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Healthcare: How the Bio Revolution could transform the competitive landscape


The disruption ahead extends well beyond healthcare. Are you prepared?



You start your day with a preworkout breakfast of synthetic eggs and lab-grown bacon, a diet tailored to your own genetic requirements. You get dressed in a biosynthetic tracksuit made from fibers that can self-repair. You drive to the gym in a car that uses biofuels produced by microbes engineered using synthetic biology. After a workout, you apply an antiaging face cream tailored to your skin’s genetic predisposition. At work, you put on an audio headset that measures stress levels from your brain waves and suggests ways to alleviate them in real time.

This is a not-so-distant day in the life of the Bio Revolution now underway. Fueled by breakthroughs in biological science and the confluence of exponential advances in data, analytics, and digitization, what until recently might have read like a page out of a science fiction novel is becoming a reality. Moreover, biological innovations have been deployed to aid in the response to COVID-19, allowing for faster identification of the virus, more effective diagnostics, and new bioengineered treatments. (1) The wide-ranging implications for business executives should go well beyond the obvious and expected (see sidebar, “The Bio Revolution is not science as usual”).

Indeed, new McKinsey Global Institute research found that more than half of the potential direct economic impact from biological technologies—applied to nearly 400 use cases in multiple sectors—is outside of healthcare, notably in agriculture and food, materials and energy, and consumer products and services. (2) The likely disruption of the Bio Revolution is vast and poised to influence a wide range of industries. New crosscurrents are already emerging, with four rising to the top:

- the importance of biological capabilities as a source of competitive advantage
- the growth of platform-based business models accelerating scientific discoveries
- the opportunity for more personalization and precision products and services
- the spread of new relationships driven by barbell-shaped ecosystems

As new entrants prepare to take some markets by storm and incumbents in others invest aggressively to stay in the game and win, this is no time for inaction. That said, there’s considerable uncertainty around the speed of technology development, commercialization, and consumer adoption, as well as around the response of regulatory agencies to these new opportunities. The complexities of biological technologies raise many new risks, ethical issues, and, at times, fear, far beyond the current paradigm of regulating biotech products in pharmaceuticals and agriculture. Given the scope of change that lies ahead, working through those uncertainties and business shifts to the opportunities is a critical—and often-overlooked—priority for leaders today.

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Dimanche 10 Mai 2020
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