CorporateNovember 29, 2021

Big Tech - friend or foe?

The driving force behind Big Tech is disruption. Though the term is often overused to the point of parody, it is undeniable that tech giants have gone into many industries – from book selling to the film business – and have upended the models for how things are done.

Pharma is not immune to their reach.

Google and DeepMind have already made waves in oncology. And Amazon’s purchase of PillPack wiped billions from the share prices of the big US prescription retailers.

It is easy to see the arrival of the tech giants through the lens of competition, rather than as an opportunity for collaboration. But according to Harvard Business School Professor Karim Lakhani - founder and co-director of the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard – this is one of the most exciting and fundamental shifts happening in global healthcare.

“I think what you're seeing is that both existing companies and companies coming out of the healthcare sector are seeing the benefits of thinking about their technologies and thinking about the deployment technologies inside the organizations and how they deliver value to their customers.”

“At the same time, the technology giants are saying, "Wow, there's a ton of value to be captured. There's a ton of places where our expertise in algorithms, in digital backbones, in user experiences can, in fact, change the game and allow us to create a lot of value but also capture a lot of value."

As Lakhani goes on to discuss in his appearance on the Wolters Kluwer Pharma Unlimited podcast, there is a wealth of currently untapped opportunity waiting to be unlocked if we can bring in expertise from a range of fields, especially from the computational sciences, into healthcare.

“We're seeing a ton of experimentation, a ton of trials by both parties both together and separately, and it's an exciting time. It's good for our economy, and it's good for the world that these two fields that have been mostly set apart, are actually colliding, merging, creating friction.”

Ultimately, the pharma companies that will be able to enjoy all the benefits of big data, AI, and quantum computing will be those working in closest collaboration with Big Tech companies.

Listen to the Pharma Unlimited Podcast series – a new series where host Bertrand Bodson goes under the microscope to examine some of the biggest issues facing the pharma sector.

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