Smart Pharma – Thematic Research

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The COVID-19 pandemic acted as a trigger and accelerated the uptake of smart technologies across the pharmaceutical sector. Unsustainable pharmaceutical business models and the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic have illustrated a strong need for innovation to improve business agility, continuity, and resilience. Innovative technologies offer the pharmaceutical industry the ability to increase efficiency, create agile operational models, and innovate processes within its value chain. Companies that embrace smart technologies more quickly will be better positioned to gain a competitive advantage and reduce financial risks. With the increased use of innovations such as remote patient monitoring (wearables, telemedicine, and digital health, the emphasis on patient centricity instead of brand centricity will continue to change the pharma industry’s drug development and marketing strategies.

Smart technologies include IoT and sensors, artificial intelligence, big data/ analytics, robotics, blockchain, cloud, 5G, and others. AI and Big Data will continue to dominate as the main disruptive technologies in the pharmaceutical sector.

Benefits of Smart Technology Integration

The unsustainable pharmaceutical business models and the COVID-19 pandemic uncovered a strong need for innovation in the sector in order to increase business agility and resilience. Across all regions, the majority of the surveyed healthcare industry professionals highlighted the fact that the pharma industry needs to capitalize on innovations to gain real-time visibility across its value chain, improve both operational processes and efficiency, get better integrity and usage of Big Data, facilitate a shift toward patient centricity, and improve the R&D processes.

Challenges that Can be Resolved Using Smart Technologies

Challenges that Can be Resolved Using Smart Technologies

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Smart Technologies in Drug Discovery and Development

AI and big data/analytics are expected to play a major role in optimizing drug discovery and development processes. The pharmaceutical industry is data-driven. With the increasing volume and complexity of data being generated by the sector from multiple sources, the need to organize and streamline information is a constant challenge.

Smart Technologies in Manufacturing

The use of robotics in the pharmaceutical industry is neither new nor uncommon. However, as technologies advance, improvements in automation technology can lead to substantial enhancements beyond productivity increases.  The implementation of robotics can result in better compliance, consistency, and operational excellence. With improved product safety, patient safety can be improved as well.

Smart Technologies in Supply Chains

Globalization has resulted in the use of increasingly complex, but weakly connected, pharmaceutical supply chains. Lack of visibility is a common root of many challenges faced by the industry. By disrupting nearly every part of supply chains across the entire healthcare industry, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted a strong need for improvement and change. The pandemic uncovered inconsistencies in inventory management practices and long-established procurement processes.

Smart Technologies in Sales and Marketing

For many companies, the success of a new drug depends on how well it is marketed and what ROI is generated. From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional in-person sales representative visits sharply declined due to both social distancing and lockdown measures. Pharmaceutical companies were forced to adapt rapidly to this new world and train sales representatives to use virtual tools to stay connected with physicians Increasing reliance on the internet to access information was also pushing pharma companies to improve end-user experiences with their products and services.

Disruptive Emerging Technologies

AI, big data, APIs and digital platforms, social media, cloud computing, cybersecurity, 5G, and biometrics are some of the most emerging smart technologies in pharma.  The growing field of AI is drawing increasing amounts of interest from pharma, which hopes that it can help deliver new pipeline candidates faster and more efficiently. AI and Big Data in healthcare are linked Use of the former will continue to grow rapidly, especially when considering the amount of data that can now be mined from patient records and registries, real world evidence (sales and marketing, and connected devices

Closer Look at AI and Big Data in Pharma

Closer Look at AI and Big Data in Pharma

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Smart Pharma Report Overview

Report Pages 99
Regions Covered Global
Emerging Smart Technologies IoT and Sensors, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data/ Analytics, Robotics, Blockchain, Cloud, 5G, and Others


  • In this Smart Pharma report, GlobalData examines the integration of smart technologies across the pharmaceutical industry value chain, assesses COVID-19 impact on the uptake of smart technologies in pharma and the importance of partnering with technology vendors to enable a roll-out of innovative technologies.
  • A total of 155 GlobalData Pharma clients and prospects participated in the 10-minute survey, which was fielded from April 21, 2021, to May 18, 2021.
  • In this report, smart pharma refers to the incorporation of new technologies to improve and enhance processes such as drug development, manufacturing, supply chains, and sales and marketing.

