Friday, May 28, 2010

How pharma and biotech have reacted to the recession

New reports are coming out on the effects of the recession on pharmaceuticals and biotech. And for a change, things aren't looking so grim. The world’s established biotech companies reached profitability for the first time in history in 2009, according to Ernst and Young's Beyond borders: global biotechnology report 2010.

However, companies continue to face a challenging funding climate, causing them to operate under what E&Y calls a "new normal." More analysis is in Ernst and Young's press release announcing the report findings, and one point in particular stood out for me.

"The biggest opportunities in this new normal will come from increasing efficiency: more efficient ways to fund innovation and achieve returns for investors, better outcomes for every dollar of health care spending, and more efficient R&D and operations at drug companies," states the release.

Maureen Martino also picked up on this point in her coverage of the report on FierceBiotech. I'd encourage you to give her article a read. In my opinion though, some biotechs began operating under this new normal before 2009. As I wrote in the comments on Maureen's article, some of them were using ProtoSphere to create high-performance virtual workplaces for global teaming.

These companies saw the trend to increase efficiency coming long before the economy flopped. We were already working together to get them communicating and collaborating in ProtoSphere to improve the productivity of their dispersed workforces. Today, biotech, pharma, and other life sciences companies alike are investing more in virtual collaboration.

Ernst and Young's report gives us an international view of the biotech industry. But it's also worthwhile to look at regional trends. Medical News Today published a good roundup of how the recession is affecting biotechs across the nation, looking at regions such as Illinois, Florida, and California.

There are some solid stats in there about jobs and growth. By and large, the numbers are showing increases in employment in most areas. However, one thing these companies shouldn't lose sight of is how to ensure their new and growing workforce is efficient and productive.

I explained this more in a comment on the article, but the gist is this: To really cut the cost of global collaboration, you've got to cut the cost of travel without cutting the ability to speed collaborative decision-making throughout the product lifecycle. That requires virtual collaborative workplaces. This is the impetus behind our new partnership with RWD.

So give Medical News Today's article a read-through, and then take a look at my thoughts. What's your opinion? For those of you in biotech and pharma, is your workforce growing? Are you putting plans in place to ensure teams can cost-effectively communicate and collaborate?

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