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The life sciences industry has been experiencing growth for over the last couple of years, and the latest 2018 Global Life Sciences Outlook Deloitte recently released suggests the growth will continue. We found much of the report intriguing and wanted to put together a list of our key takeaways.

You can read the entire report for yourself here.


Growth in Emerging Markets for Pharmaceuticals

Between 2011 and 2017, global pharmaceutical sales were relatively stagnant. However, after a boom in 2018, global sales are expected to grow at a rate of 6.5% per year through the year 2022. What’s causing the promising forecast? Growth from international markets.

Sales increased domestically in the United States, but international sales are currently the biggest driver of growth in pharmaceuticals. China will become the third-largest market for pharmaceutical sales, and 8 of the top 20 countries represent emerging markets. As sales continue to grow internationally, so too will the industry.

Given the strength of the Chinese market and the current regulatory environment there, one of our smaller pharmaceutical clients, in collaboration with a top 10 Big Pharma company, has decided to launch a first in class drug in China as the first market. This is the first time that a first in class drug will ever have been launched in China as the first market in the history of the industry.

Our client engaged us on a search for a Senior Director, Program Management and Commercialization who will be responsible for the leading the launch of this product in China. We were required to find a proven US life sciences leader with experience launching products in China and who speaks fluent Mandarin.  We delivered a full slate of candidates who fit this bill in a very short period of time, ultimately leading to a successful hire.


Advancing Patient Centricity

In the healthcare world, patient centricity is a trend gaining more and more momentum. Patient centricity focuses on designing care around the patient’s goals and desired outcomes. Within the life science industry, companies are striving to create innovative technologies enabling healthcare providers to deliver patient-centric care.

Different companies are creating various technologies that will aid patients, but some of the more notable developments are aiming to improve patient engagement, cost-effective diagnostic tools, personalized pharmaceuticals, collaborative software, and improving the information delivery system from provider to patient.

We have seen an increase in interest in patient-centricity and focus on patient outcomes from clients on many fronts. We recently completed a search for a Vice President of Patient Access and Engagement for a small rare disease client, which is one of the first commercial roles that they have filled in anticipation of the launch of their first product.

In addition, we are currently working on a search for an Executive Director, Patient Engagement for a major biopharmaceutical client.  The role of this large biopharma client will be responsible for reinventing the entire patient journey for their $5 billion flagship product.  This person will lead the integration of everything from patient awareness and DTC marketing, to patient assistance and adherence through patient access and reimbursement.  We are seeing this patient focus coming from the commercial side of our clients’ organizations.


Orphan Drug Approvals Are Up

Another trend the Deloitte study found within the pharmaceutical sector of life sciences was an increase in orphan drug approvals, as well as sales. Orphans drugs are drugs that are commercially underdeveloped due to limited potential for profitability. Orphan drugs are engineered and manufactured to treat an affected population of fewer than 200,000 people.

In 2017, the FDA approved a whopping 75 orphan drugs. Compared to only 27 approvals in 2016 and 56 in 2015, Deloitte projects for the orphan drug research and development to continue in the coming years.

We are currently working with several clients that are focused on developing products and services for patients with rare and orphan diseases. We have seen a significant amount of growth in the demand for talent in this space for the last several years, and it is continuing to grow with both small companies focused only on rare diseases as well as with larger clients adding orphan and rare diseases to their existing therapeutic areas.

In addition to the increase in job growth within the orphan and rare disease space, we also see a significant trend in the innovation that companies are using to approach these often-complex diseases, including innovations within Research, Development, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, etc.

One of our clients is the leader of the renowned CRISPR/Cas9 technology, which is a gene-editing tool that has revolutionized biomedical research.  In addition to client mentioned above that is launching a first in class product in China, two of our other current clients launched a first-in-class product within the last several years, including one that launched the first-ever antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) and another that launched one of the first two autologous T cell therapies with chimeric antigen receptors (CAR-T).


Tech Collaboration

The Deloitte study noted that continued collaboration between life science companies and tech companies is expected in the coming years. Initiatives from the partnerships include:

  • Optimizing patient treatment regimens
  • Tracking, managing, storing, and analyzing increasingly large amounts of data.
  • Improving internal data accessibility top enables patients to make more informed decisions with their care.

Another tech-related development in the life science industries is a push to optimize the supply chain. The standard, linear, and siloed supply-chain process has been long overdue for an overhaul, and through partnerships with tech firm efforts, changes are being made to enhance the process and reduce costs.


Marcus & Associates Life Science Recruitment

Looking for life science talent? Contact Marcus & Associates today.