Most of us take medication on at least a weekly basis. Whether it’s the paracetamol you take for a headache or your daily contraceptive pill, we don’t often think of where that tablet has come from.
However, in reality, there’s an entire team of researchers and manufacturers that allow that product to get from the lab into your hands. In the US alone, approximately 50 new drugs are manufactured and approved by the FDA in a given year.
But what does the future hold for this valuable manufacturing industry? From changes in working style to increased use of technology, here are the upcoming changes we can expect to see in pharmaceutical manufacturing.
1. More Outsourcing
In a world where healthcare professions require increasing levels of expertise, it’s harder for companies to find the right staff for particular projects.
What’s more, healthcare companies don’t want to hire a whole new team of employees just for one manufacturing project.
The solution? Outsourcing. An increasing number of companies are outsourcing pharmaceutical production to other expert companies that provide services such as aseptic liquid filling or bioconjugation.
Outsourcing these services streamlines processes and allows large organizations to save money on staffing. This trend is set to continue well into the rest of the decade.
1. Increased Use of AI
When people picture AI, many think of a robot such as Alexa, but artificial intelligence can come in many forms, including automation. Supercomputers, a form of AI, is now being used increasingly in the drug discovery landscape.
In fact, third-party investment in AI drug discovery has more than doubled annually over the past five years – and for good reason.
AI algorithms transform many common discovery tasks such as molecule design, which reduces the manual workload of healthcare scientists. The more time scientists have free, the more projects they can focus on at once, increasing the annual average output of pharmaceutical companies.
2. More Personalized Medicine
Twenty years ago if you’d asked somebody how many steps they walked or calories they burned on a given day, they’d probably have looked at you blankly. Now, however, people walk around with data centers on their wrists in the form of fitness watches.
Many of the most popular fitness watches currently on the market go way beyond the functionality of a pedometer. They can measure health markers such as blood oxygen level and heart rate, providing healthcare providers with valuable information.
Big data is incredibly useful for drug manufacturing because drug companies can track the effect medication has on the human body in more detail, then use this data to inform their future research.
We can expect to see an increased use of data in future drug manufacturing trials.
3. A Widespread Embrace of the Cloud
As the security of cloud storage solutions increases and the cost decreases, more and more companies are adopting cloud computing in full force.
Sharing data via the cloud allows for easier sharing of information and the expansion of IoT capabilities, both of which are necessary for more efficient pharmaceutical manufacturing.
The majority of the manufacturing changes we can expect to say in the next decade relate to technology and its use in healthcare. With the support of AI, data, the cloud, and expert outsourcing companies, drug manufacturing will continue to evolve.