As 2015 comes to an end, it’s time to start thinking about 2016 and the future of the life sciences industry. For this exercise I interviewed our Vice President of Life Sciences at my company, Dassault Systemes (3DS), Jean Colombel, to get his thoughts on key trends in Life Sciences.
Jennifer: What are some of the key trends in the industry, particularly interesting to 3DS?
Jean Colombel (JC): I see the Life Sciences industry moving closer and closer to “precision medicine” helping target the right therapy to treat a specific disease – and not just treating the symptoms. Today, around the world, medical teams are using 3D modeling to produce precise representations of patients’ anatomies. This enables these teams to plan and rehearse complex surgeries, and to produce life-saving implants and prostheses tailor-made for individual patients. In the case of The Living Heart project, cardiologists may soon use finite element analysis (FEA) models to predict how the disease will progress in different patients and, ultimately, design individualized treatment plans.
However, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. The true revolution in medicine and medical care in the 21st century will not come from such physical models, but from virtual ones. One day, these virtual models will be able to simulate the true physiology and pathophysiology of a full human being – even an individual patient – changing forever the way we research, diagnose and treat injuries and disease. Welcome to the dawn of BioIntelligence.
Jennifer: What else do you see happening? Any new products or interesting technologies on the horizon?
JC: I think there is going to be a movement towards more “combination products” that leverage both pharmaceutical therapies and device technologies to treat complex problems more simply – solutions like drug-eluting stents, medically coated implants and transdermal patches, for example.
This past August we saw the FDA approved, 3D printed, custom ordered drug for treating seizures in certain children and adults with epilepsy, ushering in a new era where drugs can be custom-ordered based on specific patient needs, rather than a “one-product-fits-all” approach.
This requires a multi-disciplined approach where chemists, biologists, are working collaboratively with engineers – perhaps all over the world.
This year, we also saw the first advances in additive manufacturing technologies providing for the acceleration in design, prototyping, tooling and direct manufacturing technologies.
3-D Printing technology combined with advanced 2D/3D imaging and advanced 3-D CAD provides the ability for the first time to develop and deliver upon personalized medicine, vs. one-size-fits-all approach that isn’t optimal for healing and recovery. 3-D Printing allows for the rapid prototyping of medical devices, allowing for highly complex, geometric shapes and features to be quickly developed. Examples include: Custom Made Heart Values, Orthopedic Implants, artificial hands.
Jennifer: And what about mobile health and the explosion of technology in the healthcare sector. Any interesting insights there?
JC: I think we will see the emergence of brand new devices that support the “digital health” movement – solutions that leverage mobility, cloud, and wearable sensors –empowering us to better track, manage, and improve our own and our family’s health, live better, and more productive lives.
Remote Monitoring and Tele-Health are one of the fastest growing market segments in healthcare in the US and other regions. The integration of smart sensors couple with Remote Monitoring and Tele-Health can enable advanced decision making and feedback algorithms. The main drivers are:
- Preventive care vs. reactive care in reducing the onset in complications especially among the elderly population and patients with chronic conditions. Reducing hospital ER re-admissions which is costly
- Reducing physician office visits which can be conducted through remote Tele-Health virtual calls
- Coaching / advising to help shape long-term improvements
- Compliance monitoring adherence to patient care plans and if needed be able to make changes to daily care plans and medications.
- Providing care to patients in rural and or remote areas
Jennifer: Are there any unique trends happening in some geographies, perhaps more than others?
JC: In the Americas, the Life Sciences industry will start working more closely with the larger technology companies as mobile-health, cloud, and wearables become more important to the healthcare industry at large and health consumer interests grow.
In Europe, the Life Sciences industry will move to a fully multi-disciplined approach to therapeutics discovery and device development. We’ll see more collaboration between scientific disciplines and between actors like pharmaceutical & biotech companies, research labs, health service providers and computer companies.
And In Asia, the Life Sciences industry will leverage more telemedicine technology – where physicians will virtually navigate around a hospital to view and converse with patients and even perform exams and surgeries from a remote location.
Jennifer: Thank you Jean for your insight on these exciting trends. Any final thoughts on trends in LS?
JC: The Life Sciences industry is a very exciting place to be, and 2-3 years down the road, I expect to see precision medicine becoming a true reality in the lives of everyone. With digital health driving the industry forward, health consumers taking playing a more active role in their health and medical choices, and technologies enabling faster, more efficient, and effective therapies in the market, the future is very bright for the nearly 8 billion human beings worldwide
Jean Colombel is the Vice President of the Life Sciences Industry at Dassault Systèmes (3DS) and is responsible for creating and developing 3DS strategy and associated solutions for pharmaceutical, medical devices and patient care industry segments.
Note: To Learn more about the innovations happening here at Dassault Systemes, we encourage you to visit our 3DEXPERIENCE FORUM North America event site where Life Sciences will be one of our featured Industries, and Jean Colombel will presenting in Boston on November 16, 2015.