The pharmaceutical industry has developed new therapies and made breakthroughs in biotech research in recent years, all while simultaneously navigating limited resources, and an unpredictable supply chain. Changes in consumer habits, new technologies, and disruptions to the industry are top of mind for biotech founders and investors as they plan out their strategy for the years ahead.
Despite global challenges, lab managers and scientists around the world have addressed new concerns like the Coronavirus and made progress towards eliminating existing illnesses and conditions.
During this time of scientific progress, technological advancements are making the lab of the future a reality, with digital transformations enabling more research, more precise measurements, and integrated systems that are more efficient and able to accelerate time to milestone.
As we move into 2022 and beyond, this industry-wide embrace of laboratory automation and sustainability initiatives will continue to radiate around the world.
Let’s explore the current trends in pharma R&D and biotech laboratory management in 2022.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic first impacted the life science industry around the world, pharmaceutical R&D spending has reached over $200 billion each year — and it’s projected to surpass $250 billion by 2026.
Rising spending trends means an increase in the overall global investment into pharmaceutical discovery. Lab managers are acting quickly to transform their facilities into the green labs of the future that their teams (and the earth) deserve. Despite ongoing supply chain disruptions and the need for more streamlined eprocurement in life science materials, the future of the pharmaceutical industry is bright.
For new biotech startups and growing labs, 2022 is already shaping up to be a monumental year filled with progress. Trends in biotech R&D are promising, with recent reports showing record numbers of clinical trials, new drugs hitting the market, and funding for biotech research in the past two years.
Research labs, and pharmaceutical labs, in particular have always been heavy waste-producers and energy-users due to the nature of the work that happens in them. R&D labs use 3-6X more energy and water than the average office building and can reduce their energy by up to 50% by using sustainable processes.
Labs are now building energy-efficient workflows (and decreasing lab spend) by optimizing spending, using technology, training staff on sustainability initiatives, minimizing waste, reusing and recycling lab supplies, and more regularly auditing how “green” their lab operations are.
After several years of supply chain uncertainty, R&D labs can’t afford to sit back and wait on backordered products from the same vendors they’ve always used. In 2021, biopharma R&D lab supply backorder rates rose by 5X and lead time for products increased by 200%. And in response, labs added 50% more new suppliers.
This year, labs are turning to digital procurement to address supply chain challenges. They are using more suppliers, and marketplaces like ZAGENO to access expected ship dates, find alternate products, and better time out experiment planning. With proactive supply chain resilience, the state of the supply chain will have less impact on biotech research, and labs can hit research milestones faster.
The state of the supply chain has led to new lab supply logistics and tech, and has facilitated digital transformations in labs that otherwise would have waited to upgrade to new systems and tools. Lab operations are now online, and with the integration of AI, machine learning, and cloud-based apps, they are more efficient and accurate than they’ve ever been.
Along with technology like modeling software, lab management software, and experiment management tools, supercomputers like Cambridge-1 from NVIDIA are speeding up drug research and accelerating treatment of illnesses including COVID-19.
COVID-19 led to advancements in mRNA research that had been in progress since the 1980s. With hundreds of teams working together towards the development of new biotech and pharmaceuticals, there have been surges in demand for materials like mRNA and other biologic and chemical products.
Biotech and pharmaceutical labs will continue to pursue mRNA research and other genetic research with overlapping supply needs, leading to higher demands for niche products. Biotechs will turn to more suppliers and new suppliers to meet their supply needs, and begin sourcing multiple vendors for the same products to keep up with lab inventory requirements.
Funding for biotech R&D research hit a record high in 2020 and continued to grow in 2021, with growing biotech companies like Cyrus Biotechnology, Nabla Bio, NanoMosaic, and AviadoBio all announcing new rounds of funding in December 2021.
We predict a boom in new biotech companies and new rounds of funding for scaling R&D labs, with a focus on hot research topics in 2022 like the human microbiome and aging.
Clinical trials slowed down during the pandemic, making it harder for biotech R&D teams to bring new drugs to market. With recent increases in clinical trial activity, and oncology clinical trials hitting all-time highs in 2020, there will be significant activity in new human drug trials this year.
The possibilities for biotech R&D labs in 2022 are exciting. With the right tools, workflows, resources, and attitude, efficient labs will be able to make major progress while minimizing their costs and environmental impact. Ready to learn more about how your biotech lab can streamline operations? Here’s what it looks like to run a biotech lab in 2022.