Big Opportunities Mixed Capabilities

Big Opportunities Mixed Capabilities

Growing and ageing populations around the globe have greatly increased demand for medicine and health products. As a result, the field of life science – which comprises mainly BioPharmaceutical, Device and Consumer Health companies – has become a trillion-dollar global sector.

The largest companies in the sector are headquartered primarily in the United States (US) and Western Europe. However, life sciences focused companies in emerging economies, such as China and India, are beginning to grow aggressively. Between 1999 and 2009, US expenditure in life sciences research and development (R&D) decreased from 38 percent to 31 percent of the global total. Over the same period, Asia’s share grew from 24 percent to 32 percent.

At the same time, many of the industry’s largest and well known are feeling the pinch as blockbuster treatments come off patent, consumer spending dries up, regulatory burdens rise and workforces age.

Against this backdrop, there is a high level of global competition for the most talented science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) staff – especially graduates with highly specialised skills.

The location of those skilled professionals – and indeed the entire life sciences industry – is also shifting towards the world’s emerging economies.

India produces 1.2 million engineering graduates annually. It also boasts a pharmaceuticals industry with maturing drug development capabilities and a strong generics market built, in part, on expired patents. China’s life sciences market is growing fast as well, with strong increases in STEM graduate numbers and a greater share of life sciences patents.

However, volume doesn’t always equal quality. In particular, life sciences companies are finding that many of the new graduates entering the workforce require additional training to be productive to expected levels. There is no substitute for experience or quick fix when it is not there.

So what lies ahead? In this industry overview, we discuss how international outsourcing and collaboration will be vitally important for life sciences players. Across the sector, the most successful players will be those that can strike the best balance between the strength of the traditional leaders and the dynamism offered by new markets and professionals.

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