Providing leadership for the life sciences industry

Swiss Biotech Day 2018: Themes,trends and thoughts

Last week I attended the Swiss BioTech Annual Meeting and their 20th Anniversary. The Swiss BioPharma industry is one of the key Life Sciences clusters in the world, with 700 BioTechs in the country employing 50,000 highly educated individuals (as a reference here in the UK the sector employs 500,000 and adds £60 billion to the economy). This sector is rich on science and capital but in need of proven leadership teams who have lived through IPOs and public offerings. Today you find this type of experienced talent predominately in the US but other clusters are catching up (read UK and Switzerland).

In 2010 the patent cliff, economic recession and market access were the key dynamics influencing strategies, M&A and valuations. Today the 2030 scenario includes

  • continuing downward pressure on pricing. Value Based Pricing (VBP) forces a close(r) relationship with patients to drive adherence and compliance
  • from treatment to prevention and “beyond the pill”, catalyzed by an exciting range of new disruptive technologies. We will expect more targeted therapies and macro indicators are e.g. the increase in Ph I and Ph II trials (3000+) in Immuno Oncology (IO) which drive market cap and allocation of investment capital. The first gene therapy drugs are now on the market.

Three pharmaceutical archetypes are emerging;

  • The active portfolio company e.g. the recent asset swap by GSK and Novartis
  • The virtual value chain orchestrator, new players own data to guide the patient from cradle to grave, g. Google and Apple
  • The niche specialist, focusing on a single TA and the entire patient pathway, e.g. Novo Nordisk

Key drivers influencing this ecosystem are:

  • the shift in power across the healthcare value chain as payers and government take centre stage, and
  • a swing from treatment to prevention, diagnostics and cure.

The Life Sciences industry is facing a fascinating new era, and will need to work even harder to attract the relevant talent.  Novel therapies are starting to generate new treatment regimes that will require new skills across the board:  genetics and cellular programming, advances in new technologies such as 3D printing, nanotechnology, predictive analytics and bionics drive innovation and finally consumerization of health through better patient access to data.

One thing remains as is,  the three pillars underpinning all of the above namely: innovation, capital and talent.

When it comes to global executive talent, The RSA Group has been advising and supporting our clients for close to 40 years helping to shape value propositions and assess international executives to drive better outcomes.

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