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IDBS Blog | 27th August 2019

Biopharma in 2019: The Top Trends of the Year

The biopharmaceutical industry continues to grow and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

Last year, we talked about different aspects of the biopharmaceutical industry. These touched on several trends from the importance of data and the extensive use of AI in the lab to the role technology plays and should play in the industry. Below, we take a look at the key themes we anticipate in 2019.

Growth, growth, growth

Biopharmaceuticals now take up more than 25% of the pharmaceutical industry, and the global biopharmaceutical market is expected to reach $388.9 billion by 2024, according to Mordor Intelligence. Its growth is accelerating.

The urge to cut down on operational costs and bring drugs to market quicker hasn’t just resulted in the widespread use of disposable equipment and lean operations. It has also led to the emergence of new players such as biosimilars, and more R&D companies outsourcing to contract preclinical, development and manufacturing organizations.

Outsourced pharma – the pressure is high

Since manufacturing productivity remains a top concern for drug developers, the global biopharmaceutical CXO industry is reported to grow by an impressive 12% annually, and more so in developing markets.  We have seen drug developers minimize the number of suppliers employed and form strategic partnerships with contractors instead, tapping into their specialist knowledge of complex therapies. This has resulted in a number of notable mergers and acquisitions in the space, as well as contract pharma steadily investing in improving operational excellence. But they too are under pressure; not just by the rising demand from research labs and drug developers, but by the mounting burden to minimize risks and speed up time to market.

Security is key

Although we often talk about subcontracting and the need to cut costs while boosting efficiency, some organizations often overlook an important aspect that enables all this: using the right technology. It’s hard to find ‘the perfect one’ – the system or platform that seamlessly solves our problems and allows scientists to do what they do best. There are many requirements technology needs to fulfil. But in this heavily regulated and collaborative environment, data security will be at the top of everyone’s lists.

Below is our selection of key considerations for outsourcing and data security – a list of what any provider offering collaborative systems/platforms should be able to do for your company:

  • Demonstrate that rigorous controls are in place to protect access to data by working with vendors who have their systems externally audited and are compliant to an industry standard, such as the ISO27001
  • Ensure that data and users are protected from malicious code or actors – the environment should be able to share reports of the tests performed on the system, ensuring security
  • Deliver a technology solution that is easy-to-use and has low maintenance costs (both time and money)

Outsourcing, and the obstacles and concerns it brings, are here to stay, along with the growing regulatory and time pressures. Externalizing processes undoubtedly play a key role in the drug delivery and development procedures, including preclinical stages. Technology – which enables these processes – remains at the core of the biopharmaceutical industry, so it’s more important than ever to choose the right partners.


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