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Prescription For Growth: Pharma gets a digital booster shot

20 Feb 2023

The life sciences industry, once considered a digital laggard, is now embracing digital at an unprecedented pace and scale, driven in part by the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a survey by Indegene, 62% of healthcare professionals (HCPs) seek hyper-contextualised interactions from pharma sales representatives. Engaging customers more contextually, anytime, anywhere, is now a key priority for CXOs —from large pharma to emerging biotech, as well as medical device companies. They are turning to AI/ML and analytics to drive personalisation at scale.

“The value of a digital-first approach is evident across the life sciences value chain”, says Manish Gupta, chairman and CEO, Indegene, a company offering research and development and management services to healthcare and pharmaceutical enterprises.. “We see many of our clients investing in AI/ML and advanced analytics to drive hyper-personalisation at scale. The industry is also experimenting with new paradigms like metaverse to deliver personalised, immersive experiences to patients and providers.”

Digital gets pivotal

Unlike piecemeal digital rollouts in the past, many life sciences companies are now taking a more holistic, digital-first approach to their entire business — from R&D to clinical trials, safety and regulatory processes to sales and marketing, and beyond.

But there are challenges too. The trifecta of rising drug development and commercialisation complexities, an evolving regulatory landscape, and increased competition, is compelling life sciences companies to rewire their DNA. The shift to value-based/outcome-based pricing, changing care models and healthcare ecosystems, and more informed physicians and patients, are adding to the complexity.

Specialists in demand

To convert these challenges into opportunities, life sciences organisations are turning to specialised service providers with deep domain knowledge like Indegene which positions itself as a digital-first, life-sciences commercialisation firm. The Bengaluru-headquartered company counts 20 of the top 20 global biopharma companies, many emerging biotech companies, and medical device companies among its clientele.

Industry estimates peg life sciences sales to reach $2.1 trillion by 2025 at a 5.8% CAGR, driven by rise in aging population, increasing prevalence of chronic diseases and discovery of new diseases, among others. However, the industry is grappling with a deficit of specialised talent and inadequate in-house digital capabilities, rising sales and marketing (S&M) as well as research and development (R&D) expenses, the need to optimise regulatory and medical affairs processes, and increasing complexity in clinical trials.

To navigate these, life sciences organisations have had to dial up their outsourcing efforts, creating significant growth opportunities for specialised service providers like Indegene. “Our solutions enable clients to develop products, launch them in the market, and drive sales through their life cycle in a more effective, efficient and modern manner,” asserts Gupta.

The growth story

Indegene has focussed on both organic and inorganic growth over the years. It has made several strategic acquisitions to expand capabilities and geographical reach, emerging as an end-to-end commercialisation provider. The company recently expanded its presence in Europe, with a new centre in Germany to better collaborate with local client teams and help unlock more value for clients.

On the financial front, Indegene is one of the rare digital-first companies to be profitable at scale. It reported a revenue of $223.81 million in FY 2021-22. “We have always been a financially prudent company,” quips the IIM-Ahmedabad alumnus proudly.

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