Volume 4 Issue 1, January 3, 2017
2016 was a transitional year for Life Sciences, Pharma, and Biotech. Worldwide political changes upset long-standing systems that provided stability for the sector. At the same time, disruptive innovation weakened the power of huge companies to dominate these industry sectors.
Despite these challenges, so many technologies are reaching the proverbial "critical mass" that we expect 2017 will be truly transformative. Here are 11 reasons that healthcare will change in 2017 - possibly forever:
1. Smaller Target Markets: Patent expirations combined with new technology will allow the Pharma and Biotech sectors to focus on smaller markets offering higher value with highly specific treatments that affect only a certain part of the population.
2. Personalized Medicine: This new Pharma and Biotech approach will enable patients to receive therapy customized to the individual patient's needs by diagnostics companies, vastly reducing the costs of failed treatments.
3. New Gene Therapies: The application of gene therapies with the latest cutting-edge scientific techniques, therefore more accuracy and effectivity of treatments, such as CAR-T, will generate huge equity investments by major funds.
4. Big Data: The healthcare IT sector will experience a boost in investments in 2017 for projects that analyze Big Data to identify patient profiles, increase diagnostic accuracy, and thus reduce general costs.
5. Outsourced Research: Pharma/Biotech firms will continue to outsource increasing amounts of R+D to CRO companies to reduce costs and focus their own efforts on their own core competences.
6. CRO Breakthroughs: CROs are innovating recruitment of the right "patients" using digital methods and patient models and Big Data. This allows them to test new drugs on millions of "people" without testing drugs on actual living humans.
7. 3D Printing: The first 3D printed drug, Spritam (for use in epilepsy) has already been approved by the FDA. If this technology spreads from big plants to pharmacies, it would dramatically reduce costs and create new supply chains.
8. DIY Biotech: While 3D Printing is not appropriate for every drug (especially cell-based treatments), the convenience of the technology might prompt patients to, in effect, start their own Biotech companies to treat their own conditions.
9. Artificial Intelligence: If the promise of AI is ever fulfilled, it would revolutionize how patient adherence is measured, along with evolution and progress to treatments, making it easier for pharma to test new drugs and medical devices on new patients.
10. Advanced Robotics: Robots that simulate human physiology could replace hundreds of human trials, speeding the discovery of new treatments and reducing the astronomic costs of bringing a new drug to market.
11. More M+A Activity: The need to maintain a consistent and solid financial pipeline during all these changes will sharply increase M+A transactions.
After receiving her MBA from IE business school and a PhD in nanomedicine from Groningen University in Holland, Teresa became the head of the US office for Venture Valuation, where the global team evaluated healthcare companies facing a fundraising event, licensing deals, or an M+A transaction. She was also the CEO and co-founder of Ambiox Biotech (application of dendrimer nanotechnology for antiviral treatment). She regularly speaks at healthcare conferences in the Pharma/Biotech/Medtech/CRO sectors. She has co-authored two patents in nanotechnology and drug delivery and she was awarded the 2011 MIT TR35 Innovator of the Year award by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Teresa was honored to be among the top 100 women leaders in Spain in the entrepreneurial and innovative category for two consecutive years in 2012 and 2013. In addition, she was selected as Woman of the Year by the magazine Scientific Entrepreneurial Woman Today.