Attending the Swiss Biotech Day 2016 in Basel this week was interesting once again, not only for the many valuable meetings and contacts, but also for the insights and take-aways that the day had to offer professionally. The Swiss Biotech Report for example is something to always have an eye on, since it got presented at the Swiss