September 2021: From the Editor

S. Anne Montgomery

September 30, 2021

3 Min Read



Amid the continuing frustrations of this time, we are beginning to see what conducting business in a post-COVID-crisis world will be like. A new survey conducted by our Informa Connect Life Sciences group compares responses with those from similar questions in April 2020 — knowing more than we did before about the impact of COVID-19 around the world. The data reveal insights into how the global life-science community has responded to the crisis, the impact the pandemic has had on different parts of the biopharmaceutical industry, and how operations could be transformed for the better in the future.

Here are a few take-away insights from the new survey, but I encourage you to view the complete reports online (COVID-19 survey 2020 | COVID-19 survey 2021).

Nearly half of the organizations represented are working on diagnostics, vaccines, and/or treatments for COVID-19. More Europeans and Asians responded this year than in 2020. About half of respondents note that vaccine approvals, production, and roll-outs have exceeded their timeline expectations (despite some pessimism about those timelines a year ago).

Most respondents (94%) expect long-term impacts from what has been learned, with major changes in accelerated regulatory approvals (65%), increased collaborations (57%), and more clinical trials (53%). Nearly all (97%) say that the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine developments will influence future product development and manufacturing, and 88% think that based on delivery systems used for vaccines, mRNA will be used more frequently in therapies to come. Over half of respondents expect the success of that technology to accelerate regulatory approvals (61%), change manufacturing (59%) and drug delivery (58%), and bring risk-share models for new product developments (56%).

Fully 87% of respondents’ supply chains still are affected by the pandemic — much like last year. Breaking this down, however, nearly half (48%) of respondents report reduced pipelines, although companies working on COVID-19 products report improved pipelines. Clinical trial delays have affected 66% of responding organizations. For just 15% of respondents, the pandemic actually sped up projects they were working on. That may reflect the increased adoption of decentralized, virtual, and remote trials. Most organizations (90%) have adopted more digitally focused strategies in the past year — half of all companies with more than 500 employees are seeing significant changes in digital strategies, as are nearly a third of small companies with 1–50 employees. Many respondents (59%) are working at home full time now, down from 68% in 2020, with 56% expecting to work from home more often in the medium/long term.

Positive results can come from even the most disruptive circumstances, and continuing to innovate and adapt is as characteristic of your industry as necessary caution. Through it all, and despite this staggering crisis we’re all living through, BPI remains at your side and ready to help.


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