Magazine Article | January 29, 2015

What Are The Top BioPharma Trends To Watch In 2015?

Source: Life Science Leader
Rob Wright author page

By Rob Wright, Chief Editor, Life Science Leader
Follow Me On Twitter @RfwrightLSL

Prior to the end of 2014, we sent an email to every member of Life Science Leader ’s (LSL’s) editorial advisory board (EAB) listed on p. 8. In addition to thanking them for their service and making sure they were getting value from participating, we sought their insights. Specifically, we asked each to please provide a bulleted list of the top three trends, topics, issues, or people LSL should be covering in 2015. While the responses were as diverse as EAB member backgrounds, some common themes did emerge, starting with globalization.

One EAB member wrote, “All the attention on Ebola has served as a long-overdue wake-up call for other global health crises.” While an Ebola epidemic in the U.S. remains highly unlikely, the cost of containment is not free. It took Nina Pham, the Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for the first U.S. person to have the virus, 13 days in the hospital and an estimated $110,000 to get her a clean bill of health. Experimental medications or care in specialized biocontainment facilities could easily push Ebola treatments in excess of half a $1 million per victim. In a global economy, applying first-world isolationist thinking to global health problems will eventually result in what were once perceived as third-world nuisances (i.e., Ebola) eventually becoming major second- and first-world problems — with dire ethical and economic consequences.

In addition to the economic impact of global health (or lack thereof), other trends highlighted as being global in scope include clinical trials, partnering and funding innovation, aging manufacturing facilities and their impact on drug shortages, supply chain risk mapping, the continued shift toward biologic drug development, and the impact biosimilars will have on biologic innovation. While not all are addressed in this issue, you can find insights on conducting clinical trials in Eastern Europe (p. 42); what Ireland is doing to facilitate partnering, innovation, and training (p. 44); as well as an in-depth analysis of the global biosimilars market (p. 40).

Other topics of interest to the EAB include personalized medicine, Big Data, the biotech IPO boom, expanded access and compassionate use, the coming of age of exon skipping, the melding of branded and generic businesses, and patient empowerment — which seems to be a new spin on “patient-centric.” Eli Lilly’s chief medical officer, Tim Garnett, provides some personalized medicine insights (p. 8), and financial expert, Dennis Purcell, gives his take on how the recent biotech IPO activity has led to a new era of interdependence (p. 32).

However, by far, drug pricing and reimbursement were the two biggest trends EAB members stressed for us to pay attention to in 2015. While John LaMattina shares his thoughts on the former (p. 8), with regard to the latter, look to this month’s cover feature. Jim Robinson, president of Astellas Pharma US, shares how his company is leveraging commercial insights (e.g., conducting insurance reimbursement assessment during early drug development) to help make its science more sustainable (p.20).

We are grateful for having such a highly engaged EAB. And while we appreciate their ongoing input, some of the best industry intelligence often comes from you, our readers. Rather than waiting to get an email from us seeking your suggestions, why not take a more proactive approach? The best way for LSL to provide you with the content you want is for you to tell us what content you need.