In 2018, life sciences companies will need to embrace change and uncertainty. To adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, they will need to build forward-looking organisation and establish new collaborative ways of working. This is according to Deloitte Global’s 2018 Global Life Sciences Outlook: Innovating Life Sciences in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Embrace, Build, Grow.

“The life sciences sector is experiencing quite a bit of disruption and it’s creating transformative opportunities that should be embraced in the near term. The organisation that effectively manage this type of change will be better prepared to improve profitability and stay competitive,” said Greg Reh, Deloitte Global & US Life Sciences Sector Leader. “The life sciences sector will need leaders that think outside the current system and drive fast, focused innovation.”

The advancement of innovative technologies has offered life sciences companies with opportunities to reimagine their business and become more agile. “In Southeast Asia, cloud, cognitive tools, artificial intelligence, and robotics are being pursued across the value chain of life sciences companies, which are leading to R&D efficiency, manufacturing productivity enhancements and patient centricity. Increasingly, life sciences organisations are also moving towards innovation centres to acquire new capabilities and better meet Asia’s healthcare needs,” commented Mohit Grover, Deloitte Southeast Asia’s Life Sciences and Health Care Industry Leader.

Embracing change and uncertainity

  • Exponential changes in technology: Artificial intelligence (AI), cognitive technologies, automation and computing power are advancing at an accelerating rate. From improving drug safety and patient outcomes to shortening production times and increasing process efficiencies, technology is disrupting the life sciences industry and allowing companies to provide more custom and targeted patient care.
  • Uncertainty coming from pricing pressures, value-based contracting, the geopolitical climate and tax reforms: Pricing, along with securing market access, is expected to continue to be a top priority for life sciences companies in 2018. Value in the eyes of patients and payers is expected to increasingly drive pricing, not simply cover R&D expenses. Also, tax reforms globally will create incentives and disincentives for the life sciences industry and impact future investments. In an era of geopolitical uncertainty, the impact on pharmaceutical companies is still being assessed.

Building forward-looking organisation

  • Future of Work: The future of work will be more networked, devolved, mobile, collaborative, team-based, project-based, and fluid. Organisation need to adapt to new leadership mindsets, work built around technology, a skills-based economy, the evolution of a new AI, and a focus on mission, values and ethics. Informed leaders of the future will recognize these forces of change, how work is being redefined, and the implications for individuals, organisation and public policy.
  • An ethics-driven culture focused on safety and security: This will be a massive focus of regulators in the next few years. Regulators expect the life sciences sector to be proactive, rather than just react to inquiries or defend themselves. Forward-thinkers will need to anticipate and build the kind of AIinfused world we want to live in, while focusing on security by design and migitating cyber security risks.
  • Data integrity, making data reusable and accessible across silos: The biggest road block to future innovation is everyone working in a very siloed manner. Companies need to create a working environment that values data integrity. As companies move away from silos and start to achieve data integrity, big data and analytics will help unlock the potential of disparate sources of data. Increasingly, data will better serve decision making at the enterprise level and provide a better understanding of emerging risks.
  • Patient trust and centricity: To become more digitally-enabled and patientcentric, life sciences companies are using a range of strategies, including patientcentric corporate culture, collaborative healthcare ecosystem and digital partnerships among others. Organisation are looking to engage patients earlier to better understand unmet needs impacting trial design, patient recruitment and resilience. Products and services that better meet patient needs and improve treatment regimens will receive higher acceptance by payers, providers and regulators.
  • A smart, cross-functional regualtory approach: As regulation timelines fluctuate, all stakeholders will need to continually evaluate the individual and collective impacts of new regulations and take a proactive approach to managing regulatory change. With regulations becoming more global, companies are moving towards self-regulation and a culture of quality. Everyone’s goal is to make processes much simpler, and companies are starting to align their regulatory groups to accelerate the process.

Growing through partnerships and new operating models

  • Alliances and Partnerships: Over the next few years, alliances will become more important for accessing external expertise and technology. New collaborations and partnerships will be established where the best scientific or technological fit can be achieved. New Operating Models: Establishing collaborative ways of working is high on the agenda for life sciences organisation, and will require breaking the constraints of the current system.

New operating models will welcome diverse and collaborative efforts from a cross-sector of industries, public and private collaborations, and alliances between nonprofit and for-profit organisation. Companies will want to adopt new capabilities to support external partnerships and collaborations with health systems, patient advocacy groups, and other data aggregators.