Life Sciences Post COVID-19

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Life sciences companies, and the healthcare sector in general, are under pressure to increase R&D productivity in therapies and drugs, regardless of whether they are traditional pharma, med-tech, or new entrants focused on consumer health. The cost and complexity of healthcare must be reined in, and conflicting incentives for the healthcare ecosystem need to be resolved.
The stark reality is that Covid-19 has revealed to the world that drug discovery, releasing diagnostic kits, conducting clinical trials, and launching therapies happen in slow motion. Fighting the pandemic requires much faster processes. At the same time, there are significant opportunities for life sciences companies to drive digital innovation and offerings beyond traditional therapies that inform health decisions, improve efficacy, and drive better patient outcomes.


The Covid-19 pandemic and the global lockdown have upended every industry sector, some positively, but most negatively. For life sciences companies, it has been a wakeup call to do things differently. The pain and opportunity are not evenly distributed. Altran, part of Capgemini, has identified four areas of business activity for how companies can accelerate business recovery driven by product development and service innovation.

Customer expectations for product and service experiences will be different than before the pandemic, so companies must continuously level-set on their customers’ new realities.

Social and physical distancing and other restrictions will be part of our lives and will influence our behavior for the foreseeable future. Life sciences companies are now aware that customers have new expectations about how fast drugs and therapies need to be launched, so they align with their needs and wants. This includes the vaccine for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is the cause of Covid-19.

As the world deals with the pandemic, consumers and businesses will focus on safety and cleanliness, such as decontaminating homes and work areas, wearing masks and gloves, and monitoring worker and family health. Companies will use surveillance apps and artificial intelligence to track health status, and touchless technology will be used to minimize contamination. There are plenty of opportunities for customers to experiment with new digital platforms and emerging technology applications to help accelerate the recovery.

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We won’t snap back to the way we worked before. Many companies will reevaluate their global supply chains and streamline the way their people work together, virtually and more autonomously. They must monitor employee wellbeing as part of the “new normal” to ensure a safe and secure work environment.

At the top of the list of urgent actions for global life sciences companies in the new normal is bringing people back to work safely—in offices, factories and facilities—while maintaining the option for virtual work without compromising security or increasing risk. Just as urgent is the need to ensure supply chains are resilient, meet customer delivery and service expectations, and minimize cost, complexity, and risk.

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Companies will accelerate the differentiation of their offerings, so services play an even more critical role, including digital platforms, engineering automation, and broader collaboration to solve challenging problems more quickly.

Life sciences and healthcare companies build essential products and services that people use every day. That will not change. But the way they design, develop and produce them will. The necessity of social distancing, even after companies get back to work, is a catalyst to increase automation in factories, offices, and other facilities. Cloud-native companies and those in the process of transitioning to cloud-based digital platforms have done well in the crisis as consumer demand fluctuates.

Whether it’s the manufacture of drugs, delivery of digital health platforms, or heart monitors, the common thread for life sciences companies is to accelerate digital transformation to drive innovation. Applications include everything from gaining deeper data insights, computational and model-based engineering, virtual analysis, and digital continuity to reduce cost and streamline operation. It is abundantly clear that differentiated offerings must align with an increasingly virtualized economy and where the service is as important as the physical product.

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Covid-19 is a tailwind for companies to consider stakeholder demands for greater environmental responsibility that will impact the R&D agenda for initiatives in aerospace, preventative healthcare, smart cities, urban mobility, green flight, and other areas.

Governments and businesses will learn many lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic. The most profound may be the newfound awareness of our planet-centricity and the fragility of our interdependencies. There is an appreciation that we are one planet, regardless of national boundaries, and we have become more acutely aware of the need for more equitable healthcare, the importance of addressing climate change and bringing prosperity to all people.

The pandemic informs our approach for dealing with these global challenges and the need for governments and businesses to embrace international collaboration with a focus on prevention and preparedness. This focus is more sustainable and humane than dealing with the trauma and cost of the medical treatment of sick patients.

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Life Sciences