9 Life Science Trends to Watch in 2019
According to some major investment bankers who presented at the Forbes Healthcare Summit in New York, 2019 will be another active year for life sciences deal making – particularly in the biotech, payer, outsourced services and healthcare IT arenas. The offloading of non-core assets, which has been a prominent trend amongst big pharmas recently, will be a major catalyst for dealmaking in 2019.
The life sciences research industry maintained a strong stance in 2018 and is predicted to make a positive trend in the market in 2019. The latest technologies forge a new era for business and this, combined with the deployment of a young Generation Z into the workforce and innovative outcomes-based pricing models, will build upon 2018 trends to bring more excitement to the industry in the coming twelve months.
Just recently, new, rapid and robust methods have been used in Denmark to better understand the inner works of cancer and other serious diseases. The research team developed a new method for microscopically profiling tiny single cells within organs and tissues, allowing them to analyse more than 3,000 cells from the spleen – a hotspot for all kinds of immune cells.
New methods are constantly being developed and investment in specialised equipment is strong.
Here’s what’s driving the strong life sciences industry.
1. Immunotherapies (i.e. CAR-T cell)
The FDA-approved Kymriah, a very personalised cancer drug for the first-ever chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, is reshaping cancer treatment and inspiring manufacturers to rethink their business models. Integration of immunotherapies into practice requires a thorough understanding of payer policies and requirements for reimbursement. Establishing a foundation for proactively managing payer relationships and leveraging those relationships with immuno-oncology (IO) will be beneficial.
2. Greater outsourcing
The need to cut costs and optimise development has given birth to a number of ancillary industries, from specialised PR firms to outsourced drug manufacturers. The value proposition is this: provide the time and labour intensive services necessary to take drugs across the finish line at a lower cost, while allowing pharmaceutical companies to focus on what they do best: developing life-saving therapies. Contract research organisations (CROs) will constitute one of the largest industries to emerge from pharma’s mandate to lower costs.
3. Technology standards
Guided by FDA’s “Advancement of Emerging Technology Applications to Modernise Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Base” issues of 2016, businesses now adopt new technology standards to drive new pharma innovations and make it easier for healthcare professionals (HCPs) to work with life sciences. Through open technology standards, industry can streamline how HCPs get the treatment information they need to deliver improved care to patients.
4. Customer engagement
A top priority for life sciences companies is specialised medicine, with oncology grabbing the most attention in 2018. This is likely to continue. The oncology segment is expected to hold a leading share in the global market during the forecast period 2017-2025, propelling life sciences companies to improve customer engagement. Life sciences organisations are moving beyond a transactional, data-centric view of patients and health care professionals to enhance the quality and efficiency of every engagement.
5. Risk-based everything (RBX)
In 2018, risk-based everything (RBX) superseded risk-based monitoring (RBM), with modern data management systems enabling better decision making by analysing each data point. For CROs in particular, the opportunity to push the boundaries of traditional clinical data collection and standardise processes as they work will be beneficial when working with so many different sponsors in 2019.
6. Unified drug development workflows
Organisations are no longer able to defend the cost of integrating disparate applications, with 2018 bringing together industry applications in support of drug development processes. In 2019, companies will need to continue their focus on streamlining their systems and processes in clinical, regulatory, and quality to eliminate functional silos and improve efficiency and compliance across the product development lifecycle.
7. Post Brexit industry changes
There are a lot of “unknowns” surrounding Brexit, but understandably it’s had a knock on effect in 2018, particularly in the EU. Recruitment and retaining EU talent has been a challenge, but inward investment in UK pharma research has been strong. In 2019, Brexit offers the opportunity for the UK medicines regulator MHRA to work alongside the European Medicines Agency and to take a leadership role to help ensure UK patients can get earlier access to medicines.
8. Augmented reality (AR)
Augmented reality became a powerful part of the educational process in 2018, with more companies learning how to leverage the technology. Companies will continue to experiment with the new format in 2019, focusing on the creation of HCP presentations that improve learning with 3-D demonstrations. Companies will also continue to escalate their use of artificial intelligence (AI) for a wide gamut of commercial applications.
9. Safety and efficacy
Global health authorities have traditionally relied on document sharing to conduct their reviews, but 2018 saw a shift towards a combination of content and data. This provides a more holistic picture of product safety and efficacy and is driving sponsor organisations to carefully examine their approach to product-related information moving forward.
Moving into 2019
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