The Resilience of Life Sciences

6-7 Minutes

Time and time again, the Life Sciences industry demonstrates just how resilient it truly is....

By Emily Davies

Senior Content Writer

Time and time again, the Life Sciences industry demonstrates just how resilient it truly is. This four-part series will cover the key ingredients to the cocktail – growth, innovation, investment, and career opportunities – and how when shaken together, it’s simply too good to miss out on!



Over the last few years, the Life Sciences industry has seen exponential growth and with that, the landscape is forever changed. It’s no surprise that the pandemic years really underscored the value of Life Sciences, but innovation, creativity, and forward-thinking have long been central to its identity.


I’m sure you’d agree that health and the care of it is complex, fast-paced, and constantly evolving, but it’s because of qualities such as these that the industry is possibly the most robust in the world. Of course, there are many other high-growth industries to be a part of, but what makes Life Sciences so unique is its ability to persevere.


Industries such as Oil & Gas, Financial Services, and Technology have been labelled in the top 5 most volatile sectors in the world according to S&P Global. Healthcare, on the other hand, is less affected by the wider geopolitical and economic conditions because, as the pandemic highlighted, we rely on Life Sciences above all.  


Although each space within Life Sciences is connected by the common goal of promoting global health, longevity, and intrinsically benefitting society, within each market exists its own micro-climate and with that comes its own opportunities and challenges.


So, with demand for lab space now four times more than recorded back in 2016, 71% of companies planning to increase their workforce, and the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer reporting that globally, trust in healthcare has returned to a record high, let’s take a look at the different Life Sciences markets Meet cover and understand exactly why they are so resilient…



Pharmaceuticals & BioTechnology


In recent decades, the pharmaceutical industry has made great strides in addressing a wide range of diseases, many of which were once terminal. In the course of these transformational years, healthcare has developed into an incredibly competitive and noisy market. In fact, in the last two decades, the worldwide value of pharmaceutical goods traded has grown sixfold, from $113 billion in 2000 to $629 billion in 2019.


But what about now, in 2022, I hear you ask. According to RSM’s analysis, the total capital raised in 2020 and 2021 is greater than the total capital raised in the four years prior. That means more money is flowing into the space, allowing biopharmas to continue the important research and development of treatments and therapies without the added pressure of having to immediately raise more capital.


Speaking of progress, the biopharma industry is rapidly adopting new drug discovery tools, which only speeds up their research and helps to differentiate companies from their peers. And why is that? You see, a traditional drug discovery process can take up to 4-5 years to identify a single candidate, but innovative AI-powered tools can now identify 10-20 potential candidates in as little as 8 months! Certainly, these novel tools require significant investment, but that huge reduction in development time allows biopharmas to advance swiftly out of the lab and into the clinic.


Just think about it: historically, it would typically take 10-15 years for drugs to come to market. Nowadays, due to smarter processes, the development of drugs and treatment is sped up, meaning more patients can be treated in a shorter timeframe. It’s optimising these modern processes that will fundamentally change the drug development paradigm, which in turn creates the demand for more jobs to be filled and drives the ever-growing trend of collaboration between companies, which brings us on to our next market vertical…





CROs, or Clinical Research Organisations, the companies that provide critical support to their pharma partners have been around for decades, but it’s only within the past few years that CROs have grown as their own force within the Life Sciences industry.


It’s been a natural progression since many pharma and biotech’s supply chains have become gradually more global and complex. In fact, some supply chains are now so intricate that they begin in Asia and circumnavigate the globe twice! My next point you’ve probably guessed already; this is outrageously expensive, and a lot of companies simply don’t have the in-house expertise for many of these challenges.


So, in order to manage costs and drive growth, more and more biopharma companies are outsourcing – and that's the silver lining for CROs. It all started when big pharma’s research and development costs skyrocketed, and well-known giants such as Pfizer and Sanofi began turning to CROs to help with the pressure. That fast began the trend and soon many others followed suit, which led to the global rise of drug development outsourcing.


In a nutshell, the challenges pharmas and biotechs are facing only positively impact the CRO market by driving growth and security. Actually, the CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) is expected to be 9% for CROs between 2020-2024! What’s more, CROs can support larger biopharmas by adding new modalities and exploring unconventional ways to reach patients, so it’s a win-win for everyone!