Components of the report include:

  • Adoption of Smart Technologies in Pharma — highlights the main challenges and benefits associated with the implementation of smart technologies within the pharmaceutical industry providing respondent mix by region and company size.
  • Drug Discovery and Development – assesses the smart technologies that are expected to play a major role in optimizing drug discovery and development process and highlights the current and future technologies uptake.
  • Manufacturing – examines the smart technologies that are expected to play a major role in optimizing pharmaceutical manufacturing process and highlights the current and future technologies uptake.
  • Supply Chains – evaluates the smart technologies that are expected to play a major role in optimizing supply chains and highlights the current and future technologies uptake.
  • Sales and marketing – assesses the smart technologies that are expected to play a major role in optimizing sales and marketing process and highlights the current and future technologies uptake.
  • Pharma and Tech Collaborations – showcases how the pharmaceutical industry is partnering with external technology vendors to increase the implementation speed, efficiency, and reliability of new technologies.
  • A Closer Look at Big Data and AI — highlights the importance of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data in the pharmaceutical industry.
  • COVID-19 Impact – assesses COVID-19’s impact on the acceleration of smart technologies uptake.

Reasons to Buy

  • Discover the benefits and challenges associated with integrating smart or innovative technologies into the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Explore how smart technologies are transforming the pharmaceutical industry value chain and what impact on the pharmaceutical sector these technologies will bring.
  • Develop and design your corporate strategies by understanding which technologies are set to play a major role in transforming the pharmaceutical value chain.
  • Identify how the pharmaceutical industry is partnering with external technology vendors to increase the implementation speed, efficiency, and reliability of new technologies.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19’s impact on the acceleration of smart technologies uptake.

Table of Contents

1 Study Design

1.1 Respondent Mix

1.2 Objectives and Design

1.3 Respondent Profiles

2 Key Findings

2.1 Key Findings

3 Adoption of Smart Technologies in Pharma

3.1 Digital Transformation Strategies

3.2 Challenges Impact the Entire Pharma Value Chain

3.3 Smart Technologies Can Be Used to Help Address These Challenges

3.4 Benefits and Challenges of Smart Technology Integration

3.5 Challenges to Integrating Smart Technologies Into Pharma

3.6 Anticipated Impact of Incorporating Smart Technologies Into Pharma Value Chains

3.7 Drug Development to Benefit the Most From Smart Technologies

4 Drug Discovery and Development

4.1 R&D Productivity

4.2 Smart Technologies in Drug Discovery and Development

4.3 Smart Technologies in Drug Discovery and Development – Respondents’ Perspective

4.4 Increasing Number of AI-Based Drug Discovery Partnerships with Big Pharma

4.5 Case Studies

5 Manufacturing

5.1 Smart Technologies in Manufacturing

5.2 The Future of Robotics in Manufacturing

5.3 Smart Technologies in Manufacturing – Respondents’ Perspective

5.4 Case Studies

6 Supply Chains

6.1 Smart Technologies in Supply Chains

6.2 The Future of the Blockchain in Pharmaceutical Supply Chains

6.3 Smart Technologies in Supply Chains – Respondents’ Perspective

6.4 Case Studies

7 Sales and Marketing

7.1 Smart Technologies in Sales and Marketing

7.2 Hiring Trends in Pharma Business Intelligence

7.3 Impact of COVID-19 on Physician Interactions with Pharma Sales Reps

7.4 Smart Technologies in Sales and Marketing – Respondents’ Perspective

7.5 Case Studies

8 Pharma and Tech Collaborations

8.1 Collaboration Between Pharmaceutical Industry and Tech

8.2 Case Studies

9 A Closer Look at Big Data and AI

9.1 Disruptive Emerging Technologies

9.2 Emerging Technologies – A Closer Look at AI and Big Data

9.3 Artificial Intelligence – A Closer Look

9.4 Big Data/Analytics – A Closer Look

9.5 Job Analytics Data – AI

9.6 Job Analytics Data – Big Data

10 COVID-19 Impact

10.1 Digital Transformation and COVID-19

10.2 COVID-19’s Impact on Technologies Uptake

11 Summary of Key Findings

11.1 Summary of Key Findings

12 Appendix

12.1 Bibliography

12.2 Drug Development Scorecard – Artificial Intelligence

12.3 Key Themes Impacting the Pharmaceutical Industry

12.4 Our Thematic Research Methodology

12.5 About the Authors

13 Contact Us

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