Transforming the Giants of Life Sciences


Transforming the Giants of Life Sciences

Artificial Intelligence optimized drug development, quantitative imaging-driven analytics of treatment responses and radiographic patient phenotyping will be some of the game changers for pharmaceutical R&D in 2019 and beyond.

It is no longer surprising to see these technologies being deployed for a variety of purposes, and in numerous combinations. What very exciting to is the transformations of life science companies.

 ‘…as the lines between health and technology continue to blur, many life sciences companies will face significant challenges to their business models….’, 2019 EY M&A Firepower report.

We see that the traditional tech giants such as GE, Philips and Siemens are building biotech and pharma services divisions, while the large pharma companies are going digital.

GE Lifesciences is set to become an independent life sciences company with CEO Kieran Murphy already saying that the future of health care will see the right data used at the right time in the right way to enable more predictive, more efficient and more individualized patient care. Great emphasis is being put on the use of advanced image processing algorithms with machine learning to diagnose a patient and to predict the drug response.

Philips, another global player that manufactures MRI scanners is investing into their connected health technology platform to optimize decision support with AI and using longitudinal data to create an analytic platform. Their recent presentation at the R&D Data Leaders Innovation Forum highlighted the use of omics (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics) alongside pathology and radiology to enable a definitive diagnosis through an integrated report

Siemens Healthineers is expanding in precision medicine by furthering the digital twin concept to allow to predict, prescribe and plan treatment and tailor treatment solutions to evaluate their effectiveness.

On the pharma side, Melinda Richter, Global Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS is looking to “…deepen our technological and data science capabilities. By working closely with innovators, we continue to learn and can help accelerate solutions that enable better, more preventative care.”

Novartis is outspoken about its goal to submit 60 new drugs for regulatory approval by 2021. According to its CEO, big data and AI are essential components of achieving this ambition, by reducing the cost and increasing the speed of drug discovery.

These companies are hardly the only ones surveying the landscape for digital technologies. In 2019, it is anticipated that digital deal-making will continue to accelerate as the opportunities to combine and use data to improve health outcomes become more obvious.

The pharmaceutical companies, who traditionally were creating value through their biological and chemical know-how are aware that future successes might not be created the same way. It is becoming more obvious that the power of objective analytics and capabilities of modern technology will be essential for success in drug development with the necessities of patient radiological phenotyping, early go / no-go decisions and objective assessment of novel mechanisms of action.

When in 2007 we started IAG, Image Analysis Group as a technology platform company for AI-driven imaging data analysis for radiology market, we were surprised to see a flood of bio-pharmaceutical clients using our methodologies to gain faster more objective decisions or early efficacy assessments for their novel drugs. Now, after more than ten years blending our services for bio-pharma partners with cutting edge technologies, AI, cloud, machine learning, it is rewarding to see that the life science industry as a whole sees the value in integrating data and analytics effectively across the care pathway: from diagnostics to therapeutics, from a new drug development to developing an imaging-based companion diagnostic alongside the therapeutic agent.

Digital transformation of drug development is the growing area in every modern life sciences company.

According to E&Y, the “datafication” of health care means that traditional bio-pharma companies must examine how they position themselves for the future.

The early partnerships such as GE – Roche where the companies combine in vitro and in vivo to allow a much more integrated analysis of a person’s health are working or 2018 deals such as Roche’s acquisition of Flatiron Health and the joint venture between Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and Palantir, Syntropy to create a collaboration platform for research and discovery give a lot of promise in the ever evolving healthcare ecosystem, by delivering better connectivity and information transparency between the patient, payer and provider of imaging services or drugs.

The future of the pharmaceutical industry will be enabled through the objective data and better understanding of our own health with much more precise measures such as medical imaging scans (as opposed to ‘it hurts here, doctor’), analytics capabilities and appreciation of novel therapeutics developed precisely for an individual.

The collaborators that create a data integration platform will no doubt speed research and improve R&D outcomes.

I envisage that in the longer term, partnering or acquiring digital capabilities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of R&D and to better differentiate marketed products with evidence will be the key to success of pharmaceutical innovation.

At IAG, we believe that digital imaging that enable more efficient analysis and interpretation will give bio-pharmaceutical players clarity on which assets have the potential to deliver optimal outcomes.

For companies that want to differentiate themselves based on the outcomes their innovative products deliver, digitalization will become vital. So, too, are the cloud platforms, AI, Machine Learning and other digital tools that accelerate costly aspects of drug development and automate human error prone steps. In contrast, the digital tools most important to companies developing products for chronic diseases such as heart disease, rheumatic conditions and other may be those that improve the consumer experience and adherence to therapy.

It will be fascinating to see the true scale and impact which the right strategic partnership between therapeutic areas focused bio-pharmaceutical companies and a digital start-up can deliver. I am confident that we will be seeing much improved outcomes in clinical trials and patient responses to novel treatments by combining what digital era has to offer to rapid development of targeted therapeutic agents.

As digital technologies become the status quo, companies that have already made their therapeutic bets will be better positioned to accelerate revenue growth using these new skills.’

About the Author:

Olga Kubassova, CEO of IAG and a Venture Partner. She is a a mathematician with over 10 years expertise in actively managing innovation in life science companies. Olga is a healthcare innovator and biotech investor with passion for improving people’s health. She has co-authored over 60 publications, books and book chapters, has become a scientific adviser to the UK government and EU funding bodies. She is a four-time winner of national and international “Entrepreneur of the Year” awards. Olga’s ambition is to bring truly disruptive technologies, artificial intelligence and best of machine learning to clinical practice and research, while expanding IAG’s footprint and partnerships.

About Image Analysis Group (IAG)

IAG, Image Analysis Group is a unique partner to life sciences companies. IAG leverages expertise in medical imaging and the power of Dynamika™ – our proprietary cloud-based platform, to de-risk clinical development and deliver lifesaving therapies into the hands of patients much sooner.  IAG provides early drug efficacy assessments, smart patient recruitment and predictive analysis of advanced treatment manifestations, thus lowering investment risk and accelerating study outcomes. IAG bio-partnering takes a broader view on asset development bringing R&D solutions, operational breadth, radiological expertise via risk-sharing financing and partnering models.

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