One of the many great things about London Business School is the high quality events it organises. The 5th Global Healthcare Conference, held last week, was no exception. The healthcare club, supported by the school, did a remarkable job in putting together a very successful event.

The event featured exceptional keynote speakers: Alex Gorsky, CEO of Johnson&Johnson, and Lord Howe, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department of Health.

The theme was the Future of Healthcare, echoing our MBA class theme, the Future of Capitalism. Two panels looked at the underlying drivers and pressures and innovations in healthcare. Panellists from academia, biotech, pharma or payers contributed to a very high level discussion.

Here are the key takeways for me.

On the pressure side are an ageing population, unhealthy lifestyles and the ever increasing time and costs required to develop a new drug, hurting the traditional big pharma model. Certain diseases also pose resisting challenges, such as Alzheimer’s diseases (and more generally neurosciences), and thus represent opportunities to change paradigms.

As for the drivers, panellists talked about globalisation, meaning that new markets are open, requiring specific products. The growing importance of technology, used in quantified self and mobile health is another driver, and we will see a convergence of medicine and technology. The increasing availability of big data could be a very powerful tool to understand and control diseases, if we can work our way around ethical issues. Finally, another element of change is our approach to healthcare, more consumerist, with better informed and more demanding patients.

The second panel stressed out that innovation is no longer just about finding new molecules. Improved access and convergence of technology and clinic are as important field of innovation. Personalised medicine and prevention, through vaccines, education and lifestyle, are also key components of our future’s healthcare.

Collaboration is crucial to innovate, and the players are changing. Increased development times and high attrition rates force pharma companies to reconsider their model and collaborate more. Venture Capital is, understandably, more cautious in investing in early stage biotechnology firms, therefore there is a need for increased involvement of the public sector, as well as precompetitive consortia of pharma companies. This is what J&J aims to achieve in opening new biotechnology research centres.

Alex Gorsky reminded the audience that a better healthcare is a key driver in improving economy. Lord Howe concluded the evening by reaffirming that his aim for the UK is “to be the first place for life science innovation”.

Alex Gorsky also congratulated the LBS team who finished second in the global competition organised by the company in october, confirming the school’s strong credibility in healthcare.

One Response to “The future of healthcare”

  1. avatar Mani says:

    Hi,

    I am applying to LBS in Round 2. Could you please help me with the following –

    1) Schools in the US have certificate programs or even majors for Healthcare Management. Though there is a very active Heathcare Club in LBS, I could not see courses/electives focused in healthcare. Am I missing something here?

    2) I am interested in low-cost healthcare delivery/providers. What opportunities do I have in LBS to specialize in service delivery?

    3) What projects in first year or second year can I take to learn more about my interests? How does this work?

    Regards,
    Mani