According to PwC1, biopharma companies need to win a competitive advantage, because,
“In 2023, delivering for patients and investors (in pharma) will happen against a backdrop of high inflation, talent shortages, rising capital costs (and) pressures on consumer spending.”
What always happens at times like these is that some companies rise to the top, while others suddenly disappear. But there are, they go on to say, two areas where you can harness those headwinds to become significantly more competitive.
1. Reimagining Work in Biopharma
Whether your business succeeds or not today is going to depend on how seriously you respond to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. And that’s for both the long and short term, and regardless of which sector you operate in.
It’s no longer economically viable to profitably run a company without factoring in environmental costs. And the reputational costs of failing to address social and governance issues will make your company redundant.
What’s more, ‘social’ is now being broken down into the subcategory of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). And if you don’t take active steps, and are not clearly seen to be taking action around ‘inclusion’, employees, customers, investors and, ultimately shareholders will abandon you.
All of which is especially true for the biopharma and healthcare sectors. Everything you do has to be transparently ethical and completely above board. But you also have to grow. Because the bigger you get, the more medicines are for the patients who need them.
All of which means the way biopharma gets done is having to change.
Most obviously, every activity must now be done in a much more transparent way, so that your carbon footprint can be precisely accounted for. You need end to end traceability around sourcing materials and products, all packaging has to be recyclable, drugs have to have a longer shelf life, and every dose, wherever possible, has to be used up.
And all the major pharma companies are pursuing action plans aimed at increasing access, and lowering the cost of drugs, to help the more vulnerable in society, and the less affluent in the developing world. Pfizer, for instance, has a program for sharing intellectual property (IP) with third-party researchers around malaria and TB treatments.
While the decentralized clinical trials (DCT) and remote patient monitoring (RPM), which both increased so notably in response to the pandemic, are sure to become even more common going forward. Because the improved diversity and inclusion that results is not just good for your DEI metrics. That diversity makes those trials more scientifically robust.
2. Tech-enabling Biopharma Companies
This reimagining of work practices is only taking place because of the digital transformation that technology is making possible. The manufacturing of drugs, for instance, has been made significantly more efficient thanks to the emergence of smart factories.
The Internet of Things (IoT) and the 5G that they rely on to be coordinated, mean manually repetitive tasks can now be performed on the factory floor by robots and cobots (robots that work in collaboration with you). Which can collect and deliver, and sort and catalogue far more efficiently than we humans, so that workers are free to perform more productive tasks.
Which saves money, speeds everything up, and increases employee satisfaction.
And it’s that same technology and cloud-based services that are making possible the above-mentioned expansion in decentralized clinical trials and remote patient monitoring.
While organizationally, companies are leveraging cloud-native services to harness artificial intelligence-enabled research. And to then reliably manage and organize the vast quantity of data and documents that all that produces, in real time.
All of which increases innovation, lowers the costs of operations and expands the services on offer.
‘Technology Can Make You the ‘Control Tower’
More than anything else, technology enables you to become the ‘control tower’, gathering and organizing all the data that your activities generate. And to then use the insights that result to manage your projects much more efficiently.
The visibility and effortless control that a sophisticated software solution gives you into each project, and across your portfolio of projects, will speed up everything you do, significantly. So you’ll be able to get the drugs and treatments you make to market far quicker, confident in the knowledge that all your governance and compliance requirements have been met.
You just need to make sure you’re using the right software.
Access our biopharma project management software buyers guide, and find out how Cora makes you the ‘control tower’.
1“Next in pharma: Thriving in 2023” by PwC