AI, blockchain, IoT disrupting global pharma industry, Frost & Sullivan report

The pharmaceutical industry is in a state of flux as it tries to maintain a delicate balance between the need for novel blockbuster drugs and the need for improved operational efficiencies in an increasingly competitive market space. As healthcare is becoming increasingly democratised, patients are emerging as key decision makers—digitally enabled by the entry of non-traditional tech companies such as Apple, Facebook, and Google—pushing pharmaceutical companies to go beyond-the-pill.

However, in the midst of this chaos, there are pioneering companies offering solutions that apply cutting-edge technologies to build digital convergence across the pharmaceutical value chain.

“Digital transformation in pharmaceuticals is leading to tectonic shifts in the way companies and stakeholders traditionally conduct business by introducing novel business and data monetisation models and investment opportunities,” said Neelotpal Goswami, Senior Industry Analyst with Frost & Sullivan’s global Transformational Healthgroup. “The move toward a value-based care model is driving the need for better drug adherence and efficacy, which in turn is driving the need to optimise performance.”

“We expect digitalisation to continue driving the evolution across the pharmaceutical value chain,” said Goswami. “To avail themselves of the opportunities for growth, vendors will need to rely on strategic commercial engagements and R&D alliances, along with developing proprietary and patented technology as per patient needs.”

Frost & Sullivan’s recent intelligence, Digital Transformation In Pharmaceuticals Industry, 2018, Companies-To-Action, provides a detailed analysis of the key digital enablers, such as artificial intelligence, big data, IoT, and blockchain that are bringing digital continuity across smart R&D, flexible manufacturing, connected patients, and digital pharmacy.

Disruptive innovations driving growth within the pharmaceuticals industry include:

  • Application of AI and big-data analytics, by companies such as Benevolent AI and Exscientia, to crunch through structured and unstructured data is expected to improve drug discovery success rates.
  • Virtualisation of clinical trials, by Science 37 and Transparency Life Science, by using cloud and mobile-based models transforming trials methodologies and reducing timelines and errors.
  • Application of IoT models and blockchain-based methodologies in operations and supply chains will reduce inefficiencies and improve functional visibility, as provided by Elemental Machines and iSolve.
  • Novel e-commerce, digitally-enabled pharmacies such as PillPack, and distribution models will reduce costs and improve access to novel treatments.
  • Improved patient connect using AI-enabled patient focused mobile apps as well as use of big-data analytics to improve patient care and drug adherence as provided by companies such as Proteus Digital Health and uMotif.
  • Using mergers and acquisitions to build life science digital capabilities, for example, Roche’s acquisition of Flatiron.

Key takeaways

  • As healthcare is becoming increasingly democratised, patients are emerging as key decision makers.
  • Companies are offering solutions that apply technologies to build digital convergence across the pharmaceutical value chain.