grant from the European Commission, and the VENI (early career) and VIDI (mid-career) grants from the Dutch Science Foundation. She is a research director of the European Supply Chain Forum and associate editor of Operations Research.


For more information, contact Ashley Parker at ashley.l.parker@dartmouth.edu.