Course details

Digital Biotech and Healthcare Innovation

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Course overview

Why are digital tech giants such as Alphabet, Amazon, Microsoft and even Japan’s Softbank investing astonishing amounts in healthcare and biotech? In the Technovate era, we are currently witnessing a shift towards new kinds of collaboration between digitech and biotech. The World Economic Forum coined biotech as one of the key enablers of the Fourth Industrial Revolution alongside AI, IoT and 5G network.

The Covid-19 pandemic has all but reassured the critical importance of healthcare and data-based biotech. In the new paradigm post-covid-19, investment in these two areas is already showing very strong growth, with over 100 biotech IPOs in 2020 and healthcare indexes beating benchmarks by over 20%. The pandemic has showcased innovation in biotech and is pushing for the development of new drug platforms, leading to potential applications in other disease categories.

Whether you are working in the biotech industry looking for ways to incorporate digital technologies, or working in the digital industry looking for business applications in biotech, the business opportunities are vast. However, key fundamental differences in these two industries still present great challenges for business leaders.

Currently, we are enjoying the best period in History not only in terms of regular life expectancy but also in Healthy Life Expectancy (HALE) as defined by the World Health Organization. By 2020, the worldwide population over 65 years old surpassed 600 million people.

From a quantitative standpoint, global healthcare spending reached 7 trillion USD for the first time in 2015, topping 10 trillion USD in 2023, and is expected to reach 15 trillion USD by 2030 as reported by Deloitte and the OECD. Half of the spending is projected to concentrate on the three leading causes of death: cardiovascular diseases, cancer and respiratory diseases.

Nonetheless, Biotech is not an easy sector, with important challenges such as the difficulty in securing stable financing for the lengthy and costly Clinical Trials. Taking a new biotech compound to market typically takes 7-10 years, with total expenditures of over 1,5 billion USD and a success rate of around 1% at the preclinical stage.

Therefore, there is still great potential for efficiency improvement thanks to the progressive introduction of Big Data & Analytics, Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence algorithms as IBM Watson has proved.

Biotech companies have also been facing increasing difficulty in finding professionals with the required skillset and knowledge of the particularities of the field so they can actively contribute to the improvement of the organizations. Some of the new life sciences leadership and data roles growing in importance include: chief data officer, chief innovation officer, chief patient officer and data protection officer.

This course aims to provide students with a solid understanding of the healthcare sector, the biotech industry and the groundbreaking changes disrupting them, including digitalization, AI and cybersecurity. We will identify new opportunities and examine the challenges. We will also discuss how to strategically drive biotech innovation in both startups and established companies.

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Syllabus/Course Content

*Due to the characteristics of the course, application of the substitute class and leave of absence system is not available.

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