The idea behind personalized medicine has always been the goal for health care professionals, but it’s becoming truly achievable with recent advances in technology. Mapping the human genome, 3D printing, artificial intelligence and advanced scanning technology have all pushed this idea to the forefront of medicine. For the pharmaceutical and medical device companies in the market, a new trend brief discusses three trends to help you through 2020.
For years, pharmaceuticals and medical devices have basically been made for the majority, with few exceptions such as compounded drugs. Personalizing these products provides a challenge to pharma and medical device. One of the ways life sciences companies are overcoming these challenges is by looking to commercial manufacturers that have decades of experience in mass customization.
In most other industries, consumers expect to have at least some options for customization. Whether it’s cars, running shoes, or phone cases, there’s little that isn’t customizable. Life sciences companies are following suit by looking to these manufacturers for help in the customizing process. This is largely possible due to digitization and automation, which can speed prototype creation and allows low-volume production runs.1
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Bigger isn’t always better. Pharmaceutical and medical device companies are a great example of this. What makes big pharma (or medical device) “big” is their massive revenue and the number of pharmaceuticals they manufacture. This might seem like an advantage, but in the personalized medicine market, there’s something to be said for small, agile companies.
One advantage that small companies or startups have is that they didn’t have to digitize — they are digital from the get-go. This represents the technology-embracing mentality that is usually present in startups. By embracing technology, a small company is better positioned to pursue personalized treatments. When they use solutions such as MasterControl Manufacturing Excellence™ on their manufacturing line, the time saved from automating manual processes can be used for innovation and improving quality.
Technology that gets rid of paper is important to personalized medicine, but an important technology from a different standpoint is 3D printing. On-site manufacturing refers to manufacturing at the doctor’s office, hospital or pharmacy where the pharmaceutical or medical device will immediately be used. The most common examples of this relate to medical devices, where a patient needs a device completely customized to their physiology or a surgeon needs to study a 3D model of the patient’s body that they’re intending to operate on.
Pharma isn’t left out of this trend, however. Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in the United Kingdom is using 3D printing to produce tot-sized pharmaceuticals.2 Since most pharmaceuticals are made for adults, children using them need to cut the pills in half, quarters or even smaller in some cases. This is hardly accurate and can lead to complications if too much or not enough is taken. By using 3D printing, children can get the exact dosage of a pharmaceutical.
Personalized medicine is made possible by technology. So, it should be no surprise that trends in the industry reflect that. To take advantage of these new technologies, a pharma or medical device company needs to be built on an advanced platform. The future isn’t paper based, so companies looking to the future of personalized medicine can’t be paper based either.
To get more details on these trends and learn more about the future of personalized medicine, download the trend brief here.