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Pharma’s Illness Requires Digital Treatment

by Michael Shanler  |  July 31, 2014  |  Comments Off on Pharma’s Illness Requires Digital Treatment

The Pharma industry is sick.  The “patent cliff” has taken a serious toll as more drugs go generic.   R&D productivity is down as an aggregate across the entire sector.  Execs have been forced to excise the fat in continued efforts to lean operations (with diminishing returns).  However, staffing has been cut to the bone with a battle axe, not a scalpel.  The R&D nerve center has been flattened, requiring extreme levels of collaboration, but the synaptic signals are short circuited by antiquated business process, legacy architecture, and serious skills gaps.  Brands in China have seen so much trauma, the industry needs to redefine how to do business.

The prescription for recovery is no longer about selling drugs. It is about putting patients at the center, running smarter clinical trials, and developing new ecosystems and partnerships for health.

A digital strategy is the most significant part of the new regimen.  In fact, those pharma groups that leverage new data sources to better understand disease, explore experimental therapies, and create new value streams along digital lines will remain healthy and even have a chance to thrive.   Fortunately, some companies have started to embark on their digital strategies.  The ones that execute will be the fortunate few to define the future of the industry.  These companies will turn into the industry leaders.  Over the long haul, the rest will be relegated to followers…. and will likely see a lower rate of return investments to their pipelines.

Over the last year, we’ve taken a lot of calls that deal with digitalization strategies – across research, development, quality, manufacturing, sales, marketing, and operations.  This year’s Life Science Hype Cycle 2014 was updated with a few technologies to help those with digital strategies and for prioritizing those IT investments.   The 2014 Hype Cycle for Life Sciences is now available to clients on

Additional Resources

Predicts 2019: Data and Analytics Strategy

Data and analytics are the key accelerants of digitalization, transformation and “ContinuousNext” efforts. As a result, data and analytics leaders will be counted upon to affect corporate strategy and value, change management, business ethics, and execution performance.

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Category: clinical-development  ctms  data-and-analytics-strategies  eclinical  edc  epro  innovation  internet-of-everything  internet-of-things  iot  manufacturing  nexus-of-forces  nof  pharmaceutical  product-development  rd  science  wearables  

Michael Shanler
Research VP
5 years at Gartner

Michael Shanler covers life science R&D technologies. Read Full Bio

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