‘Speed Read’: Life Sciences Trends

While change is inevitable in every field, some sectors tend to experience more rapid growth and change than others, or go through periods of intense growth, courtesy of a variety of factors – cultural, market conditions, economics, or even geo-political reasons. 2020/2021 has been one such period of intense, global upheaval, which has triggered many unprecedented changes across multiple industries and sectors.

Life Sciences has been no exception. Certain areas experienced significant attention and investment – allowing for great leaps forward in those areas – such as the development of the mRNA vaccines for treatment of Covid-19. As we emerge from the pandemic, however, there are still many areas which we anticipate continuing to change and develop into 2022 beyond.

So what are we seeing, and what are the ‘Top Trends’ to be aware of …

Personalized medicine through advancements in genetics

As we saw during the Pandemic, genetic coding has moved into the mainstream and become commonplace in all sorts of areas. As the body of research in this area grows, we anticipate seeing a rise in healthcare that can be customized based on DNA or genomic data. This will usher in a new era of personalized medicine.

Greater collaborative innovation between Life Sciences companies

In Life Sciences, collaboration is key to successful innovation. We can expect a continuation of this with particularly cutting-edge biotech companies joining forces with other related organizations to push the boundaries for development.

The application of Smart Tech to drug research

Another rising trend is the enhancement of drug research. Smart technology will allow for more continuous monitoring of symptoms, building a greater pool of data and allowing more finessing of dosage levels or routines than ever before. The increase in objective data will also increase accuracy and reporting during trials.

The rise of AI and Robotics

In the field of precision surgery, there is a rise in studies using robotics to improve surgical methods. These robots are capable of movements even finer than the best-trained surgeons. Artificial Intelligence can be used in research to provide insight on high-volume data lakes much faster than alternative computing, as well as offering insight to medical professionals on the front line, advising on courses of treatment. This will never fully ‘replace’ medical staff, of course, but it allows them to focus on the intangible areas of their jobs; connecting with patients and developing their own intuition.

Increased digitalized assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of patients

Although telehealth has been around for years, many medical professionals resisted the transformation. The pandemic effectively removed that blocker, with many health services all over the world implementing telehealth solutions overnight. Many doctors and healthcare professionals are now accredited to continue their practice virtually. Some general practitioners can prescribe medications online through a database website such as LiveHealth Online or Teladoc.

Value-based pricing of products

Particularly in the US, this rising trend is good news for consumers, as more laws are being passed to drive down the prices of products, especially in the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries. A value-based pricing arrangement is based on ‘value-achieved’ – based on actual performance – not a set price per volume.

Improvement of drug approval timelines

Another outcome of the Pandemic is the realisation that the long process of drug approvals is preventing the useful application of much-needed medications. Advances in technology can and should be applied to speeding up the processes, improving data collection times and eventually resulting in a shorter (but just as rigorous) approval process. In the US, the Real-Time Oncology Review (RTOR) pilot, uses technology to accelerate the drug approvals related to cancer treatment.

In conclusion, one common thread we have seen in all the above is the benefits that enhanced technology and greater collaboration will bring. Total spending on the Pharmaceutical industry alone in 2021 should be c.$428bn. This doesn’t include any other areas of Life Sciences or the rapidly growing Neutraceutical industry which will also be seeking to apply technology as it improves its own testing protocols, seeking out data-driven insight and performance related data to support its claims.  There is no doubt that 2020/2021 will see continued growth and expansion in all of these areas of Life Sciences – and we are already seeing an uplift in conversations with clients seeking to get their teams fit-for-purpose for the challenges ahead. If you would like to confidentially discuss how Norman Broadbent Group could help you overcome your business or people challenges, please contact Nick Behan or Lyle Stewart for an initial confidential discussion.