Pharma: Innovation in Adversity

The race is on to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, with countries around the world aggressively researching vaccine technologies that could help to halt the pandemic. Of the 148 candidate vaccines that researchers are currently developing, 17 are already in human clinical trials.

Truth be told, shortening the cycle from lab to high street has been on the industry’s agenda since long before COVID-19 turned our world upside down. We’ve had a front row seat here at The Croc– mapping out complex customer journeys on behalf of pharma clients trying to streamline the complexities between clinical and commercial journeys.

However, over the course of this year the industry has gone through a crash course in organisational change. The wealth of new data and insights created through intense development as well as public and political pressures will have fundamentally changed the landscape.

Most players have had to adopt to a new global reality through necessity, and post-pandemic, these organisations will emerge with a clearer picture of efficient and effective working practices, and emerging opportunities in a reshaped customer ecosystem.

As history shows us again and again, innovation flourishes in times of adversity. And the pandemic has reminded the world of pharma’s strengths—namely, its capacity to accelerate research, and develop and distribute drugs on a vast scale. Many of the big firms and scores of smaller companies are working on COVID-19 vaccines and therapies.

Even before the virus, the industry had begun to invest more heavily in R&D. In the most recent quarter America’s 30 biggest firms boosted investment by a median of 6% year on year.

Medical innovation is back in fashion. Here’s hoping it brings some much-needed relief to all of us soon.

Image credit: National Cancer Institute. Photographer: Daniel Sone