An Exciting Time in Life Sciences: Touching Stories from a Life-Improving Industry

Recent life science developments have yielded amazing products, including spinal cord stimulation technology and cochlear implants that restore hearing.

A recent industry outlook for the life sciences industry published by Deloitte mentions opportunities and concerns facing the life sciences industry.1 The concerns—as in former years—include managing costs, getting customers engaged and adjusting to a constantly shifting regulatory environment. The main opportunity identified by Deloitte for life science companies in 2017 is the early use of collaboration with patients and other key players as a risk reduction technique during the research and development and early product planning processes. After reading the Deloitte report, readers may come away with varying views of the life sciences industry. Those “glass half full” persons will focus on the opportunities named and those more in favor of the “glass half empty” viewpoint will find their attention on the imminent challenges of getting a life sciences product to market. However, regardless of anyone’s focus, it’s apparent from both viewpoints that useful innovation in the life sciences can result in life-saving products, happier lives—and if all goes well—increased revenue.

Real-Life Science

In an industry that has recently produced products as impactful as the birth control patch, non-invasive pill-sized cameras that can be ingested and used to assist in diagnosis and treatment, digital tattoos that reads the body’s health signals, bioartificial liver devices for support (until transplants are available) and tooth sensors for oral health monitoring, it’s very clear that it’s an exciting time to be in the life science industries. The research is challenging but the benefits are potentially limitless.2

Consider the following life science companies and the lives they’ve dramatically improved. Some of these descriptions and videos may leave you a bit emotional and that’s just fine. It’s just life science companies doing what they are supposed to…help people.
1   Boston Scientific: “There is nothing small about small moments.”
When a severe accident left Kevin, a young father, with extensive limitations and deep-seated pain, everyday life was difficult. With Boston Scientific’s spinal-cord stimulation technology, Kevin’s life, and his relationship with his family, has changed for the better.
Boston Scientific’s technology has dramatically altered many lives besides Kevin’s for the better. With ongoing research and solid business practices, the company is making great strides to improve lives every day.
2   Red Cross: “You gave me life.”  The Red Cross has long been known for their life-saving blood donation services. The stories from Red Cross patients never get old, especially for their loved ones. The Red Cross enjoys sharing these stories and since they had so many potential anecdotes to share, they decided to let past blood recipients do the talking! As a unique experiment the Red Cross delivered video cameras to the homes of former blood recipients and found that many were more than willing to tell their stories. 
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3    Cochlear Implants: “Can you hear your voice?” This video is one in a series of videos that Cochlear Implants has released to the public via YouTube. The cochlear implant products allow people of all ages to do something most people take for granted every day—hear! Seeing these videos might bring a few tears to any viewer’s eyes as it’s obvious that the recipients are deeply appreciative of these life science products.
4    BloodSource: “Her chances for survival were so grim that I didn’t even want to give her a name.” Any parent would understand the immediate devastation of seeing harm in any form come to their child. Sherri Aceituno’s new baby girl was born so early that her chances for survival were virtually non-existent. The tiny infant’s heart valves were not closing properly and she was in need of blood. Many babies can be saved with three teaspoons of a blood but could Sherri’s daughter? The answer was yes. Sherri’s daughter Camille was saved with BloodSource’s careful application of their blood donation services. Sherri named her daughter Camille and she is now 25 and headed for law school.

Working Together For Miracles

According to Deloitte’s outlook report for the life sciences industry: “Collaboration becomes the key theme in 2017---collaboration within the health care ecosystem, with patients, or internally. Many of the pressures that life sciences companies are under---whether cost, regulatory or operational---in some way, shape, or form, can be ameliorated by creating a platform for information and idea exchange.”3
It’s apparent based on the videos provided above that many life science companies have already made a habit of collaborating with their former, current or future patients and are working to create the solutions needed to improve their lives. 2017 may become the year that life science companies seek more of this type of collaboration earlier in the research and development process.
Marci Crane is a staff writer for GxP Lifeline who has been writing about life science topics since 2007.
Sources and Notes:
1. “Deloitte” is the brand under which tens of thousands of dedicated professionals in independent firms throughout the world collaborate to provide audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, tax, and related services to select clients. These firms are members of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”). Each DTTL member firm provides services in particular geographic areas and is subject to the laws and professional regulations of the particular country or countries in which it operates.
2. “25 Spectacular Inventions of the 21st Century”. 
3. “Life Sciences Industry Outlook 2017: What are the trends for US life sciences in the coming year?” _________________________________________________________________________________