Technology and Pharma: A How-to Guide for Collaboration

In the midst of a fury of M&As and buyouts, the next big trend in Pharma isn’t the takeover. Innovators in the industry are seeing the advantages of partnerships, specifically with creative technology companies. Instead of buying them out, however, pharma and technology are learning to collaborate, with each bringing a unique skillset to the table.

David Purdie, President of the Pharmaceutical Management Science Association (PMSA), shares his observations about the unique position Pharma is in – if it can harness the innovation that tech partnerships hold.

As President of PMSA, what is your agenda for the year to come? What are the challenges you see for the industry?

One big initiative we are undertaking in 2015/2016 is to try to implement an industry-wide common, unique patient identifier used by all data suppliers that allows the integration of data from various sources. The challenge for the industry is to understand how to leverage the increasing sources of health-related data that have become available for us. There is great potential in data from new sources, such as device and social media data, but the challenge is in how to use those data to answer important business and clinical questions.

Who has become the most interesting and visionary tech and Pharma collaboration of the year so far?

I think Flatiron is one of the most visionary tech/data companies that has surfaced in the last year or so, and their collaboration with Pharma to reinvent the concept of the cancer registry holds exciting collaboration potential.

How can the Pharma industry overcome its conservatism to embrace collaboration between technology and Pharma?

In general, pharma tends to be very conservative about who they partner with (i.e. with organizations they have partnered with before). Pharma needs to start taking more risks and partnering with innovative companies.

How will Pharma deal with legislation to allow the data sharing and information availability that is required with today’s healthcare environment, including doctor and patient?

I think the 21st Century Cures legislation will bring much-needed reform to data access, including for Pharma. For commercial entities to be able to access patient-level data for research purposes, they will greatly impact our ability to utilize routinely collected data to answer important questions around the use and effectiveness of medicines.

What can Pharma do to get ahead with regard to change and innovation for the future of this space?

Pharma should be more creative around partnering with novel companies and technologies. The future is only as bright as the collaboration partnerships Pharma is willing to shape. With legislation, advanced data analytics solutions and visionary initiatives, technology partners have much to offer Pharma organizations.

Get the free article, “Are Tech and Pharma Collaborations the Key to Innovation?” to read more about the possibilities that tech and Pharma collaborations have for your company’s innovation.

Len Starnes, global and regional digital pharma marketer and consultant, shares his insights about the collaboration between technology and Pharma companies that are resulting in significant innovation.

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