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Maintaining Global Visibility by Adopting Digital Technologies

By Katie Hayes, LS Product Marketing Manager

The Future of Artificial Intelligence in Life Sciences

Within the past year, the life sciences industry has navigated a number of regulatory and market access changes that will reverberate for years to come. For instance, health technology assessment (HTA) adoption by major markets, such as Japan, along with responding to regulatory challenges brought on by Brexit have required manufacturers to prepare for various market access scenarios.

Additionally, the push for expended healthcare coverage in the Philippines—which will both improve patient access and prompt health technology assessment adoption—may prove especially lucrative for those companies operating in the Philippines. And in India, their new National Health Policy promotes preventive healthcare, introduces interventions to address malnutrition, and includes plans for universal immunization, among other objectives that will be mutually beneficial to the 1.3 billion people in India as well as for life sciences companies (For more details, read our 2017 recap blog).

With these profound changes to the industry—and more expected—companies must adopt digital technologies in order to remain successful and maintain global visibility. That said, in life sciences, digital technologies remain somewhat of an enigma. However, occasional peeks through an opaque veil of information on this subject leave one with certainty that there is still significant room for improvement. Especially at the time when technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and cybersecurity are maturing and are set to result in a profound disruption of the industry.

While there are a variety of digital technologies that can be beneficial in life sciences, AI can mitigate the complex research and development process and significantly improve pharmacovigilance, as well as improve patient’s access. Many pharma manufacturers have already partnered with AI startups to take advantage of this emerging technology.

For example, AstraZeneca’s partnership with Alibaba, announced earlier this year, aims to connect the right patient with the right drug using AI. Other companies, like GlaxoSmithKline, have built an in-house AI unit to reduce costs and accelerate the time it takes from identifying the target to clinical testing. With AI capabilities, GSK anticipates reducing the normal drug discovery time from five years to just one year.

Clearly, there’s vast AI potential in the industry, as evidenced by many companies investing their resources in this area. However, the lack of necessary technology experience and in-house talent severely limits LS companies on the quest to reach its full potential. PwC’s 2018 annual report states that, “although three-quarters of health executives plan to invest in AI in the next three years, many lack the ability to implement it.” Moreover, only “20% of survey respondents said they had the technology to succeed with AI.” For the industry’s continued success, companies must engage in the digital conversation and seek partnerships with vendors which have the LS-specific subject matter expertise.

Model N recently introduced RainmakerDX, Model N’s innovation forum, where we collaborate with our customers to jointly explore digital technology solutions and provide another way to address common challenges. We invite our customers to submit their innovative ideas to our steering committee so that we can begin disrupting the industry together.

Investing time and financial resources into new technologies can be risky—and even with RainmakerDX, there’s a risk that our customer’s innovative ideas will not come to fruition. However, the lack of a wide pool of experts for hire leaves collaborating with a trusted partner as the best alternative for life sciences companies. Digitization is the future for the industry and companies must either reinvent their digital activities or face possible cessation. Besides, as McKinsey aptly states, “Ultimately, the value of AI is not to be found in the models themselves, but in companies’ abilities to harness them.”

Join us in Stresa, Lake Maggiore, Italy for our Commercial and Pricing Innovation Forum, June 12-14 to learn how digital transformation is changing the pricing discussion in a keynote presentation with Andrew Ballantyne, Global Price Implementation Director, Europe, at AstraZeneca. Don’t miss a chance to learn how global market access is being transformed by your peers through digital technologies in a presentation by Voytech Sudol, Director, Life Sciences Product Marketing at Model N.

Sources: McKinsey, PwC, Gartner, Torreya

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