The biotech market is undergoing a digital transformation. As rapid scientific advances take the industry into the future, existing companies are changing the way they collaborate, start-ups are gaining ground, and career opportunities are expanding.
“Data is fast becoming the currency of life sciences, and digital enterprises are building a new business model for the future,” according to Deloitte’s 2019 Global Life Sciences Outlook.
Partnership is a key focus throughout Deloitte’s report: “The digital age requires more transparency and disclosure and a need for real relationship-driven partnerships will extend to all sector stakeholders — patients, advocacy groups, and regulators — and also to outsourcing vendors critical to the supply chain.”
Partnership drives biotech industry trends
Here are some of the ways that Deloitte says partnerships will impact biotech trends.
Research and development
Efforts to develop new drugs and other therapies is intensifying because of the challenge of generics and biosimilars to the profitability of many existing medications. Increasingly, private pharmaceutical companies are partnering with academia and contract research firms for research and development (R&D). Their joint analytical decision-making requires technological tools that integrate data from multiple platforms.
Every facet of health care is governed by regulations designed to protect patients and decrease liability to providers. Biotech advances of all kinds are no exception. Partnerships between private companies and regulators can be useful to find “win-win” solutions, says Deloitte’s outlook, although care would need to be exercised to avoid conflicts of interest. From quality assurance to proactive legal oversight, compliance experts keep product quality and organizational integrity high.
Positive patient experience
Because of biotech, medicine is more personalized than ever before. In that context, companies must always remember that patients are consumers of health care and they won’t tolerate being treated as less than a full partner in their own health management. A company’s reputation will depend on its patient-centric focus. To make data gathering, diagnostics, AI, and cybersecurity all work positively for patients with varying needs and perspectives, design thinking (a process for problem solving) is a highly coveted skill in biotech careers.
Deloitte mentions new business models. They say we’ll probably continue to see mergers and acquisitions, but they also forecast the making of more innovative deals. For instance, when start-ups need to increase manufacturing capacity for new treatments and devices, they can “choose vendors who share similar values and risk profiles.”
Tech giants as players
Amazon is just one of the tech giants now diversifying into biotech. Deloitte points out that the life sciences sector can view this development as an opportunity for partnership or as inspiration to form their own collaborations to create delivery services. Either way, existing life science companies will need to adapt to stay competitive.
The Internet of Medical Things, or IoMT
Deloitte’s report focuses on “rich networks of connection” and the need to more effectively manage “cyber everywhere” as it relates to biotech. Software as a Medical Device, or SaMD, has entered the field, along with new regulatory and cybersecurity challenges.
Speaking of challenges to the biotech industry, Deloitte cites two…
Challenges to biotech
Geopolitical uncertainty. Global uncertainty makes it difficult for companies to make investment decisions and plan long-term strategy. Many components of treatments and devices are manufactured in China, and disruption in our trade relationships could negatively impact availability and price for patients, and market stability for biotech partners.
Price pressure. The price of pharmaceuticals and devices to medical consumers limits their access and is a significant driver of the health care debate in the U.S. Consumers and government alike are looking for ways to bring prices down. The question is whether this would slow innovation or encourage it as it applies to business models and approaches to access.
Download the full Deloitte 2019 Global Life Sciences Outlook here.
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