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Challenges and opportunities within the pharmaceuticals industry

Marcin Buczakowski our consultant managing the role
Published on 20 July 2020
Some major challenges and opportunities for the pharmaceutical industry have emerged in recent months as companies have raced to develop a Covid-19 vaccine whilst striving to help their employees stay focused when working from home

Meanwhile, existing developments in the life sciences market, such as wearable technology and patient-centricity, appear to be attracting more attention. These changes combined with the slowing of the global market’s growth suggest that it’s time pharmaceutical companies focus on making the patient’s voice heard. Let’s dive a little deeper into the challenges and opportunities that the pharmaceuticals industry is now facing.

Balancing clinical trials with social distancing

Few industries were unaffected by the pandemic but the impact of Covid-19 on the life sciences market is unmissable. Since the outbreak of the virus, many pharmaceutical companies have redirected their resources towards developing a Covid-19 vaccine while others have worked to keep the life cycle of their clinical trials on track.

Doing so has been a major challenge, not only due to the barriers of trialling drugs on patients whilst monitoring social distancing, but also because many companies have reduced their headcount in laboratories. This has forced clinical trials to be redesigned and to introduce new concepts such as remote monitoring of patients. Pharmaceutical companies must continue creating agile trials to limit the dropout rate, which currently sits at 30% and threatens to increase if safe distances cannot be achieved in trials.

Smart devices and wearable technology present opportunities

Inovio secured a $71 million contract for their smart devices known as Cellectra 3PSP and Cellectra 2000. These electric toothbrush lookalikes are both portable and user-friendly, enabling a Covid-19 vaccine to be administered directly into the patient’s skin – just some of the reasons the technologies have attracted such huge investments for Inovio. The biotechnology company is leading the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine, and with phase 1 clinical trials underway the finishing line appears to be within sight.

Similarly, wearable technologies are emerging in the pharmaceutical market because of their ease and practicality. It’s essential that pharmaceutical companies, device and software developers, data providers and wearables providers collaborate effectively on these projects but there’s also the challenge of making the patient’s voice heard.

Bringing patient centricity into the spotlight

As digital healthcare moves away from being a dreamed-up vision to a reality, companies and governments need to work together with patients to ensure they’re doing everything possible to maximise patient health and wellbeing. The COO of Aparito – a leading digital health company – warns that patients are not being involved enough in the development of wearable technology and that by failing to make their voices heard, companies are missing out on delivering smart devices which are intuitive and provide data that’s really important to patients.

In their Annual Patient-Centric Benchmark Survey, The Aurora Project found that 91% of respondents agree that pharma, biotech and medical device companies need to be more patient-focused. These companies working in the digital health sphere and professionals embarking on a life sciences career need to put patients in the driver’s seat and gain the public’s trust.

Is the growth of the global market threatened?

The global pharmaceutical industry is projected to reach a value of $1.57 trillion by 2023, meaning that if it were a country it would be the 13th richest in the world. However, industry experts are concerned that the market growth is slowing because of issues with patent protection and pricing in the US. As pricing becomes more competitive, companies may look to reduce their research and development costs and investigate switching from small molecules to biosimilars to save costs further.

Let Quanta help you find your next life sciences job 

At Quanta, we recognise that with any challenge comes an opportunity and it’s no different when looking for a job. Our life sciences team will help you understand your goals and use their industry knowledge and long-term partnerships to find you a role in the pharmaceutical and/or biotech industries. Head straight to our life sciences jobs to begin your application or contact us for help with your job search or advice on online networking.