Amidst advances in science and technology, changing lobal healthcare markets and patient needs, the pharma nd biopharmaceutical industry’s R&D efforts and business models continue to evolve.
Among the trends and changes within the industry, specialty
pharma is growing, representing a significant number of drug
product approvals in the U.S. As such, pharma companies increasingly need to diversify their portfolios to remain competitive. Also, pharma companies have to go beyond proving efficacy
to justify reimbursement by payers, and global markets bring disparate regulations and healthcare systems, which in turn adds to
R&D timelines and costs.
These variables create new objectives for the industry as well
as challenges and costs. As a result, numerous M&A’s and divestitures have taken place as pharma companies look to realign strategy, grow revenue streams and reduce escalating expenditures.
John Corcoran, president and founder of Trinity Partners discusses these new challenges and where the biggest opportunities
for pharma/biopharma lie.
Kristin Brooks: Please provide a brief background on Trinity Partners and your role at the company.
John Corcoran: Trinity Partners is a global life sciences consultancy. We recently celebrated our 20th anniversary. Trinity works
with a mix of small, medium and large pharmaceutical companies, as well as startups, most heavily weighted in the specialty
pharmaceuticals space. We also work with medical device companies and diagnostics providers.
Trinity, headquartered in Waltham, MA, has additional locations in New York, San Francisco and Princeton, NJ. The firm has
approximately 150 employees. Trinity’s sole focus is within life
sciences. Trinity is not just focused on the commercial side but
clinical as well, combining a mix of strategy, data, and analytics.
As president, a portion of my role involves monitoring the actively dynamic and changing healthcare market, with a focus on
payers and patients. The healthcare space is ever evolving, and
I’m continually interested in how developments and changes will
affect clients, payers and patients.
KB: What pharma/biopharma trends are you seeing and where do you
think the biggest opportunities lie?
JC: There are several trends that are most acute. The demand for
pharmaceutical intervention will continue to remain strong and
unabated. On the demographic side, people are living longer—the
average life expectancy for a female in the United States is just over
81 years old, with males at 76 years. The front end of the baby boom-
ers—people born in 1946 or later—are now at 70 years old. As this
large segment of the population is getting older and living longer,
and not being replaced commensurately with as many young peo-
ple, increased demand is being placed on the healthcare system. This
is one of the underlying challenges of the Affordable Care Act.
There has also been an increase in the amount of obesity in
the U.S. We’re seeing the effects in categories like diabetes, particularly type 2, and cardiovascular disease. These and other similar afflictions are putting increased cost pressure into the market.
AN EMERGING AND MORE DEFINED SPECIALTY
For some time, pharma and life sciences has been moving away
from a reliance on“blockbuster” pharmaceuticals. These include
what you’d refer to as the “household name” kind of products,
such as Nexium or Lipitor. Most of these products remain viable
in generic forms, but in most cases, they have not been replaced
by other blockbuster products. As a result, what’s emerging is a
more defined specialty pharmaceutical market. Half of the approvals in the country right now are for specialty products; by
2020, half of the entire U.S. market for pharmaceuticals will be
specialty pharmaceutical products.
INCREASINGLY GLOBAL PHARMACEUTICAL MARKET
To thrive in emerging markets in Central and Eastern Europe,
as well as the Middle East, Africa, Central and South America,
pharma companies must deal with a myriad of different healthcare systems. Many of these are national payer systems, which
respond and act much differently than the U.S. In addition, Brexit
will be game-changing for the European market.
THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM AND EXPENDITURES FOR
HEALTHCARE HAVE TO BE MANAGED DOWN
A number of insurers are opting out of the Affordable Care Act
(ACA) because of losses. From the standpoint of insurers, health-
Drug Development in
Today’s Changing Healthcare Market
John Corcoran of Trinity Partners discusses what’s next for the life sciences industry