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Growing social and political pressures combined with disruptive technologies and scientific innovation are changing the way pharma companies do business. 
In their mission to address unmet medical need and deliver differentiated products, pharma companies and other players in the sector are adapting their business models to deliver increased value. Three forces are converging to drive this change:
  • Personalised Healthcare - the personalisation of healthcare either to a specific individual or a group of patients
  • Precision medicine  - a medicine designed to be of optimised efficiency or therapeutic benefit for a specific individual or a group of patients
  • Smart Healthcare - use of technology to improve healthcare delivery or quality of life

Technological advancement underpins these forces,  with pharma companies increasingly partnering with non-traditional players such as tech giants and agile start-ups. As business leaders embark on this journey and look to capitalise on new opportunities, we explore some of the legal and commercial issues arising as pharma enters its most transformative era.

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Tech Advances Trigger Transformation For Pharma

This article first appeared in SCRIP Pharma Intelligence.

As the costs of bringing drugs to market continue to rise and pricing pressure bites, pharma is looking for new ways to create value and drive efficiencies, including partnering with tech giants and agile start-ups to create technology solutions that lead to improved and diversified revenue streams. In doing so, pharma companies must self-disrupt to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive and demanding market. In this article we further explore how Artificial intelligence (AI) is being used across sectors to improve business processes and drive efficiencies with Pharma being no exception.

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Rethinking intellectual property in an era of personalised health

The traditional business model of the pharmaceutical industry has long relied heavily on intellectual property, and particularly patents, to protect the significant investments required to bring any new drug to market. At its heart, it's a simple proposition: develop a new drug, formulation or use of a drug; secure patent protection; supply to patients around the world; recover the investment on R&D during the period of exclusivity provided by the patent. 
However, the new health paradigm of personalised health makes things just a bit more complicated when it comes to IP, as we discuss in this article. 

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Unlocking the Pharma Blockchain

Originally devised for the digital currency Bitcoin, the blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) revolution has expanded to other industries. 
Coupled with innovative technologies such as sensor devices and smart contracts, DLT has the potential to positively disrupt every stage of the pharmaceutical lifecycle enabling a truly patient-centric and transparent approach to achieve personalised health.

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Investing in personalised health in China

Personalised healthcare is reshaping the pharmaceutical industry on a global scale. China, in particular, is embracing this change with its Healthy China 2030 strategy and its drive to reform the medical and healthcare landscapes. Investments reflecting the core principles of the strategy and which facilitate the implementation of personalised healthcare are likely to be met favourably. However, regulatory reform also needs to align to this desire. In this article we explore what the key factors are that should be front of mind for business leaders and foreign investors in the sector in China.

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Recruitment and protection of talent: a boardroom issue for pharma

Technological advancement is key amongst the forces driving change in the pharmaceutical healthcare sectors, with businesses increasingly partnering with non-traditional players such as tech giants, agile biotech start-ups and insurers. In this article we explore how the industry's increasing focus on tech, including AI, will give rise to a corresponding need to find innovative solutions to attract, retain and incentivise talent experienced in those areas, given the relatively small and highly mobile pool of potential recruits. We also consider the scope for businesses to protect their valuable knowhow and intellectual property from potential threats from ex-employees. Given the critical importance of talent to the pharma industry, we highlight issues that should be factored into strategic decision-making by the board, influencing choices on collaboration, acquisition and business location.

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Personalised health and cyber security

Personalised health offers great hope for ground-breaking treatments of serious diseases and for early diagnosis and intervention. The ability to sequence a patient’s genes at low cost and then use artificial intelligence (AI) to interrogate this data with other phenotypical data will facilitate individualised care and revolutionise healthcare. With this great promise of data-driven healthcare comes a real risk of cyber-attacks and significant data breaches. The ever-increasing frequency and sophistication of such attacks and the impact of breaches means that great care is needed to ensure that robust security protections are in place over the systems used for the collection and processing of the required data.

In this article we discuss the exacting and differing requirements of cyber security laws across the world, particularly those in the European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which need to be complied with by those holding and processing data.

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