“The Biotech and Pharma sectors are vibrant industries” – Dr Malcom Barratt-Johnson
On Tuesday November 8th, Dr Malcom Barratt-Johnson from PharmaMedic Consultancy Ltd talked to us about the future of clinical research in relation with the biotech industry. He started his talk by saying ‘As a pharmacist/medic, your job is to look after patients’. The talk delivered was very encouraging for individuals wanting to join the pharma industry. A strong emphasis on being in the middle of a breakthrough era in biology and chemistry has shed light on the limitless opportunities this industry has to offer. With organizations like Medcity, LBIC (London BioScience Innovation Center) and the Wellcome Trust, all in London, the UK pharma and healthcare sector is bound to grow.
In today’s world, innovation is a term that comes up often, and essentially defines what the future of the pharmaceutical industry needs. Dr. Barratt-Johnson stated that we are in the ‘age of the unicorns’, a term that refers to startups that are valued at $1 billion. All these unicorn companies (e.g. Intarcia Therapeutics, GuaHoa and Stratified Medical) are considered innovative startups that are revolutionizing the healthcare sector, from immunotherapy to treat cancer, all the way to apps that allow you to find doctors in your neighborhood and instantly book appointments. These startups are valued so high because they targeted a niche market and successfully filled the gap. Investors saw the potential in these startups, but more importantly, patients felt like their voices were heard and their needs were met.
Dr. Barratt-Johnson ended his talk with a secret about innovation, stating, ‘Collaboration across different industries is key’. The pharmaceutical sector must interact with the tech sector for growth; whether it is developing apps for patients to use or creating the next state-of-the-art lab machinery, the merging of knowledge from both sectors is crucial. A great lesson to take from this talk is that tomorrow’s innovation must prioritize patients before profits. Satisfying un-met clinical needs and improving overall patient services will be pivotal in this area.