Several years ago I decided it was time for a lifestyle change. I had been a college athlete who, like many of my peers, spent my post college years running, lifting and playing sports to try and stay fit while enjoying some healthy competition. As the years went by, the high imact routine began to take its toll on my body and, although I didn’t have any major injuries, I decided I needed to do something new.
My youngest son introduced me to Bikram yoga in the middle of a cold January several years ago. Bikram yoga, also known as “hot yoga”, effectively translates to yoga in 105 degrees and 40% humidity. The heat is provides warmth to your muscles and, consequently, improves your flexibility as you put yourself thru series of poses that is unlike any workout I’ve done before. After years of practice, I have greater flexibility, eliminated the majority of my chronic body aches and pains and improved my core strength. Not what I would have expected but it seems to work for me.
Interestingly, I see many similarities in my yoga journey to that of the many recent Life Science innovations. Clearly, the patent cliff and decreasing R&D productivity of the 2000’s mandated that things had to change. Fast forward to 2015 and we are beginning to see the initial results of the industry’s early efforts. Personalized medicine continues to progress as researchers and physicians leverage advances in genomic research to identify patient populations who have improved therapeutic outcomes resulting from common genomic footprints. Researchers are using modified HIV cells to successful treat leukemia patients with staggering results. Amgen is demonstrating tremendous potential using a genetically modified form of the polio vaccine to treat brain cancer. Bristol-Myers Squibb’s cancer immunotherapies are teaching the body to kill cancer cells with little or no side effects. Simply stated, these are remarkable innovations as the industry begins to rebuild their R&D momentum.
Further, the chronic body aches and pains of decreasing margins are beginning to ease as the industry is returning to profitability. Although the M&A churning continues keep muscles tense as organizations look for the ideal portfolio of branded, generic and consumer pharmaceutical products while others look to combine drug and devices to provide a unique delivery system that improves the outcome and experience for the patient.
All right, so maybe my yoga analogy isn’t perfect but it is exciting to the see the industry that basically defined the term R&D begin to produce the lifesaving innovations that we have come to expect from them. I look forward to continuing to work with the industry in enabling these and the many other innovations that will change the lives of patients across the globe. Namaste!