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Turning the page

During 2021, the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the life science industry moved on from initial chock to acceptance and finding a way forward.

Throughout the year, COVID has been ever present, but the industry has managed the situation well. Now the sector will have to deal with the after-effects, as restrictions are removed, to leverage the benefits of the creative technical solutions invented for pandemic use, and the reconstruction of in-person interactions. Johan Strömquist, CEO at NDA Group shares his thoughts on what has been and what’s to come.

“I think that in 2022, the return to serendipitous physical conferences will be further enhanced by the virtual technologies we’ve adopted during the pandemic.”

“We’re entering a hybrid world where virtual meets physical which should provide us with more opportunities, faster ways of engagements, and a return to those high-quality interactions that we had before the pandemic. The physical meeting is not just a matter of sparking up a conversation to do business. It’s about being inspired, to learn something new, and to develop relationships. I think that in 2022, the return to serendipitous physical conferences will be further enhanced by the virtual technologies we’ve adopted during the pandemic.”

“If you look at the breadth of ongoing activities, the growth, and the vitality of the Nordics, this has actually strengthened over 2021.”

What is your reflection on the Nordic development during 2021?

“It’s not like we’ve seen a tremendous number of breakthroughs in terms of new product market entries by Nordic companies. But if you look at the breadth of ongoing activities, the growth, and the vitality of the Nordics, this has actually strengthened over 2021.”

If you could highlight three areas, what do you think stands out?

“What first comes to mind is that it has been another extraordinary year from the capital market perspective. For example the Sobi public cash offer by private equity firm Advent International and Singapore wealth fund GIC or most recently the agreement between CombiGene and Spark Therapeutics. Globally investment funds are at an all-time high and there is a lot of interest in Nordic innovation. We can’t rest on our laurels but must continue to advance the attraction of international investors.”

“The Nordics represent over 20% of the IPO equity in Europe with an impressive number of listings in both biotech and MedTech compared to other European markets.”

“The activity level at Nasdaq is beyond any other European market today. The Nordics represent over 20% of the IPO equity in Europe with an impressive number of listings in both biotech and MedTech compared to other European markets. Access to the public markets early is a very interesting differentiator for the region, although going public is not for the faint of heart.”

“COVID made clinical milestones more challenging to meet for the developers and the delays forced companies to have more meaningful interactions with agencies to push the agenda forward.”

“In the regulatory space, we have seen that regulatory interactions and milestones are more important than ever. COVID made clinical milestones more challenging to meet for the developers and the delays forced companies to have more meaningful interactions with agencies to push the agenda forward. This accentuated the importance of those interactions, both from a scientific and a valuation point of view.”

“I also believe that we will see an overall decrease in in-person agency interactions in the future regardless of jurisdiction compared to pre-pandemic levels. These are costly exercises for everyone involved. Building on the lessons taught by the pandemic will increase productivity and reduce costs. Some of the flagship meetings with agencies will surely remain, but more activity stay online.”

“The nature of quality control has also changed. We will see a return to physical inspections even if the new virtual tools and processes introduced will continue to be used. It’s just too valuable for an inspector to be on site. Therefore, I have a reasonably firm belief that we will see more of a return to normality when it comes to quality management.”

“We’ve been talking about gene technology for many years and as we now have our first approvals things are starting to get really exciting!”

“We’ve been talking about gene technology for many years and as we now have our first approvals things are starting to get really exciting! One of the most remarkable things going on is the maturation of our manufacturing capabilities. Only two years ago there was a huge gap in capacity to deal with these technologies, but with the scale up of mRNA, the introduction of new therapies and  indications we’ve seen a tremendous growth. The manufacturers are poised for continued scale-ups which will further amplify innovation as manufacturing and science go hand in hand.”

Anything else you would like to place a bet on for 2022?

“I would not be surprised if we saw one or two mega deals coming in by the end of the first quarter in 2022.”

“Despite some interesting developments in the Nordic market over the last year, large M&A activities have been relatively limited from a global point of view. I would not be surprised if we saw one or two mega deals coming in by the end of the first quarter in 2022. This is always exciting because it stirs up additional interest in the industry. So, watch out for some interesting announcements in a few months’ time.”

 


About NDA

NDA is a leading regulatory drug & device development consultancy, supporting companies with their regulatory, pharmacovigilance, quality and strategic communication challenges across the US and Europe. In 2020 NDA supported 42% of the new medicinal products approved in Europe and 1 in 5 of the new medicinal products approved by the FDA.

Learn more about NDA: ndareg.com