Life Sciences & HealthcareMay 24, 2022

Can virtual twins in life sciences help people and the planet?

“If COVID-19 taught us anything, it is that we can solve the impossible”
Avatar Rebecca Lambert

Did you know that, on average, it takes 10 to 12 years for the life sciences industry to develop a new drug, and only 14% make it all the way to market? There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. Take the COVID-19 vaccines. They were developed and made available within just a year. After 18 months, more than 5 billion doses had been administered.

“If COVID-19 taught us anything, it is that we can solve the impossible,” wrote Rama Kondru, co-CEO and head of R&D at Dassault Systèmes Medidata, in a column for Compass magazine. “It shone a bright light on life sciences’ role in bringing us closer to a vision of affordable, accessible and attainable healthcare that is sustainable for the industry and for the planet. And a common denominator in this quest is technology.”

Emerging technologies, such as virtual twins and artificial intelligence (AI), are driving progress. They are proving crucial as the industry faces growing pressure to bring its social, workforce and environmental impacts into balance. That’s because despite all the good it does to sustain human life, the industry is also one of the world’s biggest polluters. As the Compass article “Improving Accountability” explains, if the life sciences industry were a country, it would be the fifth-largest greenhouse gas emitter on the planet. It’s also an industry characterized by inefficiencies across the value chain and lack of modernization. And investors – and the general public – expect more.

The good news is that change is happening rapidly. Companies like Meta Biomed are leading the way.

Sustainable personalized healthcare

The Korean health and dental manufacturer is responsible for medical breakthroughs such as developing new bone restoration materials for orthopedics, which are currently awaiting approval for mass production. Meta Biomed also has its sights set on providing customized medical services for patients and is exploring how simulation and virtualization technologies can help it better understand how biocompatible materials react and respond in the human body. All of this will be made possible with the 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud platform, which the company has put in place as it establishes itself as a digital leader in the industry.

Eventually, the simulations will help surgeons choose the most appropriate sutures and materials for each patient ahead of medical procedures, helping to relieve pain, ensure fast healing and deliver the best surgical outcomes while significantly cutting down on wasted materials.

Virtualizing drug development

Life sciences companies are also turning more and more to virtual testing in drug development. With this approach, they can test and refine ideas, treatments, products and processes in the computer, where experimentation is quick and affordable, before committing expensive and limited physical resources.

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