The urgent, shared global race to develop an effective vaccine for the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) dramatically illustrates how the unexpected onset and rapid spread of an infectious disease can upend established biopharmaceutical R&D processes, timetables, and collaborations. It also increases conjecture about other existing and/or emerging forces that may disrupt the biopharma industry’s identification, prevention, and treatment of diseases in the coming decades.
Based on interviews with industry experts, we identified five forces that are likely to alter the course of the biopharmaceutical sector and reshape business models between now and 2040 (figure 1):
These five forces represent both opportunities and threats to biopharma incumbents. Company leaders should consider the trends’ independent and collective potential for disruption as they redefine the types of products and solutions they will offer, where they will compete, and the new capabilities they will require. Those organizations which take steps today to reimagine and reshape their business models are the ones more likely to thrive in the future.
The five forces of change
Interview participants cited five forces that are already beginning to impact biopharma companies but are likely to disrupt the status quo more dramatically in the years ahead. These forces—driven by players inside and outside biopharma—are listed in order of their potential