Technology has always played a critical role in shaping the landscape of the global pharmaceutical industries. The year just gone by has witnessed a massive overhaul by using the technological advantages for introducing more efficient and cheaper manufacturing techniques. According to Eric Dalius, it is paving the way for a new world order governed by the user- conscious drugs of the future. With artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and a profound understanding of the human body, the Pharma industry is moving towards the path of creating a mutually beneficial relationship with modern technology in a way that had never happened before.
The emerging trends witnessed in the pharma sector that will shape the future will become clear ongoing through this article.
Spreading the biosimilar markets far and wide
Biosimilars have been an enigma for the pharma sector. From the beginning, the pharmaceutical regulatory agencies have been accustomed to handling tricky situations arising from biosimilars, especially concerning the procedural standards and legalities. The complexities grow much more when you consider the incessant demand for pharmaceuticals coupled with the demand for more accessible and cheaper drugs. The signs of the exponential growth of biosimilar markets in the coming years are evident.
South American countries have established their own R&D with a focus on producing patent-expired biologic drugs on a commercial scale and are ahead in the competition. As 66 US drug patents are going to expire in the next five years, it is reasonable to forecast that the FDA will be reviewing more biosimilar applications. It will result in higher growth in the biosimilar segment, feels Eric J Dalius.
Utilizing AI and big data for predictive/preventive measures
On looking at the pharma manufacturing landscape, it will be hard not to notice that real-time responsive drugs are still in the nascent stage of evolution. However, manufacturers have already taken the cue and started exploring their predictive quality techniques. The International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering or ISPE and its members have taken up the mission of implementing the Pharma 4.0 model and preparing a road map for it. It will help in better bonding of the medical universe, create new transparency levels for a digitalized plant floor, and speed up the process. It will speed up decision-making and provide in-time and in-line control over operations, business, and quality.
Using artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics technology will soon be possible to cut down manufacturing floor downtime and minimize product waste. There are signs of single-use disposable solutions gaining momentum that is likely to replace open transfer manufacturing techniques, thereby ensuring safer drug storage and transport.
Personalized medicine, also known as precision medicine, consists of the process of diagnosing and administering tailor made treatment and medicines by considering an individual’s predicted response. Although such medicine is still within a niche segment in the Pharma sector, there are clear signs of precision medicines slowly but steadily gaining traction as more and more such medicines clear the clinical stage and show signs of emerging in the new-age market. The momentum that precision medicine is gaining is evident from the doubling of investment in personalized medicines over the past five years. Experts project a 33% increase in production by 2025.
M&A (Mergers and Acquisitions)
Mergers and acquisitions in the Pharma Sector had maintained their impressive pace throughout 2019 despite a slowdown in other industries across the globe. The Pharma sector’s highly competitive environment is many compelling companies to re-jig their growth plans and elevate their position through consolidation. The stage is ready for the bigger players targeting mid-sized and small companies for acquisition that will give them access to the smaller companies’ innovative capabilities and catapult their business to greater heights.
Besides achieving growth, there are some other reasons for companies eyeing M&A. It can be a tactic to cope with the increased regulatory pressure from governments for lowering drug prices and nip potential monopolies in the bud. Another reason is the relentless encroachment pressure from the tech giants like Google, Apple, etc.
Therefore, the signs of the merger of some top Pharma companies are visible on the horizon. Merck’s buzz is likely to buyout Eli Lily, and Pfizer is likely to acquire Bristol-Myers Squib. However, the fact is that Eli Lily has acquired Prevail Therapeutics, a biotechnology company, for a $1 million deal.
Big pharma companies will use M&A as a strategic weapon for their growth, and the pace of deal-making will only become brisk.
Marijuana legalization for adult use
It is nothing new that the United States has always kickstarted global trends, and it continues to maintain the trend. The latest addition in the long list of trendsetters is the legalization of marijuana for adult use as well as for medical use. Colorado’s state was the first to make a move and remained the flag bearer in the march to spread the legal acceptance of marijuana across the continent.
The legalization process that started in 2014 generated $6.5 billion in cannabis sales that resulted in $1.02 billion in tax and revenue. It is a glaring example of the monetary value of the recreational drug, which has medical use too. Legalizing marijuana across the nation and all states can create a billion-dollar business and job opportunities, thereby opening new avenues for investors and consumers to explore.
The legalization of the cannabis industry is potent with the capabilities to trigger a domino effect across the globe that can significantly impact the Pharma industry in the area of research. Legalizing marijuana can offer new opportunities in the treatment of Alzheimer’s, cancer, Crohn’s, and epilepsy to glaucoma, anorexia, PTSD, and multiple sclerosis, as well as various other diseases.
As we enter into a new decade, there are definite signs of emerging new trends, many of which are going to be game-changers for the Pharma industries. We wait to see the rise of groundbreaking studies coupled with aggressive research initiatives that will follow a completely new path and bolster the pharma sector’s growth rate.