There is no doubt that the global pharmaceutical industry is in the midst of a big transition. Significant scientific and technological advances are deemed to reinforce the growth of the industry and generate huge opportunities. As biology and technology becoming increasingly entwined, new opportunities take birth with an aim to improve healthcare. Here are some of the top opportunities that pharmaceutical companies can leverage to make the most of this new-age revolution.
1. Precision Medicine – Getting a Better Understanding of a Disease
Precision medicine is essentially an approach that makes use of clinical as well as molecular information for the purpose of understanding the biological basis of a disease better. Through a process known as genome sequencing, this information is provided by converting DNA into data. Researchers then make use of this information to identify very specific biomarkers and abnormalities within the gene to identify the most effective drug for specific types of patients. This approach also helps understand who is likely to experience severe side-effects among other things. Pharma companies can rely on this technology to develop targeted therapies and to repurpose already existing drugs.
2. mHealth Sensors for Enhanced Clinical Research
A growing number of pharma research companies are optimizing the use of mHealth technology for the purpose of conducting more comprehensive clinical research. Smartphones that offer powerful processors and advanced sensors are able to track movement, record information and take measurements to pursue post-market studies and enable patient participation in an easier manner. The more people are able to contribute to the data, the truer the representation and more powerful the results. In addition to smartphone devices, this technology also extends itself to wearable devices that come with accelerometers, GPS, and sensors that are able to take biometric readings.
3. 3D Printing of Drugs
Just recently, a popular epilepsy drug was in the news for being the first to be 3D printed and approved by the FDA. In this process, the printer is able to build the pill by spreading layers of the drug one on top of the other until it reaches the exact dosage required. This way, pharma companies are able to create pills that deliver higher doses of medicine, as much as 1000 mg, while also being porous enough so that is quickly dissolves. This is especially beneficial for patients who have trouble swallowing their medicines.
4. Nanotechnology – To Track Patient Compliance
The microscopic size of nanoparticles, they can easily travel around the human body via the blood stream. Usually composed of biological nano-machines, these particles have already shown significant success in delivering anti-cancer drugs and to minimize toxicity in the human body. Further advancements open doors for pharma companies or practitioners by allowing them to track the patient’s compliance to taking drugs. Nanobots consumed in the form of a pill is also believed to help destroy cancer cells or perform internal surgical tasks in the near future.
5. Artificial Intelligence to Detail Clinical Trial Outcomes
Taking into account the learning capabilities of computers, technologies such as IBM Watson offer significant opportunities to pharma companies who can rely on it to understand scientific papers, detail clinical trial outcomes and develop and evaluate medications and their efficacy. Companies can also rely on this technology to discover alternate indications of existing drugs, i.e., repurposing.