The pharmaceutical industry will ensure better quality healthcare and the chemical industry will become a key enabler of emission reductions, with both industries enabling wider positive change across other sectors.
Trend #1 | New dynamics
Traditional ways of working will give way to more dynamic operations and models. This will include increased collaboration across both industries and reimagining how products are manufactured and sold in order to create new efficiencies.
Collaboration and convergence
The convergence of technologies will create opportunities to partner with competitors, customers and businesses in other sectors, leading to more innovative products.
Google has partnered with Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis to develop its smart contact lenses. Novartis wants to develop alternatives that include the possibility of 'intraocular lenses' - contacts that are inserted permanently into the eye to correct vision.
Shifting the value
Within the pharmaceutical industry, increasing costs and declining healthcare investment are creating a squeeze. We expect a growing number of alternative business models like pay-for-performance emerging to forge a closer link between value and effectiveness.
Johnson & Johnson has started to introduce pay-for-performance drugs within Europe. In the UK they have agreed to reimburse Britains National Health Service when patients don't respond to their blood-cancer drug Velcade. Other companies such as GSK and Roche have also been discussing these models.
The chemical industry is pioneering Chemical Leasing. This means shifting from selling chemical goods to selling chemical services. This idea has received renewed interest and support from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.
Advances in 3D printing technology might make it possible for the pharmaceutical industry to stop manufacturing entirely, instead focusing on blueprints and leaving most production to chemists.
Bio3D produce advanced robotic 3D printing systems suitable for research and scientific applications, such as printing cells, bacteria, proteins bio-gels, polymers and food materials. Their aim is to bring affordable and reliable 3D printing and bioprinting to every researcher, scientist, doctor, engineer, educator and student.
In 2015, the FDA approved the first 3D-printing drug, Spritam, from Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, showing that the technology exists but that regulations will have to change for it to be implemented.
Trend #2 | Personalised health
In 2050 we expect a shift from generic drugs to customised treatments designed around the patient, rather than the illness.
Data will drive customisation
We'll see a considerable increase in the volume and sophistication of data, particularly through wearable devices, such as Fitbit and Apple Watch, which will being about more tailored treatment plans. The testing and launch of new drugs could also speed up through access to live patient data, reducing dependence on long and costly clinical trials.
Trend #3 | Biofuture
Biotechnology is a different way of producing chemicals and pharmaceuticals, harnessing the power of living cells and getting them to work in predictable and controllable ways.
An evolving opportunity
McKinsey claims that biopharma is growing at more than double the rate of conventional pharma and due to this is expected to continue into the foreseeable future. We also expect to see companies, particularly those related to food and agriculture, focus on the types of molecules that exist within their waste. These could ultimately be sold to the pharma industry.