WHY IS LIFE SCIENCES FAR LESS INSULATED THAN HOLLYWOOD AGAINST THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC?

Hollywood — upended by digital technology over two decades ago — may be home to the most resilient supply chain of any industry during this crisis. And that’s due exactly to that digital disruption. Hollywood’s established digital supply chain — linking script development with pre-production, production and post, marketing, distribution and personalization — has made this transition easier than it would have been not long ago. Digitalization for Hollywood was a matter of survival whereas for Life Sciences it appears to be an opportunity for progress. Because Life Depends on Us, the supply chain professionals of Life Sciences are committed to the flawless execution of drug delivery. Achievement of the industry goal depends to a disproportionate extent on imminent Digitalization.

It is a reality that a drug cannot be “digitized” but the supply chain from drug development to patient care can be “digitalized” for resilience and agility. We all remember how the physical media of DVD and the 35 mm film was transformed into digital bits and bytes to be distributed ubiquitously globally and virtually instantaneously over the Internet. As a matter of fact, zero inventory of the digital product became the new norm. Many of the technologies which have rescued the film makers and TV producers in Hollywood can be deployed by Life Sciences with greater speed. Digital Technology, Data Analytics, Cloud, Robotics, AI, Machine Learning and Blockchain can be furthered in biopharma. Digital collaboration of R&D scientists with Clinical Trial and Operations personnel can be orchestrated as the film directors, producers and cinematographers do today. It provides the steroids for communication and nature of work. Leveraging of data analytics for personalization of consumer experience is another unique frontier. Solution for building a digital platform to enable drug manufacturers to procure products from suppliers across the globe exists today, remain to be leveraged. Product Life cycle Management (PLM) in the Cloud can be a transformational initiative in the ecosystem. Imagine a digital platform for drug development where the scientists, FDA and the CRO could collaborate! Amazon.com, Google, Facebook, Apple and others have done it all for a decade.

The Direct To Consumer (DTC) initiative of Hollywood in 2019 has minimized its traditional dependence on intermediaries, like retailer and theater chains, in the delivery of content to consumers. Today nearly all the major sources of content are available to the consumer at home in the most efficient way which happens to be streaming. While Direct to Patient delivery of certain drugs is already a reality in Life Sciences, could there be additional reduction of the links of the biopharma industry through system integration? Can we make the development of a Digital Supply Chain for biopharma an industry goal?

It is amazing that the prevalent practices of certain Global IT and Silicon Valley Hi-tech companies have made the transition to work from home productive and desirable. Today, there are many service organizations, like Insurance Companies, who have not lost a beat without physical interaction with customers by utilizing their internal communication infrastructure. Professionals Zoom to communicate with teams across the globe like the youth who are engaged in interacting with the help of multi-player video games. The work split between an office and the home will change for greater productivity and employee satisfaction as an outcome of this pandemic and the number of offices is likely to be significantly reduced, we must seize the opportunity to redefine the home office relationship.

History has taught us that it is in the DNA of America to emerge from a crisis better than before and this time it will be no different. More importantly, Hollywood is better prepared. I believe that an “Antifragile Supply Chain of Life Sciences” will emerge where Nassim Nicholas Taleb has identified and called “Antifragile” as that category of things that not only gain from chaos but need it in order to survive and flourish. He states that. “Just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension, and rumors or riots intensify when someone tries to repress them, many things in life benefit from stress, disorder, uncertainty. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. While the resilient resists shocks and stays the same, the antifragile gets better.”

Submitted by:  Devendra Mishra, Executive Director, BSMA and Executive Director, HITS (Hollywood IT Society)

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