The future of the life sciences industries: Aftermath of the global recession

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu & Economist Intelligence Unit announce survey results

The global recession has undoubtedly affected the life sciences industries – the question is whether the impact is temporary or more strategic and lasting? To assess the short- and long-term effects of the financial crisis, and to discover whether the downturn is just a difficult but not insurmountable event for life sciences companies – or if it’s a turning point for the industry as whole, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu has collaborated with the Economist Intelligence Unit to survey industry executives and leaders.

The findings are part of a new report, The future of the life sciences industries: aftermath of the global recessionand was based on online surveys of 281 senior industry executives during Fall 2009. Of the respondents, 133 are board members or C-level executives. The report also draws on individual interviews with industry leaders. Their responses reveal that, while the immediate financial hit of the recession has been mostly absorbed, industry forces already in play will only be intensified by this most recent downturn and may permanently reshape the look of the industry.

Some key findings of the report include:

  • More than 65 percent of respondents indicated that their company has been moderately to significantly negatively affected by the recent global recession. A significant minority of 17 percent say that the recession will cause major changes to their pre-recession strategy.
  • 44 percent of respondents believe that 20 to 40 percent of existing biotech companies won’t exist in five years as a result of the global recession. The equivalent figure for biotech executives surveyed was a more pessimistic 68 percent.
  • Companies that can sustain their focus on innovation will be the eventual winners in the industry. However, nearly one-third of respondents specify that their company is reducing R&D spend and 43 percent indicate that their company is focusing on products with immediate returns.