April 20, 2024

Life Sciences BPO: Partnering for Healthcare Innovation

The life sciences sector has been steadily growing over the past few decades due to new drug discoveries and medical innovation. As the industry evolves, outsourcing business processes to specialist companies, known as Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), has become increasingly prevalent. This article explores the growth of the Life Sciences BPO industry and its impact.

Emergence of the Life Sciences BPO Sector

In the early 2000s, many life sciences companies began to realize the benefits of outsourcing non-core functions to reduce costs and focus internal resources on core areas of research and development. Some of the first business processes to be outsourced included financial transactions, marketing support, and basic clinical data management. This allowed life sciences organizations to temporarily access specialized skills and scale operations up or down depending on the project cycle.

Specialist Life Sciences BPO providers emerged to meet this growing demand. Companies like PPD, Quintiles, Syneos Health, and Iqvia established shared services centers focused entirely on the life sciences industry. Over time, these BPOs acquired deep therapeutic expertise and regulatory knowledge that few client companies could match internally. They developed proprietary technology platforms and standardized processes tailored for drug and device development.

Growth of Clinical Trial Operations and Data Solutions

As clinical trials became more complex with global participants, electronic data capture became essential for quality and compliance. Life Sciences BPOs invested heavily in eClinical technologies and expanded their geographical footprint. They now support all phases of clinical trials across hundreds of locations worldwide. Many full-service CROs also emerged that manage clinical trials end-to-end from site identification and monitoring to lab sample analysis and reporting.

The exponential growth of healthcare data led to demand for advanced data analytics and real-world evidence solutions. Specialized data analytics providers like IQVIA, Anthem, and Optum leverage huge real-world datasets for insights into treatment patterns, safety monitoring, and reimbursement analytics. Life sciences companies use these solutions to inform drug development and commercialization strategies.

Impact on the Pharmaceutical and Medtech Industries

Outsourcing non-core functions to expert BPO partners has transformed R&D and commercial operations across pharmaceutical and medtech sectors. By outsourcing clinical trials, 65-80% cost savings can be achieved compared to in-house delivery. Further, access to global clinical trial networks and data solutions has accelerated drug development timelines significantly.

On the commercial side, outsourcing marketing, sales operations, customer service, and back-office transactional processes allows brands to deploy lean field teams and focus resources on high-value customer interactions. Companies have used the cost savings to reinvest in innovation.

A Maturing Industry with Continued Growth Prospects

Two decades on, the life sciences BPO industry has matured into a $35 billion global market. Industry leaders have expanded service portfolios to include specialist consulting, regulatory affairs management, commercialization planning, and medical communications. Continuous M&A activity has fuelled the consolidation trend.

Going forward, precision medicine, gene and cell therapies, digital health solutions will drive more complex data and trial requirements. The sector is poised to grow to $50 billion by 2025 as life sciences R&D investment scales up globally. Emerging markets will also see significant outsourcing adoption to bolster regional clinical capabilities and access global drug pipelines. With specialized expertise and technologies, the life sciences BPO industry will remain indispensable to the innovation pipeline in healthcare.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it