At BIO 2018, digital technologies in pharma are gaining steam

By Dave Muoio

Digital technologies are cementing their place across healthcare, and the pharmaceutical sector is no exception.

This week Boston was host to the Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s annual conference, a multi-day gathering of leading pharma and biotech leaders from across the globe. While, admittedly, digital health wasn’t always the primary interest of many attendees and speakers, it was clear that the potential impact of these technologies was on the minds of pharma industry executives.

“Technology is redefining the relationships between the different stakeholders of the healthcare marketplace — patients, physicians, pharmaceutical companies, payers,” Albert Bourla, chief operating officer of Pfizer, said during an on-stage interview “I would say that for the first time in decades, those relationships and the business model that was defining these relationships, it is ripe for disruption … and all of that [is] happening now as we speak, and will create a very different healthcare environment.”

For Bourla, examples of these changes can already be seen with artificial intelligence and wearable sensor-driven drug discovery, or through the real-time remote monitoring technologies allowing physicians to intervene with personalized therapies. Johnson & Johnson’s Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels, on the other hand, pointed to large-scale data collection and electronic repositories as an area of excitement for drugmakers.

“I’m very excited by the large-scale databases which are now being created, where you learn failure and success,” he said during a session. “I think that’s where we’re going to learn most from — from EMRs, where you have a larger group of people, populations, and really failure and success in the long term. And there, the countries with good EMRs and good medical records will have a real advantage to learn from, and that’ll be a real source of insights for medicine.”

MobiHealthNews was on site all week at BIO 2018 to catch the pharma industry’s latest thoughts on digital technologies. See below for links to our coverage:

Pharma enthusiastic for digital medicine, but some roadblocks remain

Rising use of consumer devices in clinical trials has pharma hungry for data standards

Investors discuss booming, yet crowded, digital health industry at BIO 201

Former Apple CEO John Sculley talks healthcare's cultural stagnation, impact of Apple, Amazon

Novartis VP: Digital therapeutics, like pills, are just another kind of treatment

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