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December 17, 2021updated 07 Jan 2022 5:42am

Filings buzz in pharmaceuticals: 34% decrease in industrial automation mentions in Q2 of 2021

Of the 50 biggest employers in pharma, Lonza Group referred to industrial automation the most between July 2020 and June 2021

By Andrew Hillman

Mentions of industrial automation within the filings of companies in the pharmaceutical industry fell 34% between the first and second quarters of 2021.

In total, the frequency of sentences related to industrial automation between July 2020 and June 2021 was 27% lower than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.

When pharmaceutical companies publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Industrial automation is one of these topics - companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether industrial automation is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of pharmaceutical companies, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned industrial automation at least once in filings during the past twelve months - this was 62% compared to 51% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to industrial automation.

Of the 50 biggest employers in the pharmaceutical industry, Lonza Group Ltd was the company which referred to industrial automation the most between July 2020 and June 2021. GlobalData identified seven industrial automation-related sentences in the Switzerland-based company's filings - 0.3% of all sentences. Cipla Ltd mentioned industrial automation the second most - the issue was also referred to in 0.3% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high industrial automation mentions included AstraZeneca Plc, Novartis AG and GlaxoSmithKline Plc.

Across all pharmaceutical companies the filing published in the second quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on industrial automation came from Pharming Group NV. Of the document's 2,748 sentences, 11 (0.4%) referred to industrial automation.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on industrial automation and how important the issue is considered within the pharmaceutical industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning industrial automation more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into industrial automation have been successes or failures.

In the last quarter, pharmaceutical companies based in Western Europe were most likely to mention industrial automation with 0.11% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in Canada mentioned industrial automation in just 0.01% of sentences.

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