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Digital technologies hold the key to unlocking £22 billion for UK pharma industry, new research finds

Pharmaceutical companies could unlock an estimated £22 billion in value over the next decade by harnessing digital technologies, according to new research from Accenture.

The study found that by investing in digital technologies, the pharmaceutical industry could accelerate growth by 5%, generating an estimated £12 billion in new revenue over ten years. On top of this, it could reduce costs by more than £11 billion and pass on cost savings of 10% direct to consumers.

Accenture’s analysis used the methodology developed in partnership with the World Economic Forum to understand the value of digital transformation, for both industry and society.

The research identified several ways in which digital technologies can transform the sector and tackle its long-term productivity challenge. Patient data collected through sensors, wearables and smart packaging will create new opportunities in healthcare-as-a-service and integrated patient support. Analytics-based virtual screening and simulation can significantly speed up the R&D process, while digital platforms enable open innovation with industry peers and academics. Additive manufacturing can support personalised medicine by producing bespoke combinations of pharma products to order.

“Most pharmaceutical companies we work with recognise that digital technologies can drive transformation and growth, but many aren’t yet realising this potential. This research quantifies the potential prize for industry, individuals and society if they get this right,” said Yen-Sze Soon, Managing Director at Accenture. “The solution is what we call Industry X.0, an action plan for embracing and profiting from technological change. More than just transforming into digital businesses, pharma companies must look at how they reinvent operating models, production and value chains.”

Industry X.0 is how Accenture defines the digital reinvention of industry, when businesses use advanced digital technologies to transform their core operations, their worker and customer experiences and ultimately their business models. New levels of efficiency are achieved in the core of R&D, engineering, production and manufacturing through integrated systems, processes, sensors and new intelligence. Worker and customer experiences are redesigned and personalised.

The level of demand for Industry X.0 is revealed in Accenture’s survey of 931 executives from 21 countries. Only 13 percent of respondents say their businesses are getting both greater efficiency and business growth as a result of their digital investments. 80 percent want new efficiencies, new growth and new experiences to be delivered all at the same time, and 64 percent agree that failure to leverage the components of digital value will cause them to struggle for survival in the future.