Pistoia Alliance publishes report on the future of life science R&D

The new report predicts new innovations and regulatory reforms that organisations need to be prepared for in the coming decade

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The Pistoia Alliance, a global non-profit that works to lower barriers to innovation in life sciences R&D, has published a new report into the future of the life science and healthcare industries: ‘2030: Life sciences and Health in the Digital Age’. The report, drawing on material generated by 75 industry experts from 65 major organisations, has been written as a retrospective from 2030, looking back on a decade of significant technological, social and political evolution.

The new report predicts new innovations and regulatory reforms that organisations need to be prepared for in the coming decade and examines individual technologies that will impact the sector. The report will help life sciences, biopharma R&D and healthcare organisations identify the trends they will need to respond to and the areas in which collaboration will be crucial.

The report also projects forward current trends, such as the growth of Chinese and Indian industry, as well as the rise of certain diseases, to outline demographic changes, technological innovations, and new regulations across global markets that companies need to be aware of. Some of the biggest drivers of healthcare challenges in the next decade will be cancer, mental health, anti-microbial resistance (AMR), and an ageing population.

Faced with such problems, the report argues that biopharma companies need to be looking at new technological solutions in order to keep pace and continue developing breakthrough therapeutics. The technologies covered in the report include:

  • AI/ML
  • Blockchain
  • Cloud Computing
  • Quantum computing
  • Medical Devices
  • Digital – including biomarkers, diagnostics, monitoring and therapeutics
  • Internet of Things
  • Laboratory Automation
  • Tissue and Organ regeneration
  • Liquid next-generation sequencing
  • Therapeutic molecule synthesis

“This report has been created for members and friends of the Pistoia Alliance, as well as others with an interest in what the life science, biopharma R&D and healthcare ecosystem might look like in 2030,” said Dr Steve Arlington, President of The Pistoia Alliance.

Aside from the technological advances forecast, the report also outlines patient-centric innovations likely to occur between now and 2030. These include:

  • Developments in precision medicine, genomics, stem-cell and gene-based therapies
  • Patient registries
  • Diagnostic pills
  • An increased use of Real World Data (RWD)

In addition to these, the authors foresee that breakthroughs resulting from studies of the human microbiome will match, or even surpass, those achieved by genomics in recent decades. However, these healthcare developments come at a cost. Society will need to think of new ways of valuing, calculating and funding the costs of healthcare delivery.

“Our agenda must shift from treatment of disease to prevention and cure, and with that, the reward systems we have to promote these solutions must flex to encompass the new agenda,” said John Wise, report co-author and member of the Pistoia Alliance operations team. “To realise these goals, the industry must embrace the technical and scientific advances we are seeing in the life sciences.”

Wise believes that the new wave of digital technologies supporting diagnostics, therapeutics and health devices, coupled with the progress of AI and Machine Learning, will deliver exciting progress. Further explaining that the analysis of data generated by this digital revolution will make a profound contribution to the understanding of disease, the delivery of new therapies and the palliation of the human condition.

The report was written by Dr Steve Arlington and John Wise, following three ‘futurecasting’ workshops held throughout 2019 in San Francisco, Boston and London. 75 delegates attended, and participants included regulators in Europe and the US, healthcare professionals, drug discovery experts, technology leaders, and specialist VCs.

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