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15 October 2018Americas

Samsung and HP: here come the techies

When you think of big players in the life sciences sector, companies such as Gilead Sciences, Pfizer and AstraZeneca might spring to mind.

But the life sciences arena is changing, and companies that you might think better placed within the technology sector are making their presence felt in, and may be set to disrupt, the industry.

According to a report earlier this year by research and development insight company PatSnap, as of April 26, technology companies Philips and HP are among the top ten most intensive filers of patents covering enabling technologies in the synthetic biology field.

Technology company Samsung was named the second most active collaborator in terms of sharing or selling patents in the same field, after US-based research and development company Agilent Technologies.

Microsoft even has an eHealth solutions platform, which includes a cloud-based health information management system.

According to the technology company, a series of factors such as clinician shortages, time and cost pressures, and increased patient needs are creating a series of challenges for health organisations.

Microsoft says that such organisations can be more “efficient, effective and productive” if better tools for information sharing and coordination are made available to them.

German-based Siemens has a Life Sciences Industry Solutions division, which it says acts as a partner in making a supply chain safer and more efficient.

Seizing the opportunity

With international technology companies entering the space and showing an interest in filing patents, it is important to understand how this could perhaps disrupt the industry for the traditional pharmaceutical companies.

Jonathan Turnbull, partner at Herbert Smith Freehills, says that one of the reasons for technology companies to invest in the sector is the opportunity it presents.

“It is a large, global sector in which significant revenues can be generated,” he tells LSIPR.

According to statistics website Statista, as of 2016, revenue generated from the global pharmaceutical market stood at $1.1 trillion.

“Healthcare spending is increasing as the global population increases in size and age, although governments are trying to implement measures to curtail the increases in spending,” comments Turnbull.

According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics, total healthcare expenditure in the UK was 9.8% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016. In the US, healthcare spending grew by 4.3% in 2016, reaching $3.3 trillion; this represents 17.9% of GDP.

As Turnbull points out, these figures are not directly applicable to the pharmaceutical companies as they would cover hospital expenditure and other areas of the healthcare sector.

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