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What does the future of life sciences have in store for job seekers?

13/12/18

The life sciences industry is in constant flux. With new technologies, regulatory requirements and products being released all the time, start-up companies and pharma giants alike need to continue adapting and innovating if they want to stay competitive. It’s an exciting time for anybody working within the market, with technological breakthroughs and innovation creating new career opportunities.

Here’s what you need to know about the most important trends in life sciences - and what they mean for your job search.

Modernising with smart technology

The life sciences industry has benefitted hugely from the latest technology, especially AI. Though only 15% of companies are using AI today, another 31% are expected to invest in it over the next 12 months, and for good reason: AI can bring together and analyse various data sources to create actionable insights for scientists, and find trends it would have taken years to uncover by hand. In addition, AI’s deep learning capabilities can also automate mundane tasks, freeing up researchers and scientists to concentrate on more complex and rewarding work during their day.

AI is also changing the way that life sciences companies interact with their customers. With the rise of ‘smart bots’, data learning and apps, it’s now easier than ever for life sciences to interact with their patients. Indeed, Novartis recently launched an app and social network for sufferers of heart failure in the US, which offers emotional support and information to its users. With the advent of health-boosting apps and use of AI only set to increase into the future, the demand for software engineers and technologically-savvy clinical project managers will soar in coming years.

Expanding the boundaries of research

Recent breakthroughs in technology have made it possible for scientists to push the boundaries of science further than ever before. One of the newest developments to make it onto the market is CAR-T therapy, an oncology treatment that harnesses and adapts T-cells from cancer patients to help them fight tumours with the patient’s own immune system. Pharma companies the world over are battling to be among the first to release new treatments onto the market, making it a highly competitive – and rapidly growing - field.

It’s not just CAR-T that’s revolutionising the market: the death of the ‘one size fits all’ care model in favour of personalised medicine is a change that has also been a long time coming- especially as around bonly work for 30-50% of patients. Today, research teams can use machine learning to analyse data from electronic records, personal devices and even diagnostic information to create treatments that are tailored specifically to the patient.

When you factor in the Internet of Things, then you have a model for an entirely new way of doing business: one that uses personalised apps and real-time data to keep track of patients and offer treatments that change as their needs do. Indeed, with the market changing so quickly, and new innovations like gene therapy, 3D-printing and more taking centre stage in the market, the need for forward thinking, technologically-savvy research technicians and specialists in biotechnology to help combine the latest technology with established medical treatments is likely to skyrocket. There’s no more exciting time to get involved: whether you work in oncology or want to make the switch to the future of personalised medical treatments, there is likely to be an opportunity for you.

The changing market

The way in which the life sciences market is structured is also evolving. For decades, clinical research organisations have been looked upon as the underdogs of the life sciences market, taking work from pharmaceuticals companies rather than conducting their own research.

However, things are changing: the worldwide CRO market is estimated to reach a value of $51.3bn by 2024, and for good reason. Big pharma’s enthusiasm for cutting costs and outsourcing trials to smaller companies has led to a glut of work for these companies, and as a result many are investing heavily in expanding their R&D capabilities with cutting-edge medical equipment and hiring talented staff to attract even more business. With the quality and complexity of the work many CROs are doing having increased- and with some companies getting involved in the entire R&D process, rather than just the trials- it’s likely that these companies will become an even more integral part of life sciences in the future.

What will this mean for life sciences professionals wanting to make the next move in their career? The rise of CROs may actually have some unintended benefits for people who want to embrace their own training and development over the prestige of working for a pharmaceutical company. Clinical research organisations have a great reputation for enabling career progression, and clinical research associates wanting to gain experience of the industry will thrive in the complex and ever-changing task of managing projects and trials across several different research disciplines.

With CROs likely to start a recruitment drive within the industry soon, researchers in high demand, and biotechnology and the Internet of Things continuing to shake up the market, it’s a good time for life sciences professionals in every type of workplace to consider their next career option. Preparing for the future with Orion Group The market’s changing, but we’re prepared. At Orion Group, we pride ourselves on keeping our finger on the pulse of the life sciences industry, so we can continue matching the most talented professionals with jobs where they can make a real difference.

Why wait? Take charge of your career and browse our jobs in life sciences today.

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