Pharma 2.0 and the need for Process Innovation

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I read an article by Stephanie Sutton, PharmaTech Europe entitled The Pharma 2.0 Trend for 2010. The article summarizes how the industry will remain status quo for 2010 based on Ovum’s industry report. “The trend for slow growth will continue, and cutting costs and reducing time–to-market will remain a priority, particularly with the impending patent cliff in 2011.” If the Pharma industry remains the same how will personalized medicine come about? We know that the pending healthcare reform will influence the industry. How much of a change remains to be seen.

In a previous blog I expressed the need for ‘process innovation’ and in this article it describes how IT and technology solutions must connect knowledge between departments and global organizations if we are to achieve the new model for healthcare. The term Pharma 2.0 refers to the new business model when the industry moves to personalized medicine or some form of ‘targeted treatments.’ I like how Ovum describes Pharma 2.0 as “leaner, globalized entity whose increased scale is achieved ‘virtually’ rather than through accretion.” To me accretion seems to be an interesting word and according to Dictionary.com “the growing together of separate parts into a single whole.”

There is ample data that indicates the current Pharma R&D model to bring new products to market is inefficient. Something we all know. Within these organizations the adoption of ERP has been an example (if done correctly) of how business processes can be streamlined and data collected in order to run a global business. This covers Manufacturing/Operations, Service, and Sales and Marketing. I see ‘process innovation’ being applied to the R&D side of Pharma. As new technology is introduced there must be an awareness of the role that IT plays in supporting the business process, and improving how data is collected and made available for decision making. Unlike ERP where there are vendors and service providers that have helped to put this in place on the business end of Pharma. There does not appear to be ‘one’ vendor for the R&D side. So the challenge is how to ‘connect’ these technologies together, when you have software-as-a service (SaaS) or ‘on demand’ applications alongside the traditional enterprise solutions or ‘on premise’ applications. This is the challenge we face as we go into 2010. I see this as an opportunity for IT to be the catalyst to help the industry transform into the Pharma 2.0 business model.

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