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6 Biotechnology Trends to Look For in 2022

cart of drug vials

The biotechnology industry is ever-changing, evolving to improve the quality of life through research, digitization, advancements in preventive medicine, genetics, and more. Here are five industry trends for 2022 that will impact the lives of millions across the globe.

1. Decreasing Drug Approval Times

There will be important changes to drug approval times, designed to decrease the long FDA approval timelines. Clinical trials and drug testing timeframes are expected to be aided with improved technologies, designed to help speed the process up and make necessary drugs more readily available to those who need them. The Real-Time Oncology Review, a pilot program created to help streamline and speed up the approval of cancer related treatments, is one example of this new and improved process.

2. P4 Medicine Will Continue to Evolve

P4 (predictive, preventative, personalized, and participatory) medicine will use new insights into AI data, human genetics, individual medical histories, environment, and a deeper look into blood and other testing results to formulate treatment plans specific to the individual. P4 medicine is proactive, not reactive, and focuses on wellness as much as disease processes. Embracing P4 medicine will mean identifying health risks early enough for positive intervention.

3. Increased Digital and Remote Patient Assessments and Treatment Plans

Businesses have embraced digital transformation for years, with 2020 and 2021 seeing a huge boost in remote and automated technologies. Medicine has followed suit, with a surge in telemedicine. Remote office visits, assessments, diagnosis, and treatment have become the norm, and this strategic approach to medicine is showing no signs of slowing throughout 2022. Medications can be prescribed through various online platforms, making end-to-end virtual medicine well within reach for millions.

4. Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) Opportunities will Expand Even More

Remote Patient Monitoring connects the patient with a healthcare provider to provide real-time results of treatment plans in chronically ill patients, including those with hypertension and diabetes. This technology is becoming even more crucial for aging populations. RPM is a win-win, for the patients who receive timely interactions with health professionals, and the healthcare facilities who are reporting drastically reduced emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

5. Advancements in Genetic Research Tech

One of the most exciting biotechnology trends in 2022 will be the advancements in genetic research technology and the role this research will have in proactively treating patients using genome features like DNA. Using the patient’s individual genetic markers will allow a highly specific risk assessment and preventative treatment plan.

6. Advancements in Telemedicine, Devices, and Remote Patient Monitoring Raises Cybersecurity Concerns

While advancements in digital medicine platforms are welcome, they bring their own set of concerns. Any technology that is capable of being accessed, whether online or in the cloud, is capable of being hacked. Cybersecurity will be taking center-stage in the midst of evolving remote technologies. In the middle of these concerns is patient privacy at every step, from the manufacturer to the consumer.

Despite challenges facing it, the biotech industry will continue to evolve throughout 2022, bringing exciting new technologies, treatment platforms, pharmaceuticals, and research developments that will impact people throughout the world.

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Emerging Biotechnology Trends in 2021

scientist working in research lab
The biotechnology industry is constantly being shaped by new technological breakthroughs and advancements in knowledge. As public interest increases and more funding is granted, the following topics are emerging as biotechnology trends to watch in 2021.

Vaccine Development

The search for a COVID-19 vaccine has caused the life sciences community to reinvent the way it develops vaccines. For the first time, biopharmaceutical companies and government agencies forged strategic partnerships to accelerate the process of vaccine research and development.

For example, Moderna’s recently released COVID-19 vaccine is based on decades of previous, industry-wide research on how cells translate mRNA into proteins that fight disease. Access to this research and its evidence-based findings allowed Moderna to create its vaccine from the novel coronavirus itself, rather than using a weaker version of the attenuated virus, to elicit an immune response.

Because mRNA-based vaccines can be quickly moved through the phases of testing, Moderna was able to deliver more than one billion doses of the vaccine by early 2021. The research and development process behind the COVID-related vaccines has already provided valuable information about how to create more effective vaccines in the future.

Monoclonal Antibodies

Although monoclonal antibodies were first identified by research scientists years ago, they have recently been modified to create ADCs—Antibody-Drug Conjugates, with the ability to identify cancer cells and deliver targeted radiation more efficiently to these areas. Research conducted in 2021 will likely focus on additional ways to combine these lab-grown antibodies with drugs, creating new ways of managing conditions that currently require expensive medication or lack effective treatments.

Biosimilars

Another important ingredient in the field of biotechnology are the so-called biosimilars. Like monoclonal antibodies, scientists have been aware of biosimilars for some time; however, further research in 2021 is expected to focus on their modification to meet emerging medical needs. Because creating a biological drug made up of living organisms can be expensive and complex, scientists rely on biosimilars to simplify the process. By using different compositions that vary only slightly from existing drug brands, biosimilars can deliver the same results as current immunotherapy and targeted therapy drugs at a lower cost.

Cell and Gene Therapies

Customized medicine is one of the hottest trends in biotechnology. Cell and gene therapies, along with customized drugs, are used to treat the precise variant of an illness. They are created by manipulating human cells and genomes.

Kymriah, the first gene therapy approved by the FDA in 2017, uses a patient’s own white blood cells to treat acute lymphatic leukemia. Yescarta, another gene therapy approved in 2017, has resulted in remission for 72 percent of patients with non-Hodgkins lymphoma enrolled in clinical trials.

Over the past four years, the development of cell and gene therapies have doubled in growth. Starting in 2021, industry experts anticipate steady growth in the area of cell and gene therapies as companies continue to respond to increased public interest and demand. In fact, the FDA expects to confer 10 to 20 approvals annually related to gene therapy and cell-therapies in 2021 and beyond.

These four emerging trends for 2021 are important because they remind people of the critical role that biotechnology plays in developing new medicines, guiding healthcare, best practices, and supporting the health and well-being of people all over the world.