Given that we are now in January, we feel obliged to craft some sort of “Predictions for 2016” post.
We’re not big fans of predictive posts, mainly because we’re not very good at it. But more importantly, our industry defies calendar logic, with the rare exception of an FDA panel meeting or similar bimodal event.
And some predictions are, well, predictable, and inherently meaningless.
Nevertheless, here are a few themes that we will follow during the course of this year, and likely beyond.
Sharpening BD Focus – To their credit, many multinational pharmaceutical companies who are searching for assets have sharpened their focus. They have an increasingly clear sense of what they are looking for, and what they are not looking for. Sharpening an in-licensing strategy makes the entire process more efficient: fewer scouts, more focused diligence, etc. This also means more early-stage deals, which is great for everyone.
Villains and Thieves – Here is an easy one. Given that this is an election year, drug pricing will be a weekly topic for discussion by the candidates. Actually it won’t be much of a discussion. Pharma will continue to be perceived as price gougers. We may even see another Shkreli emerge from a company nobody has ever heard of. Can pharma make the value argument without sounding like greedy bankers exploiting the infirm?
Éirinn go Brách – Have we seen the end of companies domiciled in Ireland for tax purposes? Not a chance. If anything, other countries might emerge as alternatives to Ireland. Maybe Pfizer can reincorporate in the Canary Islands?
Internet of Health – We’ll continue to see the convergence of technology and healthcare in 2016. Expect wearables to become even more sophisticated. We could even see at least one health tech company develop a product which is tied directly to a therapy. Tech could be a great tool to encourage compliance (and hence improve outcomes), but as long as that message comes from Pharma, it will be viewed with doubt and disdain. Companies like PillPack will continue to fill this gap.
Shifting DTC – We don’t have any data to back this claim, but we speculate that DTC advertising is decreasingly effective, especially as we spend less time watching television and more time watching and using commercial-free entertainment, such as Netflix. The big winner: Social Media.
We Want Revenue – Go to any major partnering conference, and the aisles in between the meeting booths will be swarming with company executives looking to license or acquire approved products (especially parenterals, where manufacturing continues to be an issue). We don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Europe – Think reimbursement across Europe in 2015 was difficult? This year will be no different; worse even.
Mergers & Demergers – There will be at least one major merger amongst the multinationals, and Pfizer will remain intact.
Immunotherapies – While I/O captures the headlines, we’ll continue to see great progress in immunotherapies against autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis.
What are your predictions for 2016?