Helping pharmaceutical & biotech organizations achieve capital project success in an increasingly complex environment.

IPA helps pharmaceutical and biotech organizations develop the flexibility in project systems and project implementation processes required to plan and execute capital projects effectively.


What We Do

The Pharmaceutical & Biotech industry is an increasingly complex environment: sophisticated customers, increasing demand for technological innovation, patent expiry, regulatory changes, and increased competition from generics. Less robust drug pipelines combined with patent expiry and increased competition from generics put significant cost pressure on pharma and biotech project organizations. Consequently, success in these industries is more and more defined by the ability to meet more demanding targets with higher facility utilization rates and doing so at low cost.

IPA’s Life Sciences business area offers deep expertise and broad experience in key functional areas such as project and system management, teams & organizations and other functional aspects of the industry value chain. We support the Pharma and Biotech industry in its quest to develop capital project delivery systems that can effectively manage varying priorities, functionalities, and regulatory requirements. IPA measures the effectiveness of performance of individual projects as well as across global portfolios, including approaches to risk management.

This sector supports industry clients at three levels:

Individual Project Level
Benchmarking gives clients an objective and quantitative assessment of a project’s cost and schedule competitiveness against like projects, and provides a measure of project development readiness.

Project System Level

The performance of a client’s project system can be evaluated to identify weak and undefined functions and work processes. Evaluations also result in recommendations to improve capital project system effectiveness.

Industry Level
The sector draws from issues raised by individual clients and leads multi-client research studies to address industry-wide concerns. Downstream industry benchmarking conferences and cost engineering forums allow participating companies to share Best Practices for delivering more cost-effective capital projects.

Our Approach

IPA is data driven.

The Pharmaceuticals and Biotech database consists of over capital 800 projects representing a variety of companies within the Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Industry.  The types of projects benchmarked by IPA include API; oral solid dosage; bulk biological; medical device; and sterile manufacturing and packaging facilities, laboratories, and utilities and infrastructure projects.

The database is used to develop and keep current proprietary models and tools to benchmark pharma and biotech projects, project systems, asnd project organizations. IPA has developed a set of proven Best Practices for all phases of pharma and biotech project development and execution, from FEL 0 (pre-planning) through the installation and operational qualification (IQOQ) phases. IPA can also assess the strengths and weaknesses of pharma and biotech project organizations, including structure, work process maturity, types of competency, and level of resources.


Capital Project Evaluation
Owner companies have turned to IPA to benchmark and evaluate the performance of individual capital projects and project systems for nearly 30 years. The Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology industry sector maintains and continually adds to a proprietary database containing input from more than 800 biopharmaceutical projects.

Using industry-recognized statistical models and assessment tools, experienced IPA analysts are able to provide a variety of capital project evaluation services for its clients.

  • Benchmark and evaluate individual projects
  • Assess individual project cost and schedule risk
  • Determine a project’s cost and schedule competitiveness and predictability throughout its development
  • Pinpoint capital project system work process weaknesses
  • Identify drivers to improve project cost effectiveness
  • Conduct both qualitative and quantitative analyses measuring capital project system effectiveness, using IPA’s proprietary suite of Project Evaluation System (PES®) tools

Team Effectiveness
IPA offers organization and project team assessment services to determine owner and project team function competencies and assess team integration, including the use of contract services.


A database of more than 500 pharmaceuticals projects gives IPA’s team of analysts and researchers access to detailed records that provide visibility into technical developments, changing markets, and pricing, as well as Industry's Best Practice use.

See the full list of available studies for the Pharmaceuticals & Biotech Industry


Project Assessment Software
With the FEL Toolbox software application, a company can accurately measure the quality of Front-End Loading (FEL), or project definition, for a particular project (less than US $20 million), based on IPA data. Additionally, project teams can use the application to benchmark their project’s FEL compared to other projects executed by their company as well as similar projects in the industry.

Training & Education

The IPA Institute, IPA’s education division, offers a suite of courses centered on various capital project development Best Practices derived from IPA research. The following are public courses frequently attended by project professionals in the Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology industry:


Industry Conferences & Committees

Several owner clients participate in industry groups sponsored and coordinated through IPA. These groups gather annually to share knowledge and Best Practices for improving capital project effectiveness: 


 Site Staffing Strategy IPA 750x225

Effective Site-Based Project Portfolio Execution Requires Owner, Contractor Staffing Balance

There is a natural friction between industrial plant managers and site-based capital project directors. Plant managers are under pressure to drive down capital project costs, and one of their go-to tactics is reducing project system overhead. Read More



No Measure, No Change: Project System Change Management Observations from the Field

For companies initiating capital project system change management efforts, having a measure of success is critical.

By Paul Barshop, Director, IPA Capital Solutions

I sometimes feel like a war correspondent embedded on the front line...

Read more ...
Improving Project Controls Competency: 3 Common Barriers Organizations Need to Overcome

By surveying more than 100 project control specialists in various industry sectors, IPA identified three barriers impeding project controls design and use.

By Isabel Bignon, IPA Research Analyst


The capital projects Industry is stuck in a rut in terms of design and proj...

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Finding the Right Construction Managers for Your Projects

As Industry rebuilds the in-house competency of the construction management function, IPA research identifies key CM attributes linked to success.

In this difficult project environment, project organizations have been under a tremendous amount of pressure to cut ...

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Key Contact

IPA-Natalia-Zwart-Chemicals-Life-Sciences-Nutrition-300pxNatalia Zwart
Manager, Chemicals, Life Sciences & Nutrition


Natalia joined IPA in 2001, and currently serves as Manager, Chemicals, Life Sciences, and Nutrition. Natalia develops business plans and oversees IPA’s relationships with client companies in these industries.



Jordan Sealock
Manager, Chemicals, Life Sciences & Nutrition


As Manager of the Chemicals, Life Sciences, and Nutrition Business Area, Jordan Sealock is responsible for developing business plans, growing and maintaining client relationships, and advancing research in the area. Previously at IPA, Jordan was the Deputy Director of Research and a Senior Project Analyst and Client Coordinator to various global clients.







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