“Our need will be the real creator” – Plato Despite being old, this proverb resonates well with the pharmaceutical industry’s current scenario. The sector is undergoing rapid change, and one of the essential aspects of this transformation is the expiring patents which contribute a major share of the revenues. The journey from developing a drug molecule to introducing it into the market depends on the speed and cost of the clinical trials – which focus on analyzing data to prove the efficacy and safety of each drug. Over the last three years, the drug development process has slowed due to the pandemic. Here’s how the pandemic has impacted the pharma industry: It shifted drug development goals and forced the pharma industry to address the calamity. Many large companies were compelled to focus on developing drugs to combat COVID-19, which meant devoting time, resources and money to this cause. Innovation did not stop but slowed down considerably impacting the entire drug development process. Developing new drugs requires huge amounts of data to be collected from clinical trials, which helps prove their efficacy and receive regulatory approval. The speed at which clinical trials were conducted also slowed due to the inaccessibility of patients. This pandemic will not be the last one, and we could face crisis equally or more severe in the future. Pharmaceutical companies must prepare for similar disruptions and ensure the innovation engine runs at full speed. Innovation is a continuous process, and the pharmaceutical industry is no stranger to this fact. It must consider how to utilize external interventions to innovate faster and more continuously Digital technologies are fully entrenched in the industry, and now is the time to use them to accelerate the drug development process. Specifically, digital could help pharma companies reduce dependencies on external factors for clinical trials, capture accurate data remotely and feed it back to the sources for analysis. During the pandemic, the major roadblock in the clinical trials industry was participant recruitment. Digital recruitment solutions that leverage online portals and social media have gained momentum. Quantum computing and digital pathology can help in silico drug development, which involves simultaneously developing 3D models of many compounds and simulating for lead compound identification. Besides ensuring data accuracy, it will help pharma companies develop new molecules faster, thereby hastening drug development. This process will improve accuracy by identifying patients at a greater risk of developing complications or providing early confirmation that the product is working as expected. Another digital revolution is “digital phenotyping”, which holds great potential for collecting patient data and reducing the dependency on clinic visits, laboratories or specialized medical instrumentation. Pharmaceutical companies are at an exciting juncture today. End-to-end digital solutions and virtual clinical trials are the need of the hour. With technologies advancing rapidly, they have an opportunity to use them to transform the entire drug development supply chain. Digital can become a catalyst in this process and help them shorten the clinical trial timelines and bring new drugs to the market. Eviden helps pharmaceutical companies accelerate the drug development process and reduce time to market. Connect with me to learn more about our solutions, and how we can help you on your digital journey.