The challenges to innovation facing life sciences companies are real—so too are the opportunities.
By John J. Bell, Partner, CSC Life Sciences
The pharmaceutical industry has a solid reputation for its ability to innovate, with new drug releases entering the market on a regular basis. However, some serious obstacles are putting pressure on large and small life sciences organizations alike. In today’s market, the obstacles to innovation fall into three key categories: regulations, competition and the science itself.
When considering regulatory challenges, the biggest hurdle centers on drug trials, in which governmental demands continue to compound. This is clear in the latest evolution of phase 4 requirements pushing organizations into post-approval testing to further outline long-term risks and fine-tune optimal use recommendations.
Competition is a primary obstacle in part because significantly fewer people are enrolling in trials today. Plus, the once lucrative and innovation-laced disease areas are quite crowded. For instance, oncology has so many players that it’s extremely difficult for even the largest organizations to stand out from the crowd.
Last, the science trajectory has noticeably flattened. Although genomics still has the potential to serve as a scientific boost, the low-hanging fruit is gone. As a result, the compounds and pathways to success are far more complex today.
All of this simply means that pharmaceutical companies need to embrace new avenues. For some this means focusing on known areas of opportunity such as predictive or personalized medicine to address specific genetic populations or subsectors within disease markets—for instance, exploring medications to treat a well-defined subgroup of breast cancer patients.
But for many, those new avenues come through technology-based opportunities for capital-efficient innovation, especially within the following areas:
- R&D optimization – utilizing advanced imaging capabilities to customize the implant process, which ultimately improves efficiency and reduces costs
- Regulatory information management – utilizing cloud assets to streamline the regulatory filing process
- Manufacturing supply chain – embracing omnilocation technology to identify potential logistic risks and make timely, cost-effective decisions
- Commercial acceleration – digitizing the commercial model with best-in-class technology preconfigured to immediately empower customer-facing teams
- Risk management and security – improving access management by outsourcing management to industry leaders specializing in risk mitigation and data management
Bottom line: Pharmaceutical companies need to embrace a fresh perspective on where opportunities exist to continue improving and innovating. After all, it’s operational innovations that ultimately fuel an organization’s ability to enjoy externally recognized successes.