Uncertainties & Opportunities: BioPharma in the Era of Covid19


Uncertainties & Opportunities: BioPharma in the Era of COVID19

As Crunchbase reports that ‘in 2009, one-third fewer start-ups raised early-stage funding,’ we already see investors advising biotechs to plan for two years without raising new funding.

Is this the right advice in today’s situation? Should companies give up on the fund raising and try to increase their value before the next fundraise?

This crisis did not start in tech and it is not another bubble. Today, we are experiencing living on the ‘essential’.

*…though it is still beyond me why Dunkin’ Donuts is in that category, but let’s leave it to other post.

When it comes to drug development, what is essential?

We are hearing stories of the vcancer patients having their operations delayed. We are seeing non-covid19 patients being turn away from the hospitals and lupus patients struggling to get their treatment since there is an anecdotal evidence that their drug can help to fight #Covid19.

Does this make you think of the drugs which have to get priorities in the development?

Post-covid19, should there be more focus on treatments that help delaying cancer surgery, more vaccines or more new drugs that can help sustaining someone with chronic condition for longer?

Who will make it in the post-covid?

The biotech-pharma industry who traditionally were creating value through their biological and chemical know-how are aware that future successes might not be created the same way. Novartis is outspoken about its goal to submit 60 new drugs for regulatory approval by 2021 using AI. J&J is looking to deepen their technological and data science capabilities.

According to the pharma CEOs, big data and AI are essential components of achieving their ambition, by reducing the cost and increasing the speed of drug development.

To us, it is becoming clearer that the power of objective analytics and capabilities of modern technology will be essential for success in drug development.

It will come down to the necessities of patient radiological phenotyping, early go / no-go decisions and objective assessment of novel mechanisms of action faster.

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.

Re-phrasing someone famous,

The bio-pharma who use modern technology in their R&D will replace the bio-pharma companies who do not.

Smart tech as biotech new venture partner? 

The venture and tech industry have also changed quite dramatically since 2008. Technology, such as the cloud, voice recognition on your Alexa or simple AI tools are an integral part of in our daily lives.

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.

I envisage that bio-pharma companies will seek partnerships or will be acquiring digital capabilities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their R&D.

Is it too far reach to think of partnerships between tech companies and pharma?

It is fascinating to see the true scale and impact which the right strategic partnership between therapeutic area focused bio-pharmaceutical companies and the digital player can deliver. IAG, Image Analysis Group we see this first hand. Read more: here or speak to me about our bio-partnering.

Will we see a new class of institutional investors such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft for biotech-pharma innovation? These are the companies who will thrive in ‘stay-at-home’ crisis time. Perhaps they can be the ones to rescue biotech R&D?

The pause and time to think

Unless you are developing a covid treatment or vaccine, you most likely paused your trial. This is the time to think and plan ahead. Smart design of a clinical study can enable getting efficacy data as early as phase I.

For a biotech, it might mean getting phase 3 terms while still in phase 2 and can lead to an early asset acquisition even before the study completes.

IAG, Image Analysis, our team believe that for the success of a trial, any drug developer should spend time on

1) benchmarking your assets’ strengths and weakness. Understand the deals in similar TA and truly appreciate the appetite of pharma players in this TA;

2) thinking how to de-risking your R&D and show early successes: imaging or other surrogate endpoints are here for this reason;

3) chose of the right methods to reflect the efficacy objectively, adequately and early. Focus on early successes and the sustainable efficacy.

Most importantly, make sure you collect, hold on to and can analyse your own data!

At IAG, every study we run, we begin with integrating data flows to ensure interoperability of disparate systems and integration of data sources. After unlocking the insights that disparate data sources collectively contain, we use analytics to interpret the information, drive fact-based decisions and reduce prevalent risk factors in clinical studies.

Spendign time on planning will payoff, especially when you need to play within the post Covid19 contraints on the number of patients and the speed of the recrutiment.


There is a lot of uncertainty around what the post-pandemic world will look like. “V-shaped”, “U-shaped” recovery of the overall economy or “L-shaped” slog?

Biotech and pharma who are developing new therapies that meet real medical needs and can demonstrate early success will be “recession-proof”.

Let’s make the technology available today help you to play to your advantage!

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.

Learn more:  wp1.ia-grp.com

Reach out: imaging.experts@ia-grp.com

Follow the Company: Linkedin

Engage with our team

Dr. Olga Kubassova, CEO: www.linkedin.com/in/olgakubassova/

David Chia, CCO: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jahyungdavidchia/

Dr. Diana Dupont-Roettger, Chief Scientific Alliance Officer: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dianaroettger/