Keeping tabs on pharma: Pharma 4.0 set to give manufacturers an edge in operations and new IP partnerships enable rapid advances in pharma and chemical R&D

Intellectual property teams join forces to advance strategic insights across IP, patent data and analytics for chemistry researchers and information specialists

Add bookmark


The pharma and life sciences industry has traditionally been cautious in applying digital technology to its processes. As the pharma industry starts to address its challenges following disruptions from the Covid-19 pandemic – including globalization, greater supply chain complexity, and price and cost pressure – digitization is changing that approach and demonstrating great potential in helping companies adapt.

This week, dive into how pharma is applying digital technologies to improve its operations and make better and faster decisions.

Pharma’s 4.0 market growing with focus on advancing digital manufacturing

A global report has detailed the current and future market potential of Pharma 4.0 – achieving digital excellence across the pharma industry. The report also highlighted analysis around technological advancements, and drivers, restraints, opportunities and trends in market growth.

Among some of the market trends that were defined in the report, technological advances were referenced to have the biggest impact on pharma’s market growth over the last three centuries as it has helped make people's lives easier and richer.  

The report’s authors said: “Technology has continually advanced to a higher level from one era to the next, starting with the Industrial Revolution. Now, we are seeing the start of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, with a specific emphasis put on the digital manufacturing of pharmaceutical products in 2021.”

In December 2020, Merck teamed up with Siemens to digitalize its manufacturing processes with the objective to automate its modular production and advance pharma’s 4.0 movement.

Kai Beckmann, CEO Performance Materials and Executive Board member of Merck, made reference to digitizing its modular production has allowed for more flexible and efficient manufacturing.

Beckmann said: “The time needed from the product idea to market readiness is a critical success factor. [Digital manufacturing] allows data-based decisions to be made as early as the product development phase and applied seamlessly to the production process. Therefore, in the future, we will be able to respond quicker and even more flexibly to high customer requirements.”

IP teams join forces to advance patent data insights

Elsevier has teamed up with LexisNexis Legal & Professional to enable pharma and chemical research and development (R&D) scientists to access up-to-date and comprehensive information on intellectual property (IP), competitor activities and patent data and analytics within one workflow.

With pharma companies and researchers under immense pressure to innovate and get products out to market even faster than the previous year, this new IP partnership aims to understand where the white space is in pharma’s technology landscape and bring together patent, biological and chemical R&D information under one roof by developing a unified digital workflow called Reaxys.

Dr. Ivan Krstic, Head of Chemistry Solutions, Elsevier said: “The competitive landscape of pharmaceuticals is more crowded than ever before, more than 80 per cent of validated targets are being pursued by multiple companies. Therefore, staying on top of a research field and having up-to-date and comprehensive information about competitor activities is of extreme importance.”

“We are pleased to collaborate with Elsevier to provide researchers the right IP content to address their evolving needs. By combining our content and technology with Elsevier’s, we help accelerate the time it takes to get safe and efficacious medications and chemical products to market,” commented Marco Richter, Global Head of Product, LexisNexis Intellectual Property solutions.

“We understand the importance of key decisions such as when to protect your assets and how to establish a niche in a crowded IP landscape,” he added. “Researchers require thorough, accurate and timely insights, which is why we are working with Elsevier to make data easier to discover and help researchers stay fully informed.”

Dive into best practices for dealing with market change and disruptive supply chains that aim to enhance pharma’s digitization efforts and allow for business continuity with Pharma IQ’s latest report, created in collaboration with MasterControl.