BioTech in 2024 (and beyond!): The Opportunities and Challenges Ahead
With Biotechnology playing a hugely important role in scientific developments and breakthroughs, in everything from food and drink to drugs created to combat common illness and even life-threatening disease, Biotech sectors have grown – and will continue to grow – exponentially.
So, as we look to 2024 and beyond, with excitement and intrigue about what the dynamic world of Biotech will bring, what better time to explore some of the potentially life-changing opportunities and developments ahead, as well as discuss the challenges that they may bring too.
We’re excited to begin this next stage of the Biotech journey. Let’s get started with a few of those opportunities to make the most of in the months and years to come…
The Biotech opportunities ahead of us
1. Continued development of A.I technology and A.I use in Biotech
Technology is, of course, at the forefront of what drives Biotech and the impact it has on science, our lives, and the planet.
Having become a leader in Biotech trends in recent years, A.I is likely to continue playing a big, if not the biggest, role in the development of game-changing – including some life-saving – drugs and diagnostic procedures; how disease is monitored and detected, in humans, animals and plant life; and assisting scientists and laboratory professionals as they tackle complex tasks, build statistical models and analyse data.
2. Drug development and research
The global population is increasing, and unfortunately so is the number of people who suffer from debilitating illness or chronic disease. With this, the demand for effective drugs – some of which already exist, are in development or are yet to be discovered – increases too.
Thankfully Biotech, with the help of smart technology such as Artificial Intelligence, is already making an impact.
There is the development of drugs to treat, and in some cases cure, diseases such as Alzheimer’s; the ability to digitise the collection and combination of genetic and biometric information, study results and patient data; the acceleration of drug creation and production, as well as the improvement of existing drugs; and much more – Biotech is at the heart of it now and will continue to be into 2024 and beyond.
3. A chance to shape the world, whilst protecting it too
We need fuel for heat, for energy and for plenty more besides and of course, to survive, we need food. Unfortunately, the production of both has a huge impact on the environment, and the planet overall.
As Biotech develops, the industry is presenting opportunities to offset these impacts by reducing consumption and emissions through technological advancements and scientific developments.
Diverting away from the use of fossil fuels is a collective global effort, and Industrial Biotech is playing a vital role in the development of alternative, safer and no-less effective forms of energy, to reduce greenhouse gases and help fight climate change. Meanwhile, Agricultural Biotech is helping lower C02 levels too, by changing the way crops are grown and food is produced – a development that also aims to tackle food poverty and improve food security worldwide.
4. Startup opportunities aplenty…
With science advancing and changing constantly, and the industry ever-evolving too, Biotech is always presenting opportunities, including chances for startups to be created, grown and potentially make world-changing developments in fields that can shape an innovative, brighter future for people and the planet.
In recent years, Biotech has shaped diagnosis and treatment for illness and disease, however there are still plenty of stones left unturned. That’s where startups can make a difference.
Again, there will be drugs and treatments awaiting discovery, awaiting great minds to take the time (and opportunity) to discover them, with the help of the impressive technologies we have available to us today. There will be opportunities to further develop game-changing tools such as digital health and telemedicine through developing even better apps, monitoring services and consultation tools; better streamline the way we collate, process, and use data; and even develop ways to regenerate tissue and help contain and combat the signs of aging.
Startups have the Biotech world within their grasp. It’s up to them to grab it.
The Biotech challenges ahead of us
1. Funding (or lack of) for Biotech
There’s a famous song that says the ‘best things in life are free’. Unfortunately, in the world of science and innovation, that’s not always the case. Biotechnology relies on funding to progress, especially in its initial phases – be it setting up a startup for a new project or buying or developing the technologies required for specific tasks and objectives for example – and for R&D, data pooling and processing, and much more.
In recent years however, due to several factors such as economic downturn, investor uncertainties and changes to regulations, funding for Biotech has dwindled. In fact, in just a year – from 2022 to 2023 – funding for Biopharma dropped 40%.
As we look ahead to 2024 and beyond, it is hard to predict if we’ll see a turnaround in this trend, though experts are hopeful that the market for Biotech funding will be different soon, as markets tend to operate on cycles (i.e, what goes up, will eventually come down and vice versa). Biotech startups and companies will have to do their bit to attract the right investors once more, with the general view being that such investors will be unlikely to take as many chances as they may have in previous years, only willing to put their money into projects which could potentially overdeliver on their results.
2. More development = more risk
In Biotech, due to the nature of the research, development and work involved, there are risks attached to every step of every project. And while the technology used in Biotech projects advances and helps to reduce human involvement, we must delve deeper into the science to discover the next game-changer, meaning new and existing risks will inevitably emerge in the process.
There are risks of costs spiralling out of control, leading to investors running out of money or simply pulling out of the project, putting it – and its potential results – at risk overall too; potential R&D troubles to consider, especially during any human-testing stages; and the potential that, after all development has taken place and data has been analysed the project simply fails in its objectives and the product isn’t seen as viable.
3. Gaining trust in the tech
Whilst scientists, Biotech companies and startups will revel in the technological advancements they will be able to take advantage of, convincing others about the benefits of tech such as Artificial Intelligence and getting them to trust in the results it can help produce, could be potentially challenging.
Can A.I understand the potential impact that drugs can have on a human, physically and mentally? What if a robot or machine analyses results in error, affecting the final product and the effects it may have on someone? These are the sort of questions that could be raised as technology takes an even more prevalent, and important, role in the development of drugs, food, and other Biotech sectors.
Paige Keenan - Consultant
Graduating with a degree in Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Paige had 2 years laboratory experience working as a bench scientist in the analytical chemistry space before making the transition to scientific recruitment. Initially joining SRG back in 2021, Paige has gained over 2 years’ experience as a Consultant.
Paige specialises in supporting the Start Up and Discovery Science market across the Golden Triangle with sourcing candidates from early talent through to executive level while also working with customers to provide a range of bespoke client solutions, talent and skills mapping, salary benchmarking and market analysis.
+44 1223 978 504 | Connect | firstname.lastname@example.org
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