In the last decade, biopharma has experienced extensive innovation-driven transformation. The pace of change was particularly accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, spanning the entire ecosystem from drug discovery to development to patient journeys. With the introduction of metaverse technologies, biopharma can continue to create robust, meaningful experiences for all stakeholders.
In this Technology Vision, we explore how today’s technology innovations are the building blocks of our future. The trends investigate the entire continuum, from the virtual to the physical, across patients and machines alike. They identify where ambitious companies can find rich opportunities by uprooting themselves from today and planting themselves firmly in the future.
Trend 1: WebMe
WebMe explores how the internet is being reimagined. The Metaverse Continuum and Web3 innovations are transforming biopharma from the bottom up. The transformation they can bring to clinical trial participation, HCP collaboration, supply chain and manufacturing are limitless all while creating new marketing opportunities.
of biopharma executives said that the realization of Web3 over the next decade will fundamentally change how businesses engage with users online.
A holistic talent strategy, that includes development and retention, is a critical component to reap the full potential from the metaverse. Biopharma companies should explore upskilling existing employees through vendor-based training and build familiarity and skills with the metaverse and Web3 platforms they intend to use.
Trend 2: Programmable World
Disruptive technologies like extended reality (XR) and 5G will challenge existing business models in biopharma by providing targeted, accurate solutions that go beyond two-dimensional technologies.
of biopharma executives believe that programming the physical environment will emerge as a competitive differentiation in their industry.
With the metaverse as a foundation, automation and cloud computing could enable virtual, global gatherings in meta-labs to conduct experiments, share real-time insights and lab instruments, and conduct impact analysis across geographical locations and time zones.
The biopharma industry stands to gain many benefits from the use of synthetic data: faster, better trials, enhanced pharmacoepidemiology, more ambitious cross-border research, eased patient burden and reduction in cost. Synthetic data is very handy in the context of costly, time-intensive clinical trials in fields like oncology.
of biopharma executives report concern over deepfakes and/or disinformation attacks.
At the same time, there is a growing concern about authenticity, deepfakes and disinformation attacks. Biopharma companies can use AI to detect fraudulent claims and assess member risk by visually mapping patients, providers, pharmacies and claims to groups of claims that indicate unusual behavior.
Trend 4: Computing the Impossible
Computational power has the potential to significantly accelerate, enhance the quality, and reduce the costs of data-rich R&D processes. In addition, increasing computing power will enable AI’s application to drug discovery, translating complex biological problems into computational ones.
of biopharma executives say that their organization is pivoting in response to the unprecedented computational power that is becoming available.
At the same time, we are beginning to see the real fusion between biology and machines – where machines don’t just mimic biological operations, but directly leverage biological processes. This could become the dominant data technology—and it would likely be made by life sciences companies rather than technology giants.
Given its importance to the welfare of all humanity, we must seize the Metaverse Continuum opportunity to ensure that it is developed with responsibility at the core.
Where should you begin?
While much of this technology is still in the early adopter phase, there are signals that the future world will bring us closer to meeting the unmet needs of patients, employees and HCPs in previously unimagined ways.
It will be about putting humanity at the core by designing better experiences for improved outcomes for our patients, improving the HCP experience and having better and more resilient supply chains.
Who better than the biopharma industry to appreciate that they must manage the risks carefully? Leaders are not just pioneering new digital future, but a new future for human and enterprise interaction, and many of the rules remain undefined. It is critical that biopharma companies take steps to proactively, and responsibly, shape the Metaverse Continuum.