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Three trends shaping the life sciences industry

Nicolle Kniebe our consultant managing the role
Posted by  Nicolle Kniebe
Published on 14 January 2021

All eyes have been firmly on the life sciences industry as the top biopharma companies pull together to deliver the one thing that we need for our daily lives to start returning to normal – a vaccine. As the fight against coronavirus wages on, there is a pressing need for life sciences companies to either reallocate their resources to focus on Covid-19 or continue with their work into other life-changing treatments.

While the industry has faced challenges, 62% of jobs within UK life sciences have been positively impacted by the virus – around twice as high as the national average. The job security and opportunity to make history mean there’s never been a better time to join the life sciences workforce, but which way are things headed? The answer is up, and here are three key trends shaping the life sciences industry and signalling a stronger future.

1. Greater efficiency in drug and medical device approval timelines

Regulatory processes for medicines and medical devices are designed to get the products onto the market as quickly as possible so the public can start benefitting from them. However, regulatory bodies must first and foremost ensure the safety and efficacy of any product. This can stretch the timeline to 15-years for drugs and 7-years for medical devices. That’s changing.


There are four key drivers for more efficient product approval timelines:

  • Better patient safety due to P4 medicine
  • Innovative treatments, including combination therapies and gene editing 
  • Access to real-time data generated through virtual trials
  • More sophisticated technology, including machine learning and the Internet of Medical Things.


Despite an increase in efficiency, drug and medical device manufacturers are competing with more stringent regulations. As a result, commissioning, qualification and validation and quality assurance teams - such as process engineers and validation engineers – are in high demand.

2. Precision medicine

Precision medicine, also referred to as personalised medicine, is recognised for boosting life sciences and is a perfect example of a trend that is shaping the entire industry. The relatively new medical model looks at tailoring patient care based on an individual’s genetic makeup. The treatments that follow are, therefore, more effective as they take into account that every patient will respond differently.


A recent report shows that between 2017-2024 the global precision market will grow by 11% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). So what’s powering this trend? One contributing factor is the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) which is creating a surge in smart technology and the automation of industrial practices.

3. Digital Transformation

With each industrial revolution, the pace of change accelerates and the 4IR is no different. Yet the scale and complexity of this revolution have certainly raised some eyebrows. The use of increasingly sophisticated technology and software isn’t news within the life sciences industry but as each year passes the industry begins to benefit in new ways. Pharmacovigilance, in particular, is leveraging cloud-based systems to store and analyse the vast amount of data.


Meanwhile, big data is driving the digital transformation within healthcare and experts predict that the market will reach a minimum value of $53 billion by 2025. As the industry learns to harness AI to analyse this data, life sciences employees will unlock so much potential, accelerate biomarker discovery, streamline clinical trials and even accelerate approval timelines further with superior outlier identification.


This transformation is boosting the demand for digital skills within life sciences teams – one of the top life sciences skills – and technology is reminding us that it has the power to change the way that life sciences employees work and communicate.

Explore our latest life sciences jobs 

Life sciences is one of the most dynamic and agile industries. New trends are shaping workforces and operations, making it one of the most exciting and fast-paced environments to work in. What’s more, being a global market, there are career opportunities in every corner of the globe. So, whether you’re looking for your next job in Europe, Asia or North America, you won’t be hard-pressed to find the role that is right for you. Explore our life sciences jobs and find out where your next career move could take you.

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