Trends and innovations
    The pharmaceutical industry is witnessing a massive revamp. Traditionally slow in the adoption of technology, the industry is now undergoing rapid changes due to the development of several technologies. The prominent pharma industry trends include artificial intelligence (AI), additive manufacturing, blockchain, and other Industry 4.0 technologies. The increasing investments, growth of technology, and the expiry of several key patents, as well as increasing interorganizational collaborations and a favorable regulatory environment, are spurring innovation in the pharma industry.

Impact Of Industry Trends On The Pharma Sector
    From drug discovery and development to medical imaging and patient engagement, artificial intelligence occupies a prominent position in the industry. Along with big data and analytics, more than a third of pharma are working on software solutions for the industry. There is still a lack of access to basic medicines in many regions of the world, prompting demand for flexible pharmaceutical manufacturing.
    The use of real-world data to collect accurate patient experiences, blockchain to securely transact and manage patient records, and augmented, virtual, and mixed reality (AR, VR & MR) solutions also find a place in the top pharma industry trends. However, these trends cover only a small fraction of the breadth of innovation in the industry. Based on your specific criteria, your top trends can look quite different.

Artificial Intelligence
    The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning is accelerating the drug discovery and development processes. Exploring the use of these technologies to address the various challenges in the pharma industry, such as automation and optimisation of the manufacturing processes, as well as designing effective marketing and post-launch strategies. Patient identification is a crucial step in the drug discovery and development process, especially for conducting clinical trials. AI simplifies the identification of eligibility criteria and the inclusion of patients and also makes the cohort identification process faster and cheaper.
    Using unsupervised AI algorithms to identify patient cohorts for drug discovery, clinical trials, and real-world evidence (RWE) studies. The machine learning-based software scans through electronic health records (EHR) and unstructured doctors’ notes to find the right patients based on phenotypes. Pangaea Data also develops a library of AI models for different disease areas.

Big Data & Analytics
    The large volumes of data available throughout the drug discovery and development process require high-performance systems to properly analyze data and derive value from it. Pharmaceutical companies are looking to open up their critical data to third parties, thus making data management a crucial area of focus. The advancement in analytical techniques is also turning historical and real-time data available with pharmaceutical companies into valuable assets for predictive, diagnostic, prescriptive, and descriptive analytics. Moreover, these analytics techniques are used on almost all types of medical data from patient records, medical imaging, and hospital data to name a few. 
    Developing a platform that allows data scientists to build applications on confidential or sensitive data of organizations. Pryml creates a synthetic version of the confidential data available with pharmaceutical companies. This enables the restricted sharing of this data with third-party companies for business applications or research collaborations. Pryml’s solutions integrate within the customers’ data architecture for the development of solutions such as predictive models for drug recommendations.

Flexible Production
    The pharma industry is exploring new ways of manufacturing due to the changing market dynamics, such as small batches for precision medicine. Single-use technology is gaining popularity as it reduces downtime and increases productivity by eliminating complex steps like cleaning and validation between separate production stages. New types of bioreactor systems and continuous manufacturing processes address the increasing focus on biopharmaceuticals. In addition to eliminating downtime, continuous manufacturing has low energy needs, achieves high productivity, and minimises the amount of waste.
    Making single-use airlift bioreactor systems. The patented airlift technology uses bubbles instead of mechanical mixing to move cells and nutrients. The reactor comes with disposable bioreactor bags, an integrated heater, and offers precise regulation of biochemical parameters such as pH, dissolved oxygen, and temperature. The single-use system can be used for a variety of cell cultures and fermentation and Cellexus have achieved growth of bacteria, yeast, microalgae, and bacteriophage amplification.

Precision Medicine
    Precision medicine comes from the idea of treating each patient as a unique individual. Advancements in omic and data analysis are providing new insights into how the human body responds to drugs. This knowledge, along with advanced manufacturing methods such as additive manufacturing, is making personalised medicine a reality. Drug exposure models determine the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of drugs for arriving at the right dosage for drugs based on age, sex, comorbidities, and other clinical parameters.
    Offering a software solution for simulating the effects of drugs in a patient’s body based on personal characteristics. They make use of population pharmacokinetics, as well as scientific literature data, for real-time prediction of efficacy and drug interaction, on each individual. ExactCure is developing drug-specific exposure models for drugs under investigation for the treatment of COVID-19.

