Biotechnology in Thoughts from the Centre

The impact of COVID-19 in biopharma: Breaking through barriers to digitization

By Leena Gupta, manager, Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, Deloitte Services, LP


Next week will mark a full year since the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Since then, over 116 million cases have been reported globally and around 2.6 million people have lost their lives.1 In addition to its mounting human and societal impact, COVID-19 has significantly impacted most businesses and sectors, including the biopharmaceutical (biopharma) industry. This week, we share a blog by our colleague Leena Gupta, Manager at the US Center for Health Solutions, which explores how the pandemic has impacted biopharma’s various functions across the value chain and the strategies that have been adopted to help the industry respond and, ultimately, thrive. While Leena’s blog and research focussed on primarily on US policies, there are wider lessons that all geographies could benefit from. Over to Leena.

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Posted on 05/03/2021 | 0 Comments

Accessing cell and gene therapies – meeting the needs of rare disease patients

By Lukasz Kaczynski, Senior Manager, Monitor Deloitte Switzerland, and Patricia Gee, Director, Monitor Deloitte Switzerland


February 28 2021 is the 14th International Rare Disease Day. To mark the occasion communities from across the world come together to raise awareness among the public and policy makers about rare diseases and their impact on the lives of patients and families.1 Rare diseases are heterogeneous in nature, and geographically disparate, few are preventable or curable, most are chronic and progressive, and many are life-threatening. While there is no universal definition of rare diseases, in 2019, a comprehensive research study of the Orphanet database2 estimated that there are some 6,200 rare diseases affecting some 3.5 to 5.9 per cent of the global population, a total of approximately 263 to 446 million people. Around 72 per cent of these rare diseases are genetic with 70 per cent starting in childhood.3  Today, transformative cell and gene therapies (CGTx), with the potential to address and often eliminate the underlying cause of a genetic disease, bring hope to patients and families affected by rare diseases.

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Posted on 26/02/2021 | 0 Comments

Digitized, interconnected supply chains could revolutionize pharmaceuticals…but are pharma companies ready?

By Justine Lelchuk, managing director, and Neal Batra, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP


As we highlighted in our report Intelligent drug supply chain: Creating value from AI, biopharma companies can capitalise on digital transformation strategies to build-up agility and better respond to shocks to their supply chains. This week, we share a blog by Justine Lelchuk, US Process Intelligence Lead, and Neal Batra, Life Sciences Strategy and Global Future of Health Lead, where they explore how biopharma companies can thrive over the next decade through the implementation of interconnected, digital supply chains.

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Posted on 12/02/2021 | 0 Comments

2021 outlook for life sciences: Six reasons the sector is stronger than ever

By Mike DeLone, US life sciences leader, Deloitte LLP

Predictions cover

This week I thought I would share with you a blog by Mike DeLone, the national sector leader for Deloitte’s US Life Sciences practice. Back in July, when we were just a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic, I shared Mike’s blog explaining how inspired he was by life sciences companies and the sector as a whole. In this follow-up blog Mike explains how optimistic and grateful he is that the sentiment and emotion he felt was well placed. Specifically, that hopes of the world that were placed in the hands of companies developing vaccines, diagnostics, and therapies, have had such positive results. As Mike notes, some six months on, he continues to feel inspired, highlighting that at least two antiviral drugs and two COVID-19 vaccines have been given emergency use authorisation in the US, as well as regulators approving an at-home COVID-19 test and new therapeutics to treat the disease. Mike’s clear articulation as to why he felt inspired resonated strongly with me back in July and like Mike I continue to feel inspired and indeed optimistic, especially that the six trends he identifies will lead to better ways of working, more effective collaboration and the adoption of innovations. Over to Mike.

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Posted on 05/02/2021 | 0 Comments

Healthcare and life sciences unmasked: A future accelerated by COVID-19

By Karen Taylor, Director, Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions


Over the last few weeks of 2020 we published a series of ten predictions on what the future of healthcare and life sciences looks like in 2025. Each prediction follows the same format, including a number of ‘portraits’ imagining the experience of individuals and organisations in 2025, the evidence today that enables us to predict tomorrow and the common constraints that need to be overcome to realise the prediction. We also considered how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected each prediction. Subsequently, we brought all of the predictions together in one report: The future unmasked: Predicting the future of healthcare and life sciences in 2025 and launched a podcast with senior leaders from our life sciences and healthcare practice discussing how the predictions affect their parts of the industry. I have used this first blog of 2021 to examine the cross cutting constraints that need to be overcome to realise our view of the future.

