Although digitization has influenced almost every modern-day industry, when it comes to the life sciences industry, recent developments and trends prove that digitization is not the only thing to have an influence on it. Explained below are some of the most recent trends in life sciences.
Revolutionizing Gene Therapy
For years, gene therapy has been considered the holy grail of research and has become a reality in recent years. In August 2017, BioMarin Pharmaceuticals opened a new manufacturing facility in Novato, California, to manufacture BMN 270, a treatment for the treatment of hemophilia A. It has been described as the first and largest manufacturing facility of genes in the world. Clinical trials on the BMN 270 are still in progress, with results so far positive. This modernizing is the most promising among all the recent trends in life sciences.
AI and Machine Learning
Biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are increasingly turning to data science, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to provide new information on drug development. In August 2018, Sensyne Health, a London-based health care company, launched an initial public offering (IPO) in London’s AIM market. The company uses artificial intelligence to analyze patient data from the UK National Health Service, looking for clinical information that can be commercially exploited by the pharmaceutical industry.
This is one of the most recent trends in life sciences and potentially the most interesting developments in biopharmacy. In short, our body hosts a wide range of microorganisms. More and more research shows that the composition of these populations plays an important role in our health. Consider Synlogic, a company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In April 2018, the company announced that it had administered to its first patient, its SYNB1020 medicine, for the treatment of hyperammonemia. This metabolic disorder is characterized by an excess of ammonia in the blood. SYNB1020 is a synthetic biotic, which is taken orally. It can act in the intestine to compensate for the dysfunctional metabolic pathway. In September, the company announced positive interim data on a group of healthy volunteers from its ongoing study on SYNB1618 in patients with phenylketonuria (PKU).
Looking Beyond The Pill
Of course, efforts in the biopharmaceutical field tend to be focused on developing the next small molecule or biological treatment. But a number of companies are looking to go beyond the pill for digital health products and wearable devices. For example, at the end of 2017, Eli Lilly announced its investments into the diabetes business, but not just insulin or analogs, but also insulin delivery devices. This has also attracted the attention of major technology companies. Apple launched into diabetes management and Google/Alphabet’s Verily is working to develop a portable contact lens that can read blood glucose levels in diabetic patients.
The personalization of medicine is perhaps one of the most recent trends in life sciences. It is about knowing enough about each patient’s genome to administer the most effective medications for that individual. This is particularly addressed in the field of oncology. Increasingly, anticancer drugs are focusing on subpopulations of cancers, generally recognized by specific biomarkers.