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Winning in the hypercompetitive life sciences industry

Three actions to help you improve your flexibility and responsiveness.

Overview

We are entering into a state of hypercompetitiveness in the life sciences industry as competition becomes more intense for a share of market that is growing at a slower rate compared to its peak in 20141.

Many recent trends are contributing to this, including:

  • Strong sales numbers (a $300 billion worldwide market) but with operating margins at 11 of the top 16 pharmaceutical companies having fallen more than three percent over the last few years;

  • An acceleration of healthcare spending with the potential to cause instability in the economy;

  • A $65 billion gap between the predicted growth in pharma spend in developed markets and new molecular entity (NME) growth forecast (2014-19).

In this environment, three actions can help life sciences companies compete and improve their flexibility and responsiveness:

1. Be Value Driven

2. Extend Brainpower

3. Reshape Business Models

Action one

Be value-driven.

Life sciences companies have to be extremely focused in creating value for the entire healthcare system through both their products and services. In place of competition over drugs and treatment, a new competition has emerged for those who provide both value and remove some of the intermediary costs required for other treatments. This is becoming a reality in R&D, where the concept of a ”reimbursement dossier” is becoming as necessary as a clinical dossier.

This raises the question: What information about the economic value created can we include in our future labels?

Companies will need to begin to go after unmet needs based on science and also focusing on the economic value of their drug in a future marketplace that is extremely uncertain and price constrained. This could be achieved by providing additional services to assure compliance with a regime or surrounding the patient with support and monitoring to optimize the nutrition and lifestyle aspects that complement recovery.

Action two

Extend brainpower.

By increasing their use of analytics, life sciences companies have the potential to optimize drug development, clinical trials, commercial activities and the supply chain.

Companies can improve their business model by leveraging new analytics technologies to innovate upstream around detection and diagnostics, and also to create downstream services and tools that improve outcomes. By focusing on money-saving, value-creating measures that their customers care about, they can generate insights relevant to customers as a natural part of the R&D process, not as an afterthought.

Analytics and big data make-up two parts of a larger shift towards digital that offers the average top-25 pharmaceutical company $170 million in revenue upside and $190 million in cost reduction to be gained over the next five years in the US by digitizing its current operational and customer experience models according to our recent research report .

Action three

Reshape your business model.

Pharmaceutical companies can also have a role in the hypercompetitive marketplace by transforming current business models to be built on a foundation of delivering improved outcomes.

For example, winning companies may selectively apply new technology in R&D to shorten development cycles to generate stronger evidence faster and more efficiently. In commercial, leading companies would rally around the success of a patient during their entire journey instead of the success of a lone product.

In order to achieve these types of results, companies will need to turn to a new kind of leader: the Drug Hunter. Drug Hunters are employees with an entrepreneurial spirit, unique skillset and sufficient scientific knowledge to objectively identify product development opportunities against the unmet need in the market, payer appetite to reimburse, the FDA’s threshold for approval, and the market potential for commercial success.

Analysis

The life sciences industry has become hypercompetitive and the stakes are continually being raised. Companies are being both disrupted and stimulated by big data, analytics and other digital technologies to create new capabilities and business models. Winning will increasingly depend on having superior fact-based, real-world insights.  

Current deals and investments reflect diverging strategies of pharmaceutical leaders in this uncertain marketplace. Continued success in the life sciences industry will come from companies that welcome competition and have the ability and know-how to re-shape their business model as the industry evolves.


Authors

James Crowley
Managing Director – Strategy Life Sciences

Nick Davies
Managing Director – Strategy Life Sciences