2022: The future of pharma R&D is a connected technology ecosystem

2022: The future of pharma R&D is a connected technology ecosystem

The way we work has evolved over the last decade, but the last two years proved to accelerate major trends like digitization and decentralization across life sciences organizations. In 2020, we began to discuss decentralized clinical trials as a main stream topic, and this trend continued through 2021. This year, the topic of decentralized clinical trials is front and center - not to mention - a sizable line item in most Life Science organizations' annual report and the focus of CIOs'.

Similarly, life sciences organizations experimented -- and succeeded with remote work. Now, employees and employers find themselves uncovering what their hybrid-normal may look like for costly line items such as real estate footprint or R&D spend. In this blog post, we will explore the future of R&D in a hybrid-normal environment across life sciences organizations.

Growing R&D spend

As R&D IT teams plan their spend for the upcoming year, we can imagine they find themselves reviewing unusually large portfolios of applications. Today, a typical big pharma organization can have 20+ content repositories across their R&D functions. We can attribute this growing number of R&D applications to the massive growth - and added complexities - that result from acquisitions and divestitures across R&D organizations.

Plus, the cost of R&D has grown significantly, leading organizations to promote innovation and digitization of major cross-functional processes, resulting in an excess of point solutions developed for nuanced processes. And, as upgrades are needed, they're done on a feature and point solution basis resulting in even more applications in IT's portfolio. From a user perspective, shadow IT can often grow with so many different solutions, which can lead to several redundancies for the same capability within an organization.   

The evolution of information technology ecosystems has led to funding models that are vertical in nature, but the solution is in fact horizontal. That's where Box comes in. Designed with content at the center, Box is the Content Cloud: one secure platform for managing the entire content journey. What's important about the Content Cloud is that it provides a single platform for all of your content — regardless of where it's created. So if you're the average life sciences organization managing a lot of R&D software applications, Box provides a single, unified content layer that connects and harmonizes them. Plus, as your tech stack evolves, the Content Cloud evolves with you — keeping all of your content secure and accessible even when you get rid of duplicative tools or adopt new ones. It's the best way to future-proof your organization for however technology evolves.

Managing compliance burdens

Because R&D functions are highly regulated, the processes required to maintain compliance are riddled with complex, manual protocols and legacy applications. These processes are often seen as burdensome and a barrier to innovation within the various lines of business. However, they are very necessary functions for maintaining quality standards when it comes to drug safety and efficacy.

Additionally, when legacy processes get applied to cloud native applications and other SaasS products, issues arise. They do not work well together - that is, congruous to putting a square peg through a triangular hole. Plus, the FDA is still catching up to industry standards to provide official guidance on how to handle these situations, through the recently delayed CSA guidance.

Box is paving the way for organizations to minimize the regulatory overhead associated with GxP compliance and validation activities for R&D processes. With Box GxP Validation, enable pharma and life sciences organizations to validate Box so they can work with, manage, and distribute all of their clinical, lab, and quality content. By standardizing both your regulated and non-regulated content with the Content Cloud, you get collaboration, mobility, enterprise-grade security, and compliance on a single content platform.

The majority of time spent in deploying these regulated applications was spent on testing - often, manual and bespoke for every application adding months to an implementation cycle. With Box GxP Validation, this can be done in a matter of weeks by shifting effort to perform these activities from owners to Box, allowing for a speedy deployment and several months in time savings!

Connected R&D workflows 

Moving R&D processes over the finish line is often burdened by review and approval workflows. And legacy applications and purpose-built, cloud point solutions aren't helping the process. Legacy applications in production today force users to work from one specific device and behind firewalls. Meanwhile, as organizations accelerate their push for digitization programs and move to the cloud, organizations are deploying purpose-built solutions across R&D. These cloud applications tend to lock you into an ecosystem of modules which gradually leads to unsustainable, rising costs and what's worse - interoperability with other applications.

The Content Cloud provides a horizontal alternative that does not lock you into an ecosystem of applications but rather allows life sciences organizations to operate in a best-of-breed technology stack. Build a powerful, best-of-breed cloud stack with a single content layer.  As the single, secure content layer beneath all of your tools, Box gives you peace of mind — and empowers each R&D function to get work done right on the platform. A best-of-breed technology stack allows application owners to plug in other SaaS applications as needs arise, allowing them to invest in only what they need, while enabling a scalable growth option.

As we settle into our new normal, life sciences organizations will find themselves deciding how much innovation - from last year -  do they make permanent. We cannot go back to pre-pandemic processes, like paper processes and digital silos, so the time is now to decide what the future of work looks like. We believe the future will be a mix of coopetition and innovation with the shared interest to tackle rising R&D costs. Box is committed to supporting life sciences organization on their journey to tackle the rising costs of R&D portfolios through horizontal integration and innovation in content collaboration.

Learn more about how the Content Cloud powers life sciences organizations here.

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