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Pharma Market Research: 10+ Trends & Real-Life Examples in '24

The pharmaceutical industry is facing several challenges, especially after COVID-19 and the changes the pandemic has brought to the pharma market and the healthcare landscape (see figure below). One way to understand the market dynamics and evolving needs is to conduct market research with healthcare providers, patients, and employees. Here, we provide the latest trends and some real-life examples of how market research can play a role in the pharmaceutical industry to help companies understand evolving healthcare models and gain a competitive advantage in the industry.

Source: McKinsey1

Figure 1. The network of forces in the pharmaceutical industry

If you are looking for a market research tool, you can check out our vendor’s deep dive on the top providers in the market.

1- AI & automation

It usually takes 12 to 18 years for a new drug to get to the market, costing around $2.6 billion on average.2 By leveraging machine learning, deep learning, Natural Language Processing (NLP), or other AI technologies, pharmaceutical companies can:

  • accelerate drug discovery
  • enhance the accuracy of research
  • streamline various phases of clinical trials.

This technology can analyze vast data sets more quickly and accurately than traditional methods, leading to more efficient identification of potential drug candidates and optimization of trial designs.

1.1. Generative AI

Pioneering pharma companies are harnessing generative AI to reshape drug discovery and development. Indeed, 44% of industry professionals view their quality IT infrastructure as dependent on numerous, independent IT systems.3 This trend marks a paradigm shift, as AI algorithms predict drug efficacy and safety profiles, drastically reducing the traditional decade-long drug development cycle.

Check out our comprehensive article on the use cases of GenAI in the healthcare industry if interested.

1.2. Digitalization

The top five pharmaceutical companies have declared over 50 investments in digital health firms and assets, doubling their digital health partnerships, emphasizing a strong focus on digitalization in the sector.4 Companies are integrating digital channels into their R&D, marketing, and patient engagement efforts, leveraging technologies like AI, IoT, and cloud computing to optimize operations and reach.

1.3. Sentiment analysis

91% of those involved in the pharmaceutical industry believe that adopting a patient-centric quality approach is a strategic benefit for their organization.5 To develop a patient-centric approach, the industry is increasingly using sentiment analysis. By mining social media and healthcare forums, companies can fine-tune their marketing strategies and product developments, ensuring they resonate with end-user expectations and experiences.

If interested, you can also check out how sentiment analysis is used in the healthcare industry.

Predictive modeling

AI-driven predictive modeling in pharmaceuticals involves analyzing data like sales history and disease trends to forecast drug demand. This approach helps companies make informed decisions about production and inventory, adapting efficiently to market changes and patient needs. As new data emerges, the AI continuously refines its predictions, enhancing accuracy and aiding in strategic planning.

Real-time market monitoring

Real-time market monitoring involves using advanced AI algorithms to continuously track and analyze market data. This includes monitoring competitor activities, drug pricing, regulatory changes, and consumer behavior to understand the market dynamics. By processing data from sources like social media, medical journals, and market reports instantly, companies gain actionable insights into emerging trends and market shifts.

2- Clinical pipeline tracking and disease landscaping

Companies are using advanced analytics to monitor drug development stages, predicting potential bottlenecks and market readiness. This strategic foresight is pivotal in maintaining a competitive edge in the fast-paced pharma industry.

3- Sustainability

Sustainability is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’; it is a ‘must-have’ in pharma. Companies are embracing green chemistry, waste reduction, and energy-efficient practices to achieve sustainable growth. These enable companies to be involved in a more eco-conscious market, ensuring long-term brand loyalty and corporate responsibility.

4- Strategic workforce planning

Demand for STEM-related roles in the life sciences industry in the United States has seen a 20% surge.6 As pharma ventures into new realms like genomics and personalized medicine, strategic workforce planning is crucial. Companies are actively reskilling their workforce and recruiting niche experts, ensuring their teams are equipped to navigate the evolving scientific and regulatory landscapes.

5- Development of partner ecosystems

In the face of complex drug development challenges, pharma companies are cultivating partner ecosystems. Indeed, research shows that more than 50% of companies are planning to significantly enhance their collaborative efforts with other industry players.7 These collaborations, ranging from academic institutions to biotech startups, are vital for innovation sharing and risk distribution, paving the way for groundbreaking therapies.

6- Technical product development

76% of survey participants don’t believe that their organization has yet reached the quality maturity it should have.8 Thus, the race for technical superiority in product development is intense. Companies are investing in advanced drug delivery systems, precision medicine, and next-gen biologics, aiming not just to participate in the market but to redefine it.

7- Personalized pharmaceutical products

Personalized medicine is transforming patient care. Pharma companies are leveraging genetic insights to tailor treatments, moving away from the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach and towards therapies that offer higher efficacy and reduced side effects for individual patients.

8- Patient identification and stratification in clinical trials

Precision is key in clinical trials. Advanced analytics and AI are enabling healthcare professionals to identify and stratify patients, enhancing the efficacy of trials and speeding up the time to market for new drugs.

Real-life examples of market research in the pharmaceutical industry

PTC

PTC Therapeutics implemented the Interactions Hub, a digital solution by PwC, to streamline its processes.9 This move addressed the inefficiencies of their previous manual system, where staff spent about 25% of their time on administrative tasks. The new digital approach improved operational efficiency and compliance, enabling a more focused effort on strategic drug development initiatives​.

Pfizer

VaxAssist, an online tool introduced by Pfizer, assists adults in determining their eligibility for various respiratory vaccines such as COVID-19, pneumococcal pneumonia, influenza, and RSV.10 This initiative responds to the confusion and hesitancy caused by an overload of health information and the “triple-demic” impact of flu, COVID-19, and RSV, which led to significant hospitalizations and emergency room visits in the U.S. VaxAssist aims to simplify vaccination processes and improve accessibility, addressing both the misinformation problem and the barriers to vaccine uptake, reflecting a market research-driven approach in the pharmaceutical industry to enhance public health outcomes.

Sanofi

Sanofi, a pharmaceutical company, invested $180 million in Owkin, with a strategic shift in pharmaceutical market research.11 With this initiative, the company focuses on artificial intelligence and federated learning to advance its oncology portfolio. This collaboration, targeting four cancer types, emphasizes building private and secure disease models from vast datasets. It aims to enhance clinical trial design and identify new biomarkers.

For those interested, here is our data driven list of market research tools.

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Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst
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Begüm Yılmaz
Begüm is an Industry Analyst at AIMultiple. She holds a bachelor's degree from Bogazici University and specializes in sentiment analysis, survey research, content writing services and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.

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