Meta Description: COVID-19 has changed everything in the world, including hi tech pharmaceuticals.
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How Did Pharma Tech Rise Amidst the Pandemic?
With any history making event, there are advances made because of it and the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. The pandemic has given rise to some rather impressive leaps in hi tech pharmaceuticals and has advanced pharma tech beyond what you might have expected pre-pandemic.
Highlighting Critical Factors in Research and Development
There have always been issues in the world of pharma tech that need to be resolved, but the pandemic really brought these to light. For example, risk management, supply chain, flex capacity, and inventory control are just a few of the areas that became essential as the world struggled to keep up with the needs of COVID-19 patients and produce not only medications and equipment necessary, but also create and provide a vaccine that would work.
It’s difficult to know just what the industry is capable of until it is actually faced with a situation like a world-wide pandemic. The pharma tech industry responded rapidly and efficiently. However, it became necessary to develop some new hi tech pharmaceuticals in response to the new challenges faced. Despite the new medical needs being processed, regular and pre-existing medications were also necessary. This meant continuing to produce the necessary medications and medical products that people have always needed, in addition to adjusting to the new normal.
Pre-existing roadblocks became even more impossible when faced with the restrictions that have become a part of everyday life. While that may seem like a problem, it was just the challenge the industry needed in order to create better methods of managing pharma tech. The end result was an increase in innovative ideas that not only work during a pandemic but make life easier all the time.
COVID-19 Boosts Digital Transformation
The pharmaceutical industry tends to be known for being rather conservative and taking its time to accept and implement new technology. However, with the advent of COVID-19, the industry was forced to speed everything up. The ideas that had been on the back burner were suddenly more relevant and the industry leapt forward.
Just how much was this transformation sped up? According to one survey, 35% of professionals in the pharma tech industry feel that the pandemic boosted digital transformation by over five years. Most others felt that the timeline had been increased by months, if not years. This means that ideas and technology that were expected to emerge in another five years or longer are already available and tested for use.
What does this increase in hi tech pharmaceuticals look like? What was once designed to take years has been crammed into just a few weeks, with the industry moving rapidly to accommodate the new restrictions. Lockdowns and other restrictions, including social distancing, meant there was a major change in how companies managed their businesses. Instead of doing business face to face, there was a shift toward digital therapeutics, distanced clinical trials, and other adjusted methods of producing the medications and pharma tech products that are required on a daily basis.
Face-to-face interactions dropped during the pandemic and 2020 saw a drastic increase in investments focused on disruptive and innovative tech. Over 30% of pharma tech professionals noted a significant increase in these investments. The ability to conduct relevant meetings, studies, and testing within the new regulations became the main focus overnight and the industry moved rapidly to embrace the chances. Outsourcing has become a key part of ensuring everything is produced as planned, even with limited personnel capacity in many areas.
What’s New in Hi Tech Pharmaceuticals
There are so many rapid advancements in pharma tech that it’s hard to stay on top of everything. Here are a few of the leaps that have been seen recently, as a result of the pandemic.
Artificial intelligence requires no social distancing and can be very helpful when there are reduced workers in the workplace. However, its biggest contribution right now is its use in discovering and developing new drugs. This is something that is relatively recent, but it has huge potential. The data collected from multiple patients is plugged into the AI system and the system then determines the most likely way to treat it with various components of the medication. Overall, AI makes it far simpler to identify eligible patients for trial and creates more efficient routines for developing medications.
Big data has also become very important in the world of medicine, but there’s so much data that analyzing it can be a massive job. More and more companies are using AI to sort the data and create better access to it. With real-time data, the pharma companies are able to predict upcoming needs in their patient database, as well as how to develop the medications those patients require. Not surprisingly, data scientists are becoming even more popular as more and more data is collected online in the hope of reducing social contact.
With the market changing constantly, there’s a new production method on the rise. Precision medicine, or providing medicine specifically for small groups of people or even individuals, depending on the situation, is becoming common. Production of small batches of precision medication is a better way to provide what people need.
Another area that is now seen more often is single-use tech. This is technology that saves time by eliminating the time-consuming and challenging steps of cleaning and validation. Single-use tech means it can be calibrated once and eliminated once it has completed its purpose. For example, Cellexus, in Scotland, creates single-use airlift bioreactor systems. It can be used once and uses bubbles to mix cells and nutrients, rather than a mechanical mixer, and incorporates disposable bioreactor bags, among other features.
Finally, blockchain technology is now being used to manage everything from production to distribution of drugs. This is due to the fact that there are fewer face-to-face interactions. The information must be sent back and forth frequently and it is also necessary to track medications from start to finish, to eliminate the chances of counterfeit medications being used.
All of these advancements have been sped up, thanks to the pandemic and the changes it has wrought on the world. Since there are already major changes afoot, it makes sense to take things a step further and ensure the technology is working for the better of all involved.