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10 June 2020 5 min read

Silver linings of Covid-19 - collaboration, speed and confidence in the pharmaceutical and lifesciences industry

Kate Moss

Kate Moss
Partner, pharmaceuticals and life sciences

Covid-19 has created a catalyst across the pharmaceutical and lifesciences industry, creating a ‘new exceptional’.

Pascale Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, recently spoke about the progress of the Covid Vaccine from Oxford, how AZ are involved and what is required in order to make this vital vaccine available to a global population.   

The discussion led me to reflect on how the unprecedented nature of this health crisis has brought about increased ingenuity across therapeutic, vaccine & diagnostic development. New collaborations abound bringing academia, industry groups, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, public health institutes and NGOs together to address a common mission which demands success. Clinical trials have been designed, approved and are recruiting within timeframes many industry professionals would never have believed possible. Technology-resistant individuals have embraced digital innovations to communicate with their families, friends, colleagues and even their physicians.

Previously guarded knowledge has been shared openly and quickly to facilitate the identification of vaccine targets, produce initial doses for clinical trials and prepare the enormous scale up required for these candidates to have a chance of success and meet global demand. All the while, regulators have been providing guidance and are adapting their processes to provide an expeditious path for vaccine, therapeutic and diagnostic development, testing and approval. The speed with which this ingenuity has happened has been enabled by the rapid flow of funds from the public and private sector to support those companies and partnerships that have shown any hint of a breakthrough to prevent or cure the virus. These are just some of the examples that I have seen, and there are many more where necessity has led to invention and built confidence that a different way is possible that may be as good - or even better - than the past.

At Baringa, we support the pharmaceutical and life science sector with defining their ambition and strategy at an organisation wide, function or single process level. Helping people believe that they can work differently in this highly complex and regulated environment is often tough and requires a leap into uncertainty.  

My hope is that this pandemic creates a legacy of invention, collaboration and dialogue to deliver prevention, diagnosis and treatment options and facilitates new ways of working which are clearly possible where the incentive is clear.

About the author: 

Kate Moss leads Baringa’s Pharmaceutical and Lifesciences practice and is a Partner in our London office. 

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