As the world continues to grow more connected, it is becoming increasingly more critical to protect and streamline industrial data, including data generated during pharmaceutical development and manufacturing. A delegation from Elemental Machines recently attended the IoT & Smart Pharma Summit, held in San Diego, CA on May 18-19, 2022.
What are IoT solutions for pharma?
IoT solutions for the pharma industry include connected sensors deployed to control and monitor the environment and equipment during research and manufacturing processes. These sensors collect and transmit enormous amounts of data -- more than most scientists and lab professionals even know what to do with. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can be applied to the data to inform business decisions and improve vital processes.
Thankfully, there are now software tools available to help pharma companies collect and manage their data. The information technology (IT) revolution has created some amazing innovations allowing for process improvements and gained efficiencies that will ultimately accelerate drug development timelines.
So what is stopping the pharma industry from embracing these tools with wide-open arms?
"AI and machine learning are still shrouded in mystery and a little bit of uncertainty," explained Sridhar Iyengar, CEO and Founder of Elemental Machines during a roundtable discussion titled "Behind the Smoke & Mirrors of AI and Machine Learning".
Bridging the gap between need and outcomes
There are two main instances where IoT solutions get blocked in the pharma industry, according to Iyengar. In the first scenario, leadership directs teams to implement an AI and data science strategy. However, they often do not provide any more guidance, leaving professionals with limited IoT knowledge or experience to figure things out on their own.
Alternatively, teams on the ground often advocate for AI as a tool to help sift through the terabytes of data generated in labs. In this case, these teams must convince management to budget and move forward with IoT solution implementation.
"To get buy-in, technologists need to address the problems of today or tomorrow, not the perceived problems of next year or next decade," Iyengar explained.
Fundamentally, IoT providers must be able to show a clear business benefit and use case for pharma companies to fully embrace IoT solutions in their research and manufacturing processes. The next iteration of this, and something that is attractive to many companies, is working with a single provider, according to Sal Savo, CTO at Elemental Machines.
During a roundtable titled "Avoiding IoT Mania and Unearthing Meaningful Data: An Idea Exchange Among Data-Driven Peers" moderated by Savo, he highlighted that IT teams are key decision-makers in pharma when it comes to scalable IoT solutions. And the way to win them over is to demonstrate reliable security and ease of use.
Internal teams may have reticence to share proprietary data with external technologists, but there is a huge benefit to be gained by bridging the trust gap and implementing best-in-class technologies into research and manufacturing processes.
Elemental Machines' LabOps Intelligence Platform is an IoT-enabled solution that enables pharma companies to monitor and collect data from virtually any piece of equipment in their facility.