Investing in the future of healthcare

Each year, the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference brings together executives from all corners of the industry. As the largest global healthcare investment symposium, the event is an impressive gathering of senior leaders from major healthcare companies, venture capital firms, start-ups and more.
The J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference gave Covestro insight into the latest healthcare trends and how the industry will evolve.

Many company CEOs were in attendance giving 30 minute presentations followed by 30 minute Q&A sessions. In January, Global Healthcare Segment Leader Doug Hamilton attended, picking up some interesting insights to share with you about innovations driving the industry and what’s in store for the future.

A clear message from the conference was the disruptive power of the engaged consumer, taking a proactive role in personal health through monitoring device-enabled biometrics and engaging with genomic analysis to benefit from personalized medicine.

Speakers used this conference to update the investment community on their progress on bringing new drugs and devices to market as well as highlight key industry trends that will influence their business performance for years to come. It was clear that some companies are moving away from traditional business models to embrace an ecosystem of devices that leverage ‘big data’ insights to drive patient outcome and create new revenue streams. Especially interesting were companies whose products address chronic diseases such as diabetes, sleep apnea and kidney failure. These conditions are becoming more prevalent in markets such as India and China, placing significant demands on local healthcare systems.

The importance of wellness and wearable devices was also a prominent topic of conversation highlighting the convergence of electronic devices into healthcare applications.

Other developments discussed along with their potential impact include:

Home Health: Treatment of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and kidney disease, is moving from the clinic and hospital to the home in order to limit costs and enhance patient experience. For example, Fresenius discussed the rapid growth of home dialysis patients, which is forecasted to be over 15 percent of patients in the US by 2022.

In-home diagnostics is another rapidly growing area in home healthcare. As a substitute for outpatient diagnostic procedures, tests are now available for patients in the comfort of their home. Exact Sciences discussed how their at-home test for colon cancer is, for many people, an alternative to a colonoscopy. This will help address the challenge that almost 50 percent of the target U.S. population has not been tested for this cancer, despite the fact that early detection can lead to dramatically improved outcomes.

Biologics: Many biologic drugs that are under development are anticipated to make a significant impact with several $1 billion blockbuster drugs highlighted. Many of the drug delivery systems for biologics require materials with enhanced chemical resistance, which is an area Covestro has demonstrated experience in.

Importance of Data: Device manufacturers are realizing the value of connecting traditional devices to the cloud for leveraging big data analysis. For example, ResMed – which offers cloud-connected medical devices for people with sleep apnea, COPD and other chronic diseases – has gathered data from 3 billion nights. This data will be used to provide new revenue streams for the company through a Software as a Service business model, which delivers better patient experience, improved clinical outcomes and lower overall cost of care.

On-Body Devices: There was much discussion around novel, on-body drug delivery systems, such as the Insulet Omnipod. Additionally, the Freestyle Libre on-body blood glucose monitoring system proved to be another successful device, with a significant growth from 250,000 patients in 2016 to 1 million patients in 2018. It is now extending to type 2 diabetes patients.

The conference gave us valuable insight into the latest developments in healthcare and the role Covestro materials can play. One point was clear: the future is bright when it comes to healthcare innovation.

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