Expert Roundup: Digital Opportunities in Pharma
SummaryThe life sciences industry has evolved tremendously with the acceleration of technology, and digital development presents many opportunities for research and overall process improvements. As we continue to innovate and imagine the future, our annual summit Breakthrough was an insightful look into the technology and upcoming trends of life sciences.
- Author Company: ArisGlobal
- Author Name: Sankesh Abbhi
- Author Email: email@example.com
- Author Website: https://www.arisglobal.com/
The life sciences industry has evolved tremendously with the acceleration of technology, and digital development presents many opportunities for research and overall process improvements. As we continue to innovate and imagine the future, our annual summit Breakthrough was an insightful look into the technology and upcoming trends of life sciences. Over two days, leaders from established pharma and emerging biotechs discussed the outlook for advancing drug development, from automation in clinical trials to data collaboration across teams.
Here are some highlights from Breakthrough 2021:
Internal connectivity is key to success
While each step of the development process is highly specialized, teams across the R&D spectrum need to work together to bring products to market. My colleague Pat Jenakanandhini, CPO of ArisGlobal, found that the trends in life sciences are making teams more reliant upon each other than ever. Succeeding in the industry rests on effective collaboration, which can streamline data sharing and business processes.
Joe Elicone, Global Business Process & Technology Lead of CSL Behring, spoke on this topic in one of our panels. He believes our industry has the means to achieve connectivity and sees technology evolving in the pharma industry. “Regardless of size, we all have the ability to take advantage of this technology — we just have to find out the right solution for our business at our volume, size, and portfolio.” Those who haven’t started this process might find this challenging, but it can have a great impact on drug development, and ultimately, patient lives.
Digital transformation is all about interconnectivity. No matter what point in the drug development process one works in, the people, processes and data should be connected, and implementing technology drives that change. Each team can fall into silos, making it hard to collaborate and have visibility across R&D functions. If we want to make strides in the industry, we cannot afford to stay disconnected throughout the process.
Automation is the future of pharma
One thing was clear during Breakthrough2021: if automation isn’t already a part of an organization’s strategy, it needs to be implemented in the future. We recently released a State of the Industry report to view the current state of automation in life sciences R&D. Our SVP of Marketing Sam Stein presented these findings during one of our sessions. One insight he shared was how only 5% of companies surveyed are using cognitive automation. This includes artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), and technology that can replace human decision making in certain instances. With so few companies using this advanced level of automation, the evidence showed that digital transformation in life sciences is still in its early days.
During his session, Shamik Parikh, VP of the Patient Safety Center of Excellence at AstraZeneca, felt that more organizations were on the cusp of implementing cognitive automation. “I believe, in the next few years, we're going to automate things that can be automated, and then we're going to try to make the best use of cognitive automation and artificial intelligence.” Automation is going to be used for more than tracking data and checking for compliance. Soon, automation will be in charge of decision making. That might seem like a daunting idea at first, but in the near future automating more pieces of the drug development process will reduce human error and increase productivity in a way that is not manually - or even humanly - possible.
In order for innovations to be successful, the most important goal is knowing how technology can impact a patient’s life. Listening to Christoph Koenen, MD, EVP and Chief Medical Officer of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc., we heard how Otsuka is working to use digital medicine and technology to impact patients, especially those with mental illnesses. They’ve shown the delicate balance needed between digital transformation and human empathy to give the support patients need while using the advanced technology available.
Technology can also break barriers for patients, whether they cannot travel on-site for appointments or clinical trials or they can’t remember to track progress. “We are more optimistic about the future of virtual care than ever before,” said Sean Duffy, Co-Founder and CEO of Omada Health, which specializes in digital health solutions. “We are on the cusp of breaking down the systematic trade-offs within the system — engagement, cost, and outcomes.” As patient needs evolve, so must technology. I remain excited to see continued development in the digital health world, especially as it converges more and more closely with life sciences.
Technology will continue to accelerate medical breakthroughs and power the next generation of life sciences innovations. Moving towards the future, I am reminded of ArisGlobal’s mission: to foster innovation, elevate life sciences, and benefit humankind.
About Sankesh Abbhi
Sankesh Abbhi is the President and CEO of ArisGlobal. In this role, he is focused on expanding ArisGlobal’s business by building a strong and unique platform strategy and launching important new products for the benefit of customers, patients, employees and shareholders. Sankesh has overseen back-to-back years of record growth for ArisGlobal and spearheaded the company’s relationship with Nordic Capital, delivering a long-term growth partner and opening a new chapter in ArisGlobal’s 30 year history. Sankesh began his career as the founder of Synowledge, a knowledge process outsourcing company that grew to more than 1,000 global employees and was eventually acquired by BioClinica. In that role, he gained a unique perspective on ArisGlobal as a customer, including invaluable functional experience in drug safety, regulatory affairs, medical affairs and clinical development. Sankesh is a seasoned businessman, graduating with a BA in Economics from Columbia University.