The pharmaceutical and chemical industry will ensure better quality healthcare and the chemical industry will become a key enabler of emission reductions, with both industries enabling wider positive change across other sectors.
By 2050, we see the pharmaceutical and chemical industries facing increasing regulation around how they use and dispose of resources. These industries need to design efficiency into products from a concept stage – rather than just treating the generated waste at the end.
Traditional ways of working will give way to more dynamic operations and models. This will include increased collaboration across both industries and reimagining how products are manufactured and sold in order to create new efficiencies.
Collaboration and convergence
The convergence of technologies will create opportunities to partner with competitors, customers and businesses in other sectors, leading to more innovative products.
Within the pharmaceutical industry, increasing costs and declining healthcare investment are creating a squeeze. We expect a growing number of alternative business models like pay-for-performance emerging to forge a closer link between value and effectiveness.
Advances in 3D printing technology might make it possible for the pharmaceutical industry to stop manufacturing entirely, instead focusing on blueprints and leaving most of the production to chemists.
In 2050, we expect a shift from generic drugs to customised treatments designed around the patient, rather than the illness.
Data will drive customisation
We’ll see a considerable increase in the volume and sophistication of data, particularly through wearable devices, such as today’s Fitbit and Apple Watch, which will bring about more tailored treatment plans. The testing and launch of new drugs may also speed up through access to live patient data, reducing dependence on long and costly clinical trials.
Biotechnology is a different way of producing chemicals and pharmaceuticals, harnessing the power of living cells and getting them to work in predictable and controllable ways.
An evolving opportunity
McKinsey claims that biopharma is growing at more than double the rate of conventional pharma and this is expected to continue into the foreseeable future. We also expect to see companies, particularly those related to food and agriculture, focus on the types of molecules that exist within their waste. These could ultimately be sold to the pharma industry.