Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Technology in Pharmaceutical Industry

Pharmaceutical market has been transformed in recent years due to "changing patient target groups, scientific developments and increasingly stringent regulations This has considerable consequences for the supply chains" [1]. Proportional revenues from new drugs dropped [2], which implies that most of the sales for pharmaceutical companies come from mature drugs. Also, the number of new drugs incorporated to the market has dropped 44% since 1997 [2]. But, why is this happening and how pharmaceutical companies can improve its R&D? According to some research conducted by McKinsey Global Institute, new technologies like Big data and the related analytics might help to tackle the problem of declining success rates and stagnant pipeline for new drugs [3].

The research suggests "that by implementing eight technology-enabled measures, pharmaceutical companies can expand the data they collect and improve their approach to managing and analyzing these data" [3].

1) Integrate all data.
In order to get the maximum benefit from technology trends, it is imperative to manage and integrate data generated throughout the pharmaceutical supply chain.

2) Collaborate internally and externally
The main objective of collaboration is encourage the networking between the participants in all the stages, from research, development, commercialization to delivery. This will enable to share and increase knowledge.

3) Employ IT-enabled portfolio-decision support
The more information you have, the better decision you can make. Data-driven decisions can be made is you have the right information and you analyze that information. Technologies like visual dashboards might help in the decision making process for current and future projects, forecasting, etc.

4) Leverage new discovery technologies
Pharmaceutical industry is benefited by using cutting-edge tools. For example, "technologies that produce a lot of data quickly, for example, next-generation sequencing, which, within 18 to 24 months, will make it possible to sequence an entire human genome at a cost of roughly $100."[3]

5) Deploy sensors and devices
Companies should take advantage from current technologies like smartphones, which can be used as instrumentation devices, to collect a big amount of data, and use it for further research.

6) Raise clinical-trial efficiency
The information collected by devices such those mentioned above, "will enable improvements in clinical-trial design and outcomes as well as greater efficiency" [3]
7) Improve safety and risk management
Companies can collect information, regarding safety of the drugs they produce, from relatively new channels, like websites where customers might be complaining about the effectiveness of a particular drug.

8) Sharpen focus on real-world evidence
"To expand their data beyond clinical trials, some leading pharmaceutical companies are creating proprietary data networks to gather, analyze, share, and respond to real-world outcomes and claims data" [3].

Finally the research mention the following challenges that pharmaceutical companies will face while implementing the use of big data:

-Organization: leaders should convince the organization of the long term benefits of using big data.

-Technology and analytics: companies have several unconnected systems with data that should be prepared before using it.

-Mind-sets: companies are not willing to shift if there are no guaranteed results.