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In our latest report, Trends in the Life Sciences Industry, Summer Edition, we explain the latest trends in the areas of Biopharma, Diagnostics, Digital Medicine, Medical Devices and Biomaterials – ranking them for innovation, impact and predicted market relevance. Conor O'Sullivan, Head of Life Sciences, details the impressive progress made so far.

The life sciences industry has had some tremendous achievements over the last year, in many cases, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This pace of change is set to continue as disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and 3D printing move centre stage in enabling further advancement of solutions within the industry.

The information used in the report is based on our experts' assessments and a thorough analysis of external data. For a better overview, we have divided all trends into the categories of Biopharma, Diagnostics, Digital Medicine and Medical Devices & Biomaterials.

Better vaccines, reduction of racial inequalities in diagnostics

In Biopharma, we highlight innovations such as personalised therapeutic cancer vaccinations based on mRNA technology. Individual patients are being examined for tumour-specific mutations so that an individual mRNA can be created. Research is also focusing on better, more widely effective vaccines, for example as a means of protecting against multiple coronavirus strains at the same time. 

In Diagnostics, artificial intelligence (AI) may in future be able to reduce racial inequalities. Using large databases of X-rays, AI can assess patients' pains significantly more accurate than doctors. Another trend is quicker and better magnetic resonance imaging based on AI.

In Digital Medicine, researchers may in future be able to use virtual reality technology (VR) to visualise and interact and even “stand within cells” in a VR environment. This technology has already been deployed to simulate the effect of SARS-CoV-2 medication. And VR can also be used for other things, for example using a smartphone app to provide therapy for a fear of heights. 

Another trend in Digital Medicine are virtual twins. With this technology, doctors initially use a digital version of a patient containing genetic information (among other things). Digital twins can help to develop and test individual medicine while saving costs and recognising unwanted side-effects in advance. 

E-Immunotherapy & individual implants from the 3D printer

In Medical Devices and Biomaterials one identified trend is e-immunotherapy. E-immunotherapy could replace invasive methods, for example as therapy for autoimmune diseases. It involves electric stimulation of the brain, helping it to make neurological connections to re-establish control over the immune function.

Another development in this category are personalised implants from the 3D printer. These implants could help avoid extra operations and thus extra risks for patients, improve the healing process and prevent long-term complications. And they could be supplemented by smart implants, which monitor the healing process in the body. 

A further trend in Medical Devices and Biomaterials are electronic blood vessels, which are placed into the patient's body to serve as a platform for gene therapy or for medication monitoring. In combination with artificial intelligence, they could also be used to collect and store health data. 

This report is part of our "Trends in the Life Sciences Industry" series and follows on from the winter edition, which was published at the end of 2020. 

Get in touch

COVID-19 is challenging leaders like never before. To find out more about how KPMG perspectives and fresh thinking can help you focus on what’s next for your business or organisation, please get in touch with Conor O'Sullivan, Head of Life Sciences. We’d be delighted to hear from you.