Digital Insights: Pharma 3.0: Will Slow & Steady Win the Race?

According to a recent Ernst & Young Report, Big Pharma, while struggling to prosper in both the Pharma 1.0 business model, and the Pharma 2.0 model has been surpassed by a "Pharma 3.0 ecosystem."

By Michele Vaccarello Wagner, Senior Digital Editor

According to a recent Ernst & Young Report, Big Pharma, while struggling to prosper in both the Pharma 1.0 business model (i.e., the blockbuster model), and the Pharma 2.0 model (i.e., targeted therapies and broad portfolios), has been surpassed by a “Pharma 3.0 ecosystem.” E&Y finds this new breeding ground to be comprised of established industry members, nontraditional companies and an increasingly informed data-empowered consumer. But what does this mean and are pharmaceutical companies doomed by FDA to stay treading the waters of Pharma 2.0?

According to the report, while the pharma industry will most likely continue to strategize in a Pharma 2.0 environment, they will also be forced to collaborate with non-traditional IT and telecommunications companies to connect with patients, improve operations and data analysis and stay current with the technological revolution. This is Pharma 3.0. With steadfast FDA regulation, the industry has been slow to utilize these technologies, but some companies have already embraced society’s reliance on smart electronics or at least plan to amend their business models.

Of the 24 largest global pharmaceutical companies E&Y surveyed, 92% of respondents believe new entrants will enter the Pharma 3.0 ecosystem, with e-health, mobile-health and new medical technology firms being the most likely new additions. But with all these firms, Google Health and many health-related apps for Apple's iPhone, how long it will take for pharmaceuticals to adapt to this trend and use it to their advantage?

According to E&Y, Novartis has already partnered with an IT company to develop a “smart pill” which will transmit data and vital signs via a pill sensor. J&J has established an iPhone application which allows diabetes patients to upload and manage their glucose information and the CareConnector app which allows patients to keep track of their prescription doses, while Bayer’s Didget glucometer connects to Nintendo gaming systems so children can easily monitor their blood sugar.

On the supplier side, Symyx has introduced an iPhone app called ChemiMobi that provides scientists with over 30 million chemical structures, properties and suppliers. iPhones or iPod touches could also be used in many places where PC’s are impractical such as places where lab methods, SOP’s and batch records need to be but paper copies are not allowed.

It seems Big Pharma is at the cusp of Pharma 3.0, but with new innovation and business models being an absolute necessity for growth, will they make IT and telecommunication partnerships a priority? Will the FDA provide guidance for such uncharted territory? Or will pharmaceutical companies remain struggling in the current Pharma 2.0 business model?

What do you think? Email us: mvaccarello@putman.net.

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