Medical Technology


No matter what industry you’re a part of, I’m sure you’ll agree that technological innovations have completely reshaped our way of working, and it’s no different for MedTech! In fact, why MedTech is so resilient is largely because of its modernism and the cross-pollination of rapidly evolving tech and Life Sciences.


In 2021 alone, the research and development spend for MedTech nearly doubled to over $50 billion, driven by competitive challenges brought about by the advent of new digital and remote monitoring tools. Not only that, but worldwide sales grew by a whopping 14% and exceeded $500 billion for the first time ever! Of course, a portion of that growth is down to device sales related to COVID-19 testing, but the remainder is attributed to growth across nearly all other device types.


But why has there been a surge in demand for medical devices? This growth fundamentally comes down to supporting an aging population along with a surge in people battling chronic illnesses; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 out of 10 Americans now live with at least 1 chronic illness! To help these individuals with the treatment and management of their conditions, wearable monitoring devices, drug delivery systems, and other MedTech devices are extremely important. As we now live in the digital age, the rapid pace of technological advancements will only continue to improve the effectiveness of these devices and drive the demand for them even higher.


Even now, emerging technologies are allowing start-ups to develop, validate and manufacture wearable devices that are cheaper than what was previously achievable. Do you know what else fuels that growth? Direct-to-consumer products, like that little glass screen on your wrist that tracks your fitness, your sleep, and your blood oxygen levels. It’s these types of commercialised products that allow investors to earn a quicker ROI, and as FDA approvals for these devices grow, so will investment into the MedTech sector.


Looking towards the future, records are forecasted to be beaten again and again as new product development continues to accelerate, and the private capital sector continues to invest heavily into digitised health. From a statistical standpoint, MedTech's CAGR is expected to grow by 5% between 2020-2024.



Medical Communications


So, we’ve covered the pioneering work within research and development of drugs and devices, but what’s the use in that work if doesn’t reach the right people and the right places? Well, that’s where Medical Communications comes into play.


In today’s Life Sciences landscape, it’s hard to imagine a world without MedComms, but historically, it was seen as merely a support function. Nowadays, it’s regarded as a strategic function with ever-growing prominence as the public becomes increasingly aware of their own health and has more direct access to information than ever before with content coming from a wide variety of channels.


What used to get done by in-house teams now requires specialist expertise who are known for their agility to adapt to the needs of different clients and markets. Since the Life Sciences industry is dominated by stringent regulation, rising costs, and high levels of competition, it’s imperative that specialist MedComms are onboard to dissect clinical data and turn it into a coherent and compelling message. The goal of this is to stimulate awareness and discussion of new devices, drugs, and treatments to either educate audiences or complete a sale. As tech continues to transform how we communicate and digest information, it also means that medical data can be reached and understood by broader audiences without the constraints of timescales.  


As you might have expected, MedComms is without a doubt a high-growth sector (with a predicted CAGR of 10.3% by 2026) that adds considerable value to Life Sciences. The sector’s thriving reputation has led to a huge bump in mergers and acquisitions, as demand for the services is growing and more companies are outsourcing and investing in their communications. This upward trend not only falls in line with the evolution of broadcasting mediums but also with the complexity of treatments, therapies, and medical devices as more specialised products come to market.


In fact, in 2020, annual reports for AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer all showed that their total budgets for marketing, selling and admin almost doubled what they spent on research and development! Initially, it seems surprising, but when you think about it, MedComms is a critical part of a successful product launch as they have the power to expand geographical reach and tailor medical content for different audiences, whether that be patients or healthcare professionals. What’s more, if consumer awareness is only growing and communication channels evolving, when looking toward the future for MedComms, it’s safe to say it’s a field with significant security.



Life Sciences has never been a boring industry to be a part of, but as of 2022, the industry is booming, and developments are only going to lead to some enormously exciting changes in the world of healthcare – who doesn’t want to be a part of that?! Contact Us today to discover your next role in Life Sciences!

Don't miss part 2 of this series, The Resilience of Life Sciences: The Covid-19 Effect, as we delve into the true effects the pandemic has had on the Life Sciences industry. Alternatively, head straight over to part 3, The Resilience of Life Sciences: The War For Talent, where we dive head first into the current job market for each of our market verticals, followed by our final piece in the series, Resilience of Life Sciences: Creative Ways Businesses Can Win The War For Talent.

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