Life sciences organizations

The Major Business Challenges of Life Sciences Organizations

Life sciences businesses both small and large usually have a long time horizon to get their products to market and must therefore ensure that they carefully manage risk at all stages in order to get an eventual return on their often lengthy research efforts. However, carefully controlling and risk managing their research efforts is not the only challenge faced and below are several further challenges that must be tackled also.

Dealing with the Shift to Personalized Medicine
The life sciences market has been moving towards more personalized medicine for some years now. Personalized medicine is a customized approach to healthcare with practices, and/or products being tailored to the individual patient. In this approachtreatments and drugs are applied based on the context of a patient’s genetic content or other molecular or cellular analysis.The now very low cost of mapping the human genome is a major driver behind this trend, and it’s only going to accelerate in the coming years. Life sciences companies will consequently face significantly more pressure to drive innovation and deliver new products in the personalized medicine arena.

Dealing with Greater Regulation
Regulatory requirements for quality management, proper drug trial serialization and traceability have always been long standing challenges in life sciences.But in recent years, the FDA and other standards organizations and authorities all over the world are applying additional regulations and expecting life science companies to have even better control of record keeping, general document control (especially when these are shared) cyber-security, cloud-based software validation, etc. This can all add considerably to the time and money it takes to get products to market.

The Need to Reduce Costs at all Levels
Certainly all over the western world, the population is both older in average years and likely to live much longer. As a result, the demand for new and better treatments and medicine is greater than its ever been and this is putting enormous pressure on costs to do more research but quicker and for the same or even a lower levels of cost. Life science companies are therefore under pressure to find innovative ways to lower expenses wherever they can.

Improving Supply Chain Management
As little as a decade ago, the term supply chain management or optimization would have meant little to senior leaders in life science organizations. Today however, this is near the top of the list for challenges to be tackled. Managing the whole supply chain involvesfinding ways to be highly efficient in design, planning, execution, control, as well as building a competitive distribution and warehousing infrastructure, leveraging international logistics, synchronizing supply with demand and measuring performance. A successful life science company has to do all of these with as many as 15 or 20 relationships with third party suppliers or partners.

Finding the Right Collaborative Partner(s)
Life science companies that can effectively optimize people, process, and technology resources are likely to be the most successful in the future. In today’s fast-changing and highly competitive world this is a difficult set of goals to achieve alone and so-called strategic partnerships and alliances are therefore sought to spread the risk and to create better “centers of excellence”. However, finding the right collaborative partner is the challenge here, both in terms of technical competence and organizational culture.

Life sciences companies must already manage long cycle times from initial research to final product approval and marketing and the risk that goes with this journey at every stage. However, there are other challenges that also need consideration and should also be on the radar of every senior leader. RX4 has experienced all of these life science organization business challenges in many different healthcare environments and can provide considerable insight and options where the knowledge is limited or does not exist internally.

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Dr Jon Warner

Dr. Jon Warner
CEO-RX4 Group-Taking Care of the Business of Healthcare

Jon is the CEO of RX4 Group based in Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at

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