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New impetus for the life sciences in 2020 – future prospects

The life science sector has been experiencing a phase of stable growth for years now. This review deals with topics relating to the coming year and the challenge of creating new value, seizing opportunities and investing in the future in a targeted manner. 2020 will be a year of new superlatives: both for the sector itself and for business professionals in the life science markets.

Especially in the core sector of the life sciences, the pharmaceutical industry, medical devices and related industries, the signals are clearly set to ‘full speed ahead’. Biopharma and medtech companies are on an unchecked growth path – and there are no limits in sight.

The global trends for 2020 in the life science sector point in the direction of new value creation processes that go far beyond shareholder value. It will be necessary to re-assess the value and significance of business activities in relation to employees, customers and partners (suppliers, collaborators and stakeholder groups) and to develop new or optimised process patterns on this basis.


Exaggerated valuations for individual companies could sooner or later lead to sobering results in a reality check. Nevertheless, there are an increasing number of health-related technology companies that reached a value of over one billion dollars last year and thus have unicorn status. So the billion dollar era for medtech companies has begun – a direct result of several billion dollar deals last year.

A major trend for 2020 is likely to be a shift towards rare diseases and needs that have so far not yet been addressed. In this context, investors have particularly turned to companies specialising in gene therapies and are concentrating their investments here. In 2020 there will be particular growth activity among large pharmaceutical companies, contract manufacturing organisations (CMOs) and combined contract development and manufacturing organisations (CDMOs). The industry is expected to experience a further growth spurt this year due to accelerated regulatory approval procedures.


Workplace conditions in the life science sector are changing rapidly. Accordingly, the adaptation processes for working conditions, systems and tools need to be correspondingly fast and flexible.

It is important to adapt organisational procedures, systems and working methods to the changing processes, and to do so as promptly as possible. In this way added value is created for employees. The consistent application of new technologies and the intelligent structuring of work processes lead to optimal working conditions – and consequently to improved productivity.

In all probability, 2020 will be the year in which those responsible in the life science industry will occupy themselves intensively with the redesign of workplaces – with a special focus on digitalisation and cooperation between people and machines.


Patient hubs are a promising model that will noticeably gain momentum in 2020. In these hubs, among other things, digital networking between patients and nursing staff can be established – here, too, the digitalisation of working steps will trigger process optimisation – from diagnosis and individual care to technical maintenance. In a similar way, medical technology companies can work towards a better understanding the end user and further optimising the usability of devices and systems. A further objective for medtech companies on this path is the creation of patient-centred services in a non-clinical environment.

Another important trend that will continue to gain ground in 2020 is telemedicine. Here the key issue is to reduce the complexity of procedures and to facilitate public access to clinical studies.


The year 2020 will bring with it an intensified investment trend in research and development for large molecule products. This will trigger a trend towards small biotech companies, which will take their market share directly from big pharma. The new technologies will also enable innovative small companies to develop products independently and place them on the market.


Artificial intelligence will play an important role in the research and development of intelligent active ingredients as early as 2020. In the field of AI in particular, there has recently been a veritable boom in start-ups, accompanied by pioneering developments by tech giants such as Google.

In the field of biochemistry in particular, AI-based control systems have achieved some major breakthroughs. However, this is only the beginning – further developments can be expected in the foreseeable future. This will also lead to new partnerships in the field of pharmaceutical companies.

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