In April this year, three companies—US real estate investment company Harrison Street, UK real estate group Trinity Investment Management and Nottingham-based science business incubator BioCity—merged to create Britain’s largest life sciences ecosystem to strengthen R&D and drug discovery in the country. This merger would help bring together life sciences companies with potential partners, encourage technology transfer among academia, research institutions and the private sector. When lack of sufficient funds to develop new lab spaces appears to affect growth, investments such as this can help improve the scalability of businesses much faster. While it is a great way to develop such innovation hubs, these require intensive management and development of large networks establishing connections with pharma companies, government, researchers and academia. These initiatives can pave the way for the development and growth of successful life sciences companies.
Private and venture capital investments witnessed a significant uptick in 2020. There’s an increasing rise of start-ups and technology companies partnering with life sciences organisations to be a part of the life sciences ecosystem, growing their businesses with a common goal of developing drugs for achieving better medical outcomes. In the US, venture capital investment in life sciences hit a record US$17.8 billion and the National Institutes of Health’s funding in healthcare research and at academic institutions is also expected to grow. These investments fuel the rising need for life sciences, pharma companies to transform the way they run their businesses.
Innovation is at the core of life sciences companies. They are guided by the vision to improve patient outcomes with faster time to market while following regulatory guidelines and managing their costs. There is an accelerated need for digital transformation as the pandemic has brought about a world of change in life sciences and healthcare industries, specifically clinical trials, drug development and telemedicine. Digital has taken centre-stage with the lockdowns pushing for faster, safer and more effective clinical trials. At the same time, teleconsultations and virtual patient-physician interactions have become the need of the hour.
This requires the life sciences industry ecosystem to draw attention to continued collaboration to navigate through these challenging times. For life science ecosystems along with focusing on biological ecosystem, to sustain and thrive in today’s complex global environment, it is essential for pharma and medtech companies, governments and regulatory agencies to become inter-dependant and collaborate continuously. The more they focus on evolution and adaptation together, the more helpful it will be to deal with health challenges impacting the global population.
This issue covers an article that revolves around the need to consider the life sciences industry as an ecosystem. Brian Smith, the author, emphasises that this approach drives business thinking and helps address real-world challenges in the life sciences industry.