The cost of developing new drugs averages about $500,000 a day over 12 to 14 years (~$2.5B average cost per new drug). This high development spend has not translated into a meaningful number of additional new medical entities approved by the FDA (about ~35 per year).
High development costs and thin pipelines have led many companies to shift towards a strategy of acquiring new drugs by purchasing BioTechs. Increasingly though, pharma finds itself in bidding wars to acquire the same few companies, often eliminating market efficiencies.
Is it back to square one for pharma companies?
Not necessarily. The biggest opportunity and the single best return on investment for pharma companies is the elusive quest for the efficient lab.
Given the rate of technology change every five years, labs that have not conducted a top to bottom review of technologies, applications and processes are missing out on opportunities to increase efficiency.
A number of recent factors are transforming the lab:
- Automation, miniaturization, and mobilization continue to upend lab design and processes, enabling lab staff to do more in less time
- Consumer technology is coming into the lab, and is driving staff expectations of ease of use and user experience
- Data overload is here! What lab staff can do, and should do, with all that data is both a distraction and an opportunity
- How to adhere and comply to regulations have often not kept pace with recent advances in technology, resulting in complex and burdensome standard operating procedures (SOPs). Lab staff often suffer from training fatigue.
Making your lab a competitive advantage
An efficient lab is both a competitive advantage and a driver of enterprise value. Combining innovation with the principles of workforce optimization can help labs remain efficient in an environment of growing complexity, customer expectation, regulation and exponential proliferation of data. These principles include:
- Lab process value stream – identify the core, end-to-end value stream of lab operations to highlight both the drivers of value and the sources of productivity leakage
- Lab governance – establish clear roles and responsibilities with respect to lab approvals, prioritization, and accountability to make better decisions faster
- Lab standard operating procedures – establish fit-for-purpose SOPs and work methods based on best practices and continuously improving productivity benchmarks
- Lab equipment utilization – implement LEAN tools to optimize the scheduling and sequencing of lab tests to maximize equipment utilization and test changeover cycle-times
High-performing labs will be recognized for both innovation AND efficiency. Those that can adapt will remain laser focused on the drivers of value in order to get the most out of their lab operations.