The current challenges of life science companies and how the industry is reinventing itself to innovate health care provision
What’s next for the pharmaceutical industry, known for its groundbreaking developments? The golden age of blockbuster drugs is ending as a new era of personalized treatment that leverages cutting-edge technology is ushered in. The reinvention will include DNA customization, at-home devices, smart manufacturing and full digitalization.
Although, such a change doesn’t come without its challenges.
The challenge of a digitized healthcare system
Despite the fact that advanced technology would transform the provision of healthcare, uptake is slow. There are multiple reasons for this resistance which is maintaining the dated system.
The protection of patient data is a priority. The data collected and used in a medical setting is highly sensitive and will only become more so as personalized treatment is created based on DNA and received through at-home devices. GDPR compliance, anonymization and robust cyber-security are required to prevent patient data from being stolen and misused.
Additionally, there are challenges when applying digitalization and personalization to a global market because regulations change depending on the territory, meaning companies have more than one set of rules to navigate.
Even so, the reinvention of the pharmaceutical industry is imminent as these issues can be traversed to create a healthcare system that serves its people with cutting-edge treatment.
Rediscovering focus in the future of pharma
Innovation has created plenty of opportunities for those in the pharmaceutical industry to develop and transform. The main players will choose one of these three focuses when creating a new vision for how they deliver transformative treatment in the current climate.
Implementing widespread customization
Organizations that choose this focus will cover the total care landscape with the aim to make it fully personalized. The personalized treatments will be combined with advanced devices for granular monitoring even at home. The sensitivity of monitoring could include sensors with the capacity to measure the speed and efficiency of drug uptake. This advanced monitoring creates a feedback loop that refines treatment. In this case, the business model will become cure as a service as the priority shifts from selling drugs to improving and managing the progress of treatment.
Innovation as a speciality
Innovation underlies the aim of healthcare – to improve quality of life. However, the way of bringing innovations to the market is changing as securing patents becomes more complex. Highly targeted treatments are harder to patent, especially if they involve DNA which is the property of the patient. Combined drug and device treatment plans cause patent issues too because they could involve the property of multiple corporations.
Instead, organizations that focus on innovation will join informal ecosystems of companies to achieve big breakthroughs. Singular companies can’t play all the roles in bringing new treatments to market, from conceptual research to manufacturing. Companies must choose whether to innovate or manufacture. Centralization is becoming a thing of the past as demonstrated by the rollout of the Covid 19 vaccines. Multiple local contractors produced vaccines for individual or groups of markets. Some companies will innovate. Others will manufacture.
The onset of Industry 4.0
We are essentially experiencing the fourth industrial revolution as manufacturing adapts to the introduction of data analytics, sensor-based asset management, digital twins and predictive analytics. The implementation of these advancements leads to better quality control, management and decision-making.
It could create two very different ways of manufacturing, continuous or modular manufacturing. Continuous manufacturing eliminates planning and restarting costs but requires predictive quality management and intervention to maintain regulatory standards. On the other hand, modular manufacturing involves setting up an ad hoc production line which would work well for delivering treatment in developing countries.
Top priorities for the pharmaceutical industry
With such significant changes being made in the reinvention of the pharmaceutical industry, companies need a strong foundation for innovation. The first two priorities are optimizing systems of record and the use of data.
Expanding the use of data analysis
First, the use of advanced data analysis needs to be applied beyond peripheral processes like HR and Marketing to be leveraged in mission-critical processes like R&D and production. Management and tracking of a batch within the supply chain are enhanced by the use of sensors to collect data, machine learning to process it and predictive analysis to intervene before issues occur. AI and machine learning can also unlock insights from the past by analyzing data from previous medical trials and research in an even more granular way.
End-to-end enhancement is only possible by breaking down silos. Full integration means data can be shared across departments and used in all decision-making. Such an integrated system allows for data loops where data defines outcomes which are then refined and used to lead research and development for constant improvement. The use of data is evolving from reactive to predictive to prescriptive.
Advancing systems of record
Systems of records can be optimized to enable agile, integrated and scalable operations. The Internet of Things will become the basis of systems of records to build data lakes that give authorized personnel a true vision of the organization end-to-end.
The cloud will also play a key role as it has the security and scalability for corporations to house apps that underlie the operation of the business and add new capabilities for specialized services. This new intelligent ecosystem is leading to disaggregation. Security is applied at the point of individual interaction, instead of on mass, to increase efficiency. Hyper Automation will add other autonomous processes to the complex pharmaceutical ecosystem for efficient usage.
Embracing the future
With each pharmaceutical company being at different levels of maturity, capability and strategic positioning, each has a unique starting point for reinvention whether customizing, innovating or revolutionizing manufacturing. At the very least, building agility and a fast pace through data analysis and optimized systems of record are essential to thriving during the reinvention of pharmaceuticals. Every organization can benefit from fully implementing S/4HANA as a necessary foundation for future developments.
For long-term success, pharmaceutical companies need a partner to guide them through these innovations. At NTT DATA, we have the business insights, industry knowledge and technological expertise to guide those in the pharmaceutical industry through this period of reinvention. Are you equipped to navigate the future of the pharmaceutical industry?