Medicine

The Biggest Impacts on the Future of the Biotech Industry

What emerging scientific advancements do you foresee having the biggest impact on the future direction of the biotechnology industry?

We can’t have a conversation about advancements without mentioning AI and machine learning. This really has the potential to speed up many elements of the drug discovery, development, and manufacturing of medicines. However, I think there are unknowns around IP and patent protection, and then security and accuracy. But I think the opportunity is there for us to clearly take biologics and advanced therapies and over 50% of the of the drug development pipeline, which is phenomenal. So, some really exciting opportunities with CRISPR.

So, which is sort of gene editing. Hopefully, I’ll pronounce this correctly. Cast CI V, which is vertex pharma therapy was the first FDA approved therapy for sickle cell disease. And that happened in late 2023. And that is a CRISPR therapy. There’s also then synthetic biology, which I think does have some incredible potential, but also comes with ethical challenges, and then the area of omics or multi omics. So, this discipline provides us with a detailed or holistic view of how a living system works, so it’s a good way to identify biomarkers or new therapeutic targets but pretty early stage is no doubt fraught with challenges. Due to the nature of the data gathered some other areas RNA therapeutics, microbiome, and nanotechnology. So, there’s so much opportunity, it will then be about what sticks and where the where the value comes from.

In your opinion, what key factors will determine the success of biotech companies in the coming years, taking into account the current trends in funding, supply chains, and technological advancements?

So, as I mentioned earlier, we’re in another reset period in the fairly usual cycle of the industry. So, in the late 2000s, we saw the emergence of risk-based quality, quality by design, and some improvements in efficiency as the pressure was on how we price therapies, we’re facing a fairly similar challenge and efficiency will be key, whatever happens, there may be a move towards a more specialist modeling outsourcing by biotech, which may well trigger more M&A in the supply chain. If money is tight, and by a secondary, their focus and need to find a specialist, CRO or CDMO, may well provide a less risky solution.

Clearly, using technology, whether that’ll be AI, or some of the scientific breakthroughs will be key with an eye on the practicality of deploying a therapy in a healthcare setting, I don’t think we can lose sight of that. Like I think for some biotechs, they probably aren’t thinking that long term, because they may well be looking to exit their asset at proof of concept. But the challenge we have is we have to get these therapies to patients. So, we need to make sure the right ones get through. I guess other things prioritize the most promising asset, get data quickly and prove it prove its value. Managing your own funding, play these obvious things, the regulatory pathways need to sort of become more seamless or there needs to be better understanding a particular drug modality or particularly therapeutic area. And then really, the flexibility in our supply chain.

So, we started with an onshoring offshoring question, this ability to run a hybrid model and know that you have you have mitigated that risk. You’ve got supply chain capacity in different regions for different patient populations. So, I do think it’s, it’s absolutely key but interesting on reflection, you know, you think about where we are today, the drug development lifecycle is really long. And there may be therapies that are in the market now or just coming into the market now that was born out of the recession in the late 2000s. So, what’s really important is that we’re responsive but not reactive around all of this. And as I said, the caveat there is if a biotechs on a shorter lifecycle, and it’s a bit different. But I suppose my final comment is probably that whatever happens, I believe this vibrant sector will of course, find a way forward.

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