Additive Manufacturing
    The need for precision medicine is also making pharmaceutical companies rethink the manufacturing process. A lot of research is underway for making advanced 3D printers that print tissues or cells. 3D printing of human tissues has great applications in drug development, organ engineering, and regenerative medicine. This allows the development of age or physiology-dependent medical formulations, as well as precision pills. Bioprinters also help in pushing innovation in bioinks, tissue engineering, and microfluidics.
    A 3D printer for making personalized pills. M3DIMAKER uses proprietary technology for direct powder extrusion. The single step printing process uses a single screw extruder for the extrusion of powdered material. It manufactures pills with properties such as sustained or delayed dose, and multidrug combination pills (polypills). The printer also enables small batch production for clinical trials and precise personalised dosage forms for individuals.

    Blockchain technology is very significant for the pharmaceutical industry in every stage of production and distribution of drugs. The stakeholders in the pharma industry are, in general, extremely secretive about their data due to the sensitive nature of the data. Blockchain technology is also being explored to tackle the use of counterfeit medicines and substandard drugs that enter into the pharmaceutical supply chain and kill thousands of patients every year. The digitalisation of transactions makes blockchain a promising solution for tracking and securing the pharma transaction ecosystem.
    Offering a blockchain-based document collaboration and workflow management platform for the pharmaceutical supply chain. The platform enables secure document sharing across supply chain partners with immutable audit logs. Good, automated manufacturing practice 5 (GAMP 5)-compliant cloud-based software further lets stakeholders, within and outside organizations, collaborate at various stages of the pharma supply chain.

Extended Reality
    Mixed reality (MR), virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) is enabling visualisations like never before. Pharma's are exploring the possibilities of these technologies in pharmaceutical research and manufacturing spheres. Extended reality tools enable data-rich and meaningful real-time location-agonistic interaction among research teams. Making human augmentation in pharma a reality through extended reality wearables and tools. 
    Developing an OptiworX, an AR suite for pharma and biopharma manufacturing. The solution enables technicians and line operators to increase their productivity and efficiency by prompting various tasks in real-time, in an AR environment. The modular design allows for both standalone and connected systems, enabling two-way data flow. Additionally, this suite supports all shop floor processes like manufacturing, filling, primary packaging, and secondary packaging.

Real-World Data
    Real-world data (RWD) and real-world evidence (RWE) are transforming innovations in the pharmaceutical industry. RWD includes patient health status, treatment data, and health reports collected routinely. The pharmaceutical industry, owing to its research-intensive nature, has to make sure that the data they use is reliable and of real value. The availability of real-world data enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT), sensors, and wearables is restructuring the way the pharma industry is functioning.
    Offering a research platform based on a de-identified real-world oncological patient database. The solution enables the early detection and timely intervention for cancer detection, treatment, and cure. The OncoChain Analytics tool also provides real-world evidence insights for regulatory decision-making, clinical trial design, and multi-center studies.

Digital Therapeutics
    Digital therapeutics deliver evidence-based therapeutic interventions using software to prevent, manage, or treat physical, mental, and behavioral conditions. These non-pharmacological, tech-driven solutions are either stand-alone or used along with medications, devices, or therapies. Digital therapeutics let each individual have greater control over their health and outcomes.
    Making a smartphone-based digital therapeutic for myopia. The solution aims to slow down the progression of myopia in the young population, especially children. The solution achieves the activation of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in eye growth regulation. Dopavision is currently undertaking pre-clinical trials of the digital therapeutic.

Curative Therapies
    There is a paradigm shift happening in the area of treating illnesses from managing diseases to curing diseases altogether. Curative therapies such as cell and gene therapies are changing the way we deal with chronic diseases or difficult to treat conditions by eliminating the need for long-term treatments. In gene therapy, genetic material is introduced into the cells to compensate for abnormal genes or to make a beneficial protein. Genetically engineered viruses are the most common vectors used for gene therapy.
    Developing a proprietary direct cellular conversion platform to transmogrify any mature human cells. The platform technology identifies the transcription factors or small molecules required to convert any mature cell into any other mature cell type by analysing sequencing data and regulatory networks. Mogrify develops novel cell therapies for musculoskeletal, auto immune, and cancer immunotherapy, as well as ocular and respiratory diseases.