How Pharma Companies Can Use Interconnection to Innovate

Tim Carter


Spending on medicine is growing rapidly, and so, too, are the pressures in the pharmaceutical industry to hold down costs, serve patients in new ways, and find actionable data in a sea of information.

Collaboration is the key. No company gets by in the digital age by flying solo, and pharmaceutical companies are finding they need to work with partners to speed the data analysis and medical innovations that lead to new drugs and treatments. A stiff, centralized IT infrastructure is simply not capable of doing this.

So what’s the answer? Biopharmaceutical companies must find new ways to reach partners instantly and access health information from various organizations and sources, all while keeping the sensitive data secure. That means establishing close, direct connections to customers, patients and members of their digital supply chain. That requires an interconnection-first IT strategy that gives pharmaceutical companies the flexibility, agility and safety they need to keep pace amid the constant demand to stay out front.


A need for better collaboration and analytics

Research from the QuintilesIMS Institute indicates spending on medicines will reach $1.5 trillion by 2021, up 33% from 2016 levels.

The institute says the increase will be driven primarily by the adoption of new drugs in coming years, which it predicts will be historically large. Right now, about 2,200 drugs are in the late-stage development pipeline, and the institute predicts about 45 new drugs will be introduced on average per year to 2021.

As a variety of new drugs hit the market, treatments will also become increasingly personalized to account for key variabilities in patients, such as age and genetic makeup. It’s all part of a patient-first ethos that PwC says has become a pharmaceutical industry rallying cry. PwC says the aims of this new approach include:

  • Providing better tools and more focused information about drugs to patients so they can better manage their conditions and avoid potentially dangerous errors
  • Minimizing the time patients must manage their conditions and interact with the health care system
  • Establishing pharmaceutical companies as valued partners of their patients and society at large
  • Increasing the chances of regulatory and commercial success by better tying decisions about drug approval, prescription and marketing to patient results and needs

Meeting these goals requires fast, seamless interactions between different companies in different digital ecosystems offering a range of expertise – from medical, to regulatory, to data security, to marketing. Biopharmaceutical companies must depend on this kind of collaboration to move at the speed of the market and with the efficiency demanded to keep costs down as they keep innovations coming.

This patient-first ethos will also require better analytics to determine how well patients are following prescribed treatments and how well those treatments are working. Improved analytics (including by utilizing information from wearables and other digital health devices) will also help companies gain insight from the increasing volume of data being produced at all stops on the digital supply chain. But first they must be sure they’re using the most relevant data and methods, so they don’t waste time and money.

Closer, faster, safer with interconnection

An Interconnection Oriented Architecture™ (IOA™) strategy is a powerful interconnection-first approach that pharmaceutical companies can use as they work to optimize regional and global collaboration and fully utilize, analyze and protect the growing amounts of available data.

An IOA framework prescribes direct and secure interconnection and deployment of IT infrastructures at the digital edge, where commerce, population centers and digital ecosystems meet. By moving the players close to each other, it streamlines information-sharing, which facilitates real-time communication with patients, health care providers, government regulators and business partners. This can help move drugs more quickly through development and speed up expansion into new markets, saving money, speeding innovation and enhancing a company’s competitive position.

An IOA strategy, deployed on Platform Equinix™, also utilizes an interconnected global platform where pharma companies can gather and store data close to users. This keeps data safe and near where it’s produced, to meet regulatory requirements and better serve users who need access to it. The strategy also allows companies to quickly access this data through cloud-based analytics services that can provide relevant, real-time insights that enhance product value and improve patient outcomes.

Get more details about how an IOA strategy can help the pharmaceuticals industry by reading our Pharmaceuticals Industry Solution Brief.


Tim Carter
Tim Carter Connected Health and FMCG sectors