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Biotech sector must reinvent itself to survive, warns PwC

World News | November 08, 2010


Kevin Grogan

Biotech sector must reinvent itself to survive, warns PwC

Despite some "very notable successes", the global biotechnology industry "has fallen short of expectations" and has to become more efficient and collaborative in its approach.

So claims PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has issued a report called Biotech reinvented. It claims that the sector is "failing to reduce the risk in finding and developing new commercial medicines" and although strategic collaborations are increasing, "there is now a need for more co-operation to produce more efficient and cost-effective" drugs.

PwC argues that working in a more collaborative environment "requires organisations to share assets and insight that they have previously ring-fenced for themselves, a willingness to take risks and work with third parties and assets that they don’t own". This will require investors to "take a longer term view on rates of return and change the funding model".

The analysis notes that research base is "shifting east, emerging economies are competing more aggressively and financial investors are getting more cautious". However, the report goes on to quote PwC research, which claims that  a 5% increase in success rates for each phase transition and a 5% reduction in development times could cut R&D costs by about $160 million, as well as accelerating market launch by nearly five months.

Jo Pisani, partner, global pharmaceuticals and life sciences at PwC, said "efficiency is the name of the game and the adoption of a more collaborative approach could just be the key to unlocking this potential". Working with others "accelerates and facilitates innovation, discovery and development, which in turn can reduce costs and benefit both large and smaller companies", she added, noting that "even small changes could yield significant savings".

Steve Arlington, global advisory leader for PwC's pharmaceutical and life sciences industry division, concluded by noting that "hard-pressed governments are now struggling to meet the healthcare demands of growing populations and their changing demographics". As such, "more effective and more economical medicines are now more important than ever and, only when the industry can work together will it be on track to meeting the demands of today’s society".

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