The year of digital health disrupting pharma

February 10, 2017
From the January 2017 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Emerging technologies
Emerging technology is leading radical change in the pharmaceutical industry. Microchip modeling within clinical trials, 3-D and 4-D anatomical printing and other sophisticated new and emerging technologies are expected to have the potential to disrupt the current research paradigm. Advanced technologies will change the R&D paradigm not only by reaching new heights in the labs and clinics of the developed world, but also by bringing them into the developing world much sooner.

There is a fundamental shift in the way new drug candidates are tested, made possible by new technologies, ranging from organs-on-chips to 3-D tissue modeling, to microinjections directly into tumors. These new technologies are already making it possible to enable direct study of drug efficacy in the only context that matters: the human patient, without exposing patients to systemic toxicities. This will be a game-changer, particularly for cancer drug development. Currently, cancer drug efficacy observed in translational preclinical models translates poorly to treatment in humans: nine out of 10 drugs that work in preclinical models don’t show efficacy in late-stage trials and don’t make it to the market. Technologies that enable multi-drug studies without inducing systemic toxicities will release drug developers from the confines of poorly predictive preclinical models for human diseases.

Most of the health innovations are coming from the technology sector rather than the health care sector. Infusing health care market expertise into the technological development process is critical not only for acceptance of these technologies, but also essential for innovations that add immediate, real value to patient care. In clinical research, regulators are now placing greater weight on patient-reported outcomes and patient experience, an area that’s ripe for a technology disruption.

About the author: Bipin Thomas is a renowned global thought-leader on consumer-centric health care transformation. Thomas is a board member of DOTmed HealthCare Business News magazine and strategic advisor to HealthTap. Thomas is a senior executive at Flex, where he is launching new business models by connecting all stakeholders in the emerging health care ecosystem. Thomas is a former senior executive at Accenture and UST Global, where he implemented strategic digital initiatives across the care continuum including providers, payers, medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical and life sciences, federal and state health agencies.

Back to HCB News

You Must Be Logged In To Post A Comment