The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the focus on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) across the life sciences organization, from R&D to manufacturing, supply chain, and commercial functions. During the pandemic, company leadership and management realized that they could run many aspects of their business remotely and with digital solutions. This experience has transformed mindsets; leaders are more likely to lean into a future that lies in digital investments, data, and AI because of this experience. At present, the life sciences industry has only begun to scratch the surface of AI's potential, primarily applying it to automate existing processes. By melding AI with rigorous medical and scientific knowledge, companies can do even more to leverage this technology to transform processes and achieve a competitive edge. AI has the potential to identify and validate genetic targets for drug development, design novel compounds, expedite drug development, make supply chains smarter and more responsive, and help launch and market products. We will highlight a number of these use cases in this report.
The explosion of digital diagnostics and therapeutics, increasing patient-centeredness, interoperable data, and increased regulatory collaboration are all signs of the tremendous changes that digital technologies are driving in the health care industry. How can biopharma prepare for this new reality? How should biopharma companies transform their operating and business models to compete? In research and development (R&D), digital transformation has the potential to drastically improve productivity by applying artificial intelligence (AI) and computational biology to drug discovery and development and by making clinical trials much more efficient. In commercial, more targeted patient engagement and the application of behavioral science principles could lead to better patient outcomes. Persona-based marketing to health care providers could lead to greater market awareness and action. In supply chain, digital supply networks can result in much greater product visibility, traceability, and inventory control. How can companies leverage the promise of digital?
The pace and scale of medical and scientific innovation is transforming the biopharma industry. The need for better patient engagement and experience is spurring new business models. Data generated, captured, analysed and used in real time by innovative medical devices is biopharma's new currency. A key differentiator for companies is the extent to which they are able to generate insights and evidence from multiple data sources. Consequently, digital transformation is a strategic imperative. This report outlines how artificial intelligence-enabled technologies will impact the biopharma value chain and accelerate biopharma's digital transformation. Although there is a high level of innovation in the industry, biopharma companies are facing a complex and challenging environment due to increased competition and R&D cycle times, shorter time in market, expiring patents, declining peak sales, pressure around reimbursement and mounting regulatory scrutiny. As we have shown in our series of reports on'Measuring the return from pharmaceutical innovation', these factors are contributing to an alarming decline in the projected return on investment that large biopharma companies might expect to achieve from their late-stage pipelines, threatening their long-term futures.1 Digital transformation could provide a lifeline to biopharma research and development (R&D) and help reverse this trend. Digital transformation will also impact beyond R&D, as companies look to improve their operational performance, productivity, efficiency and cost-effectiveness across the entire biopharma value chain (see figure 1). Digital transformation will also impact business models, the development of new products and services, and how companies engage with health care professionals, patients and other customers. Ultimately, digital transformation is the next step in the evolution of biopharma companies.
Digital technologies can transform how companies approach clinical development by incorporating valuable insights from multiple sources of data, radically improving the patient experience, enhancing clinical trial productivity, and increasing the amount and quality of data collected in trials. But where is the industry in adopting these transformative technologies? We interviewed 43 leaders across the clinical development ecosystem to understand the current level of adoption of digital technologies and how it can be accelerated. We found that the industry has been slow to digitize its clinical development processes, and that digital adoption varies widely. Even the most advanced organizations are simply piloting several technologies in different areas of clinical development, focusing on piecemeal solutions or new tools to support the existing process. Our research and client experience suggest that digital transformation is a complex, resource-intensive, and lengthy undertaking. But the rewards can be significant: Early adopters can benefit from better access to and engagement with patients, deeper insights, and faster cycle times for products in development. Many in our study expressed a desire to be fast followers, but given the complexity of operationalizing a digital strategy, the reality is that undue delay could put organizations at a competitive disadvantage. At the same time, our research also indicates that biopharma companies and contract research organizations (CROs) will need to overcome several challenges to realize the potential of digital in clinical development: immature data infrastructure and analytics, regulatory considerations, and internal organizational and cultural barriers. Biopharma companies should consider building updated data infrastructure and governance, engaging early with regulators to discuss new technologies, and developing a measured approach to evaluating and implementing technologies within their organizations. CROs can enable this change by advancing interoperable digital platforms and vetting promising technology applications. Cross-industry consortia could help advance the industry as a whole by offering a forum to share early successes and supporting the development of standards. The time to act is now.
Artificial intelligence, automation, blockchain and other technologies driving digital transformation will fundamentally reshape how drug makers operate, from portfolio planning, drug development, direct-to-consumer marketing, to finance and other administrative functions. Technology will also drive dramatic cultural changes at these organizations - the deliberative, scientifically driven nature of these companies is well-suited to take advantage of the power of applying analytics to a multitude of data points to uncover patterns that lead to better-defined, data-driven courses of action across the organization, for executives, managers and researchers. KPMG's 2018 CEO Outlook this year found that a quarter of life sciences executives are showing positive returns from their investments in digital transformation and artificial intelligence. Another third of these CEOs expect to see ROI within a year from digital transformation programs.1 However, U.S. and global life sciences CEOs diverge about the strategic value of technological investment.