IB Communications’ CEO Michelle Boxall explains why there are two sides to the cell and gene therapy coin.
Charles Dickens’ quote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”, aptly describes the complexity surrounding CGT financing. With 2023’s financial outlook and predictions for the CGT market, there are two sides to this coin.
The CGT sector received huge sums of investment off the back of the pandemic and through to mid 2021, as investors moved their cash into the next wave of therapeutic innovation. While this has increased scientific breakthroughs and therapies in development, it has also catalysed an influx of solutions providers entering the market. Despite the obvious benefits of industry growth, the increased competition is creating more pressure to diversify and demonstrate a company’s unique selling points at a time when the industry calls for collaboration and standardisation. Balancing working with the competition on common industry goals without dampening innovation is going to be important in 2023 and will require good leadership.
On the other hand, the global economy has been impacted by the more recent downward trajectory and our clients are no exception. Budgets are being scrutinised. Deliverables, whether they be clinical progress or new products and services, must be on time, efficient and clear. There’s less room for grey areas. That said, the life science sector does run on differing investment cycles to other industries and success will still generate rewards in 2023. There remain companies gaining funds and investment.
Moreover, the routes to go public continue to broaden. Special purpose acquisition companies are slowing but remain a route to public markets, and now reverse mergers have offered additional opportunities for companies to list. The life science sector has come a long way from a simple binary choice of IPO or sale.
The fashion trends of CGTs
The CGT sector is seldom compared to the fashion industry, but there’s a parallel in how variations in CGTs become flavours of the month. Attention has spiked in CAR-Ts, MSCs, SVFs, NK cells, as well as mRNA gene therapies with their Covid vaccine successes. Where the fashion parallel ends, however, is each period of attention for each CGT type brings more investment, research, development and clinical success, and pushes each respective field closer to the people that need them. This widening group of CGTs is bringing diversity in C-level leaders, scientists and organisations as scientific approaches broaden. The potential and clinical successes of combination therapies with CGTs and therapies from other fields is also further democratising and diversifying the life science sector. Continuing to collaborate will be vital to deliver therapies to patients faster and cost effectively.
We get closer to patients as the CGT industry matures. In the steps towards translating CGTs from the clinic into commercialised therapies, the industry is focusing on the manufacturing challenges of reducing costs and scaling up to serve more patients. This has facilitated conversations around patient numbers and waiting lists. Reimbursement and geographical constraints are also being considered, which edge us closer to health policy makers, the hospital community, health practitioners and ultimately the patient.
Engaging with the patient and health providers delivers opportunities for greater success in the market. This is a key factor in the high stakes of market authorisation, pricing, reimbursement, and sales.
DDW Volume 24 – Issue 1, Winter 2022/23 – Cell and Gene Therapy Guide