Breaking barriers: Navigating technology trends to mitigate pharma challenges | HCLTech

Breaking barriers: Navigating technology trends to mitigate pharma challenges

In-depth exploration of transformative technologies shaping the pharmaceutical landscape
6 minutes read
Anil Joshi
Anil Joshi
VP and Europe & UK Head, LSH
6 minutes read
Breaking barriers: Navigating technology trends to mitigate pharma challenges

In the age of technological progress, the pharmaceutical industry stands as a pioneer in innovation. The pharma industry is predicted to spend over $4.5 billion on digital transformation by 2030, growing by CAGR of 27%. This blog delves into industry 4.0 trends and how they are shaping the pharmaceutical landscape.

In the pharmaceutical drug development ecosystem, a harmonious symphony of cutting-edge technologies is reshaping the entire drug development continuum. Artificial Intelligence (AI) takes center stage, leveraging literature analysis and predictive modeling to streamline preclinical phases, potentially slashing drug discovery costs by up to 70%. This transformative journey is complemented by the power of data analytics, seamlessly integrating historical and real-world data (RWD) for predictive, diagnostic, prescriptive and descriptive insights.

Extended Reality (XR) propels drug discovery forward, expediting processes through virtual screening and simulations that enable molecule visualization and manipulation. Quantum computing, leveraging quantum phenomena like super-positioning, accelerate complex biomedical simulations and revolutionize R&D, with 80% of life science organizations predicting a commercial impact within the next decade.  

The biotech industry has been a disruptive force in the pharmaceutical sector. Globally, the biotech market was worth about $1 trillion as of 2021, and it's expected to grow at a CAGR of 14% over the next eight years. Personalized medicines, fueled by biomarker identification for chronic illnesses, spearhead this transformative wave. Other emerging areas include bioprinting, tissue engineering and drug platforms expediting new medicine development by building on proven platforms for improved safety profiles.

The integration of CRISPR technology accelerates diagnostics, fostering affordability and accessibility. In tandem, the advent of organ-on-a-chip (OoC) technology introduces a microfluidic marvel replicating human tissues and organ structures, significantly enhancing preclinical testing by providing accurate predictive models, ultimately reducing R&D costs by a substantial 10–26%. This intricate tapestry of AI, data analytics, XR, quantum computing and organ-on-a-chip is poised to redefine pharmaceutical R&D.

As innovations unfold in the R&D phase, their journey seamlessly transitions into the complex realm of clinical trials, where the integration of cutting-edge technologies aims to optimize operations and foster patient-centric trials. The paradigm shift toward decentralization in clinical trials, expected to reach 50% by 2024, breaks down geographical barriers, expanding trial reach and diversifying demographics. The rapid adoption of MedTech, eClinical and mHealth systems has digitalized clinical trial operations, utilizing technologies like ePRO, eCOA, wearables, eConsent and Telehealth, thereby removing barriers between researchers and participants.

The global mHealth market, valued at $63 billion in 2023, is projected to grow at a CAGR of 11% from 2024 to 2030. AI and ML play pivotal roles in optimizing costs and streamlining clinical trial stages, encompassing tasks such as creating control groups through digital twins, leveraging deep learning scans for rapid pre-screening, and implementing automated processes. Notably, a Deloitte survey reveals that 76% of respondents are currently investing in AI for clinical development. The enormous influx of data, particularly Real-world Data (RWD) and Real-World Evidence (RWE), plays a crucial role in enhancing predictive modelling of biological processes and drug responses. Emphasizing the seamless integration of diverse technologies, from decentralized trial models to advanced AI applications, in revolutionizing and humanizing the clinical trial landscape.

Navigating the intricate landscape of clinical trials propels the pharmaceutical industry into the dynamic sphere of manufacturing, where a wave of innovations is reshaping the production of medicines. Industrial IoT (IIoT) integrates interconnected sensors and devices, providing real-time data and connectivity for remote monitoring and control of operations, leveraging over 10 billion connected devices today, expected to grow to 22 billion by 2025. The advent of 5G technology further accelerates connectivity, enabling manufacturers to deploy IoT devices for real-time monitoring and control with high-speed data transmission capabilities.

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AI emerges as a pivotal player, spanning inventory management, supply chain visibility, cost reduction, quality control and predictive maintenance, offering actionable insights from vast datasets. Digital twins play a crucial role in enhancing supply chain visibility, identifying patterns and bolstering resilience, with the market projected to grow at a CAGR of 37.5% from 2023 to 2030. The convergence of Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) transforms operations, optimizing processes through real-time data exchange, automation and analytics, fostering agile production and swift responses to industry changes.

According to IBM, 77% of pharmaceutical manufacturers plan to manage IT and OT cyber risk together within three years. With these advancements in manufacturing tech, including AI/ML, IIoT, Digital twins; alongside systems like MES, QMS and ERP producing substantial data, highlight the crucial role of interoperability in the manufacturing ecosystem to ensure effective communication and accurate data exchange, reducing errors in manufacturing. Each of these highlights the industry's dedication to innovation, efficiency and competitiveness within the manufacturing landscape.

Stay tuned, as the next article in this series will explore a spectrum of innovative HCLTech solutions that address these challenges head-on and embrace the shift toward Industry NeXT.

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