Pharma Focus Asia

NextGen Pharma Takes ‘Smart’ Strides with Internet of Things


Digitization of processes and data across the value chain along with the emergence of Internet of Things (IoT) has transformed the Pharma industry. Although IoT is still in the nascent stage of adoption in the Life Sciences industry, the use of smart devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication leveraging SMAC technologies comes at a time when the industry is grappling with patent cliffs and declining R&D productivity.

The early signs of IoT adoption are quite palpable with some technology giants introducing patient centricity-based mobility products that provide real-time health monitoring and reporting, health care professionals (HCP) scheduling, medication adherence, etc. Not only is IoT rapidly changing the patient experience, but also is making a dramatic difference in other areas of the industry such as R&D, clinical development and supply chain.


The Life Sciences industry had been more reactive than proactive in technology adoption, primarily because of tight regulations and domain complexities. But over the past few years, falling R&D productivity, increasing costs, compliance non-adherence, large number of patents expiring and increasing stakeholder expectations with respect to drug efficacy have put tremendous pressure on Pharma companies.

Some early adopters have already started exploring IoT to enable end-to-end digital integration across the value chain. IoT-based smart devices such as “Organ in a Chip,” which allows organizations to run real-life diagnostics scenarios, are already gaining traction. Clubbing the output from these devices with Big Data analytics and cognitive systems has the potential to provide unprecedented opportunity, thereby drastically improving hit rate and R&D productivity.

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