Have you watched the movie Elysium, starring Matt Damon? While we are decades behind the sci-fi movie’s timelines, Life Science technology trends in 2023 are impressive, nonetheless! These trends aid in humanity’s race to enhance the quality of life and make healthcare more accessible than ever before.
Over the past few years, the Life Sciences industry around the world has gone through a rapid transformation— the global COVID-19 pandemic being a major catalyst. Overall, it has accelerated the rate of technology adoption, acceptance and innovation in an industry which is traditionally quite slow to change.
This transformation leads to the possibility for faster breakthroughs in research, drug discovery, invention of new diagnostic tools, treatments and therapies among others, and more importantly, faster and more efficient supply chain mechanisms.
With Q1 2023 done, here’s a list of Archimedis Digital’s take on the Top 5 Technology Trends that we believe are the forerunners for growth in the Life Sciences Value Chain (LSVC) for this year.
(Note: This list is in no way exhaustive)
1. Real World Data (RWD)
The availability of real-world data (RWD) and real-world evidence (RWE) is growing at a blistering pace. Electronic health records, data generated from patients, pandemic-affected casualty data, disease registries, and social media data are examples here. RWD can provide true-blue insights into patient behaviour, clinical decision-making, and drug development.
RWD helps to gain a thorough understanding of drug usage and how this impacts patient outcomes. In turn, the residual data can bolster the evaluation of the safety of drugs, their effectiveness over the long term, and any potential side effects that were not very evident from the clinical trials.
So, it’s imperative that life science companies can make more and better data-driven decisions to develop innovative and effective drugs and treatments. A recent McKinsey article estimated that in the next 3-5 years, an average top-20 pharma company can scoop up $300 million per year by adopting RWD/RWE across its value chain.
2. Digital Transformation
Although not a new trend, digital transformation has made several frog-leaps in life sciences after the pandemic. Biopharma companies around the world are continuously ramping up their digital transformation (DT) efforts to capitalise on its advantages.
With the capacity to touch and improve all parts of the life science machine like manufacturing, drug development, supply chain, R&D, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, and a few more, DT is the need of the hour.
A typical example of DT is Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA can, among other things, assist in the management of regulatory compliance requirements, maximise ROI by completing repetitive, tedious tasks like the collection of real-time information, and strengthen the responsiveness of sales/marketing teams to new requirements.
That said, we must admit that umpteen life science companies have still not grown out of the paper-and-spreadsheet mindset. Forbes conducted a survey in late 2022 that showed over 33% of professionals fell under this unfortunate category. But the trend towards more digitalization will spur on in 2023.
Our partners at Archimedis Digital are especially interested in enabling Life Science companies to build capabilities for this leap. If you’re interested to know more, reach out to us!
3. Wearable Technology
A trend that’s picking up at an unprecedented pace now, the adoption of wearables in healthcare is almost a no-brainer. Fitness trackers, wearable ECGs and blood pressure monitors, and biosensors are all the talk of the med-tech town. This kind of technology can: a) read the vital signs of patients, b) quantify all their daily physical activity, and c) even measure health outcomes.
There is some debate going around about the accuracy of parameters tracked by these devices, but there is no denying the growth trend of wearables (evident from the increase in number of consumers in the US from 9% to 33% in the last 4 years).
Siloed data management, issues with drug traceability, and complex supply-chain management are three very important reasons why blockchain technology has hustled its way into life sciences.
In the US, the FDA has provenance and compound tracking under its purview. For companies looking to evolve towards more transparent systems, blockchain tech can provide unchangeable batch records of active pharmaceutical ingredients during the manufacturing process and simple reporting systems in case of adverse global events or a drug batch recall.
Blockchain technology can be implemented in clinical trials, where immutability, scalability, and traceability of patient records are of paramount importance. It can help maintain trail protocols, track patient samples, and oversee secure communication between trial sites.
Check out how Aculys Pharma and SUSMED penned a contract to conduct the world’s first clinical trial using blockchain.
5. Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
One of the hottest trends that stormed through the technology gates in recent years – AI/ML is making its entry to the list of top contenders for adoption by Life Sciences. AI can accurately analyse massive data sets in a matter of minutes and be used for clinical trial management, diagnostics, and help improve outcomes for patients.
For clinical trials, AI and ML can considerably reduce timelines and costs, and produce more reliable insights and results. Candidate recruitment for trials is a manual-screening-heavy process that involves analysing a dump-full of textual data. AL/ML models like Natural Language Processing (NLP), Deep Learning, and Optical Character Recognition can help here by:
- Sorting through numerous medical records and identifying participants that fit the clinical trials.
- Learning from past trials to make future recruitment of candidates simpler.
- Creating qualifying questions through chatbots to find whether a candidate is suitable for a trial or not.
Not only in life sciences but also for all industries in general, technology and transformation are inevitable. However, the onus is on companies and their leaders to decide whether they want to lead the charge or be a part of the pack.