When the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a pandemic in March 2020, the pharmaceutical sector burst into action. By May, there were over 1,000 clinical trials ongoing and by August, 167 vaccine projects were underway. By nature, the pharmaceutical industry is driven by development. Yet, pharmaceutical engineering has not always kept pace. Here, my colleagues from ISPE Pharma 4.0 – Plug & Produce working group Anton Granget, Kim Hewson, Martin Kuckelinsky and I would like to explain why digital integration in pharmaceutical manufacturing must evolve.