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    2022 has been a year like no-other. From our own internal growth here at Apsida through to supporting some of the most innovative companies globally – it’s been a year full of exceptional projects, key hires made, and the opportunity to embed ourselves even more into the world of Life Sciences. 

    Each year, we love to reflect on what has changed in the past twelve months in the industry, share our own updates – as well as make some predictions on what we think is to come from a client and candidate perspective.

    This is our third annual downloadable, and we’re excited to share with you what we think is to come in 2023 and beyond. 

     

    Our 2022 predictions were

    • Remote/hybrid working will be revisited once more
    • A deeper focus on D&I
    • The rise of patient recruitment software

     

    Remote and hybrid working

     

    As always, every year the topic of remote and hybrid working is involved. 2020 saw the year of companies having to completely adapt to a remote working model, which worked for many but also resulted in mass layoffs and bankruptcy due to being unable to adapt. 2021 remote working continued with many organisations revisiting their working practices entirely – opening up the opportunity to wider talent pools as hybrid and remote working became “the norm”. 

    This year, we have seen pre-pandemic attitudes return, with many looking at phasing out remote working, and instead purely looking at a hybrid model or scrapping it altogether. Although the world of hybrid working in our opinion will forever be changed since 2020, 

     

    The rise of patient recruitment software

     

    Patient recruitment software was a hot topic at the beginning of 2022 – and has continued to stay in the spotlight for the rest of this year. Earlier this month, TrialWire won an award for the most innovative clinical trial patient recruitment technology platform, and is revolutionising how patient recruitment currently operates:

    “Patient recruitment failures impact more than 85% of clinical trials causing studies to shut down or incur delays costing millions of dollars per day. Patient recruitment delays are costing the sector billions of dollars and restricting patients’ access to life-changing therapies.

    With over two decades of clinical trial patient recruitment experience, TrialWire has fine-tuned its processes into a technology Platform that supports hundreds of biotech clients successfully recruit the required number of patients to their trials. 

    The company streamlines the recruitment process, connecting patients to the TrialWire™ platform by selecting prospective patients based on their location, online activity, demographics, and medical profile, among other characteristics.

    The TrialWire™ platform manages the communications of the recruitment process in a secure, private, effective, and affordable manner. As a result, study coordinators can easily verify medical notes, contact patients, or visualize real-time data. Sponsors and CROs also have TrialWire™ Dashboards showing de-identified view of recruitment progress real-time.” [PRN]

    They are working with some of the biggest names in Life Sciences such as MSD, Pfizer, and Cell Medica.

    It’ll be interesting to see how other players in the patient recruitment technology space will evolve as we enter 2023 – and the appetite for incredible tech continues. 

     

    Our 2023 predictions

     

    Current recession to change the way that organisations hire

     

    It’s no secret that we are currently in a global cost of living crisis, with the impacts of the Russian invasion of Ukraine pushing millions of citizens into poverty. 

    This has had a knock-on effect on the way that organisations operate – many have slowed down or paused on hiring altogether, or conducting mass lay-offs to conserve cashflow and prepare for a slower market. The increase in food and energy prices have resulted in over 50 million people in developing countries falling into poverty, and first-world countries are not exempt from this, either. 

    Within the world of Life Sciences, there has been an effect due to this – but instead of a complete standstill on hiring, the strategy has now changed. Making measured, data-driven hiring decisions has become more important now than ever before, and a pre-pandemic hiring attitude has been adopted. 

    There is a lot more focus on quality over quantity, even for fast-growth businesses or those who have acquired a large sum of investment. We anticipate that this attitude will continue through H1 of 2023 whilst the heaviest effects of the recession are being felt. 

    Companies should look deep into their succession planning and retention techniques to get through Q1 of 2023, and focus on hiring talent with “potential” to still ensure that there are progression and growth opportunities – as stagnant employees will struggle to stay motivated in an environment that isn’t stimulating for them.

     

    Regulatory changes 

     

    The Inflation Reduction Act signed in August 2022 will specifically affect the USA Life Sciences market, as it looks to tackle drug pricing – in particular including provisions to reduce the price of prescription drugs for citizens as well as for the government. The act will also cover speciality therapies. This is going to affect not just how organisations operate but also be a sticking point for investors:

    “Investors should carefully consider whether a target’s portfolio includes drugs that are likely to be subject to the IRA negotiations provision. Moreover, investors should ask whether life sciences companies have any plans that may mitigate the impact of the IRA” Debevoise

    Something that is incredibly exciting in the regulatory space is the introduction of technology (as well as AI and ML) to speed up and aid Regulatory teams. Robotic Process Automation is looking to become commonplace in clinical trials, particularly within the UK – which will enable regulators to feedback quicker, and make decisions based on more accurate data.

     

    The rise of AI and ML 

     

    Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have been thrust back into the spotlight and have become a wider topic of conversation, specifically within Medical Device manufacturing. 

    We touched on this topic in our first-ever annual round-up, highlighting that we anticipated that both AI and ML would advance quicker due to the pandemic. At this stage, it was already very prominent within Drug Discovery – and since 2020 this has extended into more areas of the drug development lifecycle, which is positive to see. 

    In a piece by PharmaPhorum, they explained that “Cloud automation displaces previous manual tasks, accelerating the pace of innovation for research and development (R&D) teams and decreasing the risk of errors. Automation also frees pharmacovigilance teams to focus on mission-critical areas, like signal detection in drug safety and benefit-risk assessment.”

    It’s very clear that Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is here to stay – and in 2023 it’s going to continue to grow and develop from R&D through to Commercial. 

    It’s important to note that from a hiring perspective, candidates may look more favourably upon companies that appear to have their fingers on the pulse with AI and ML. Ultimately, it can become incredibly complex and hiring for roles with experience may leave some clients needing to look outside of Life Sciences – instead considering talent from Deep Tech or even Engineering backgrounds to fulfil said roles. 

    This cross-pollination of talent will bring variety and inject inspiration into a lot of organisations – so our advice on the client side is to be open to talent beyond Life Sciences, and our advice to candidates with an interest in developing in this space is to look for companies that are already using exciting technologies to elevate what they’re already doing.

     

    What does 2023 look like for Apsida

     

    The past 12-months have been all about growth for us. We have nearly doubled in headcount as well as in the process of opening an office overseas in Boston! This expansion not only allows us to create more internal resources through hiring exceptional talent, but it allows us to expand our network and footprint and establish ourselves further in the USA. 

    The US market is one that we are well-versed with and one that excites us – and a big focus for us in 2023 will be building out our offering, networking, and also ensuring that we are creating a bespoke, meaningful service for our clients and candidates across the pond. 

    Another core focus for us will be revisiting our Diversity and Inclusion goals and investing more into this. With growth comes greater responsibility to ensure that we are keeping ourselves accountable internally, which will in turn, allow us to advise our clients better on D&I and how they can achieve their goals externally. 

     

    We are excited to see what 2023 is going to bring us, our clients, and our candidates.

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