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Posted on 08/01/2021 | 0 Comments

The future unmasked: conscious care and greater collaboration

By Karen Taylor, Samrina Bhatti and Krissie Ferris, Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions


This is the last week in the staggered launch of the final two predictions in our report ‘The future unmasked: Predicting the future of healthcare and life sciences in 2025’. Our predictions: ‘Healthcare and life sciences companies have prioritised decarbonisation’, and ‘Clusters of trusted partnerships have accelerated innovation’ explore two crucial developments in the evolving relationship between the stakeholders in the health ecosystem. These are the increased priority companies are giving to reducing their carbon footprints and the growth in trusted partnerships and collaborations between stakeholders. We also examine the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had in accelerating the pace of change.

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Posted on 11/12/2020 | 0 Comments

The future unmasked: digitally transformed pharma R&D and supply chains

By Karen Taylor, Samrina Bhatti and Krissie Ferris, Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions


This is week four in the phased launch of the ten predictions in our report ‘The future unmasked: Predicting the future of healthcare and life sciences in 2025’. Each prediction is brought to life by imagining what the experience of individuals might look like in 2025, examples of the evidence today to predict tomorrow, and considers the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has on each prediction. These two predictions we have launched this week are focussed on two crucial parts of the biopharma value chain: prediction seven ‘Companies have reversed the decline in the returns from pharma R&D’, and prediction eight ‘Next generation supply chains are integrated into healthcare and the patient experience’.

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Posted on 04/12/2020 | 0 Comments

Vaccines like it (very) cold – how to build a resilient COVID-19 vaccine supply chain

By Maria João Cruz, PhD, Research Analyst, Centre for Health Solutions, and Jose M. Suárez, Manager, Life Sciences Advisory


The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed over 1.1 million lives and infected over 45 million people worldwide, numbers that continue to increase.1 Alongside its devastating human impact, the pandemic has exerted unrelenting pressure on pharma and healthcare supply chains. COVID-19 has exposed the fragility of our medical supply chains, and highlighted their global inter-dependencies and vulnerability to shock. We have also experienced major challenges in the medical equipment supply chain, including manufacturing, transport and distribution of testing kits, personal protective equipment (PPE), and ventilators. However, these challenges pale in comparison to the huge task ahead of us in getting life-saving COVID-19 vaccines to people around the world, in record time, to halt the spread of this virus. Importantly, this will have to be done while maintaining production, distribution and administration of other life-saving therapies, including the seasonal flu shots, and other essential medicinal products.

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Posted on 30/10/2020 | 0 Comments

Diversity and inclusion in clinical trials – an imperative, especially in times of COVID-19

By Maria João Cruz, PhD, Research Analyst, Centre for Health Solutions


Clinical trials provide the necessary evidence to prove safety and efficacy of new treatments and medical products. Given that the responses to a specific medication may differ among population subgroups depending on factors such as age, sex, genetic profile and ethnicity, clinical trials need to reflect the demographic diversity of the population that a pharma product is intended to serve.1,2 Last August the Centre published a blog on the importance of inclusion and diversity in clinical trials and why it should be a research priority. At the time, we highlighted the initiatives being launched by regulatory bodies to improve diversity in clinical research but noted that, while there have been some improvements, pharma companies were still struggling to enrol participants from diverse demographic groups, particularly women, racial and ethnic minorities, and the elderly.3

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Posted on 09/10/2020 | 0 Comments

Wake me up when September ends: my reflections on the search for a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, in honour of World Alzheimer’s Month

By Dr Francesca Properzi, PhD. Research Manager, Centre for Health Solutions


Since 2012, September has been celebrated as World Alzheimer’s Month, and this year’s theme is 'Let's talk about dementia'. This is clearly much needed, especially as one person is diagnosed with dementia every three seconds.1 As a neuroscientist, I spent more than 10 years leading a research lab dedicated to finding new approaches for diagnosing and treating neurodegenerative diseases at the Italian Institute of Health in Rome. I also had first-hand experience of the disease, as I had originally accepted that position and left my job in London, to take care of my father, who was himself fighting dementia. Those years have shaped me greatly both personally and professionally and, as September coincides with my last month at the Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions, I am delighted to use this blog to provide my reflections on the challenges presented by Alzheimer’s disease and to consider what more needs to be done to expedite progress in identifying treatments and ultimately a cure.

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Posted on 25/09/2020 | 0 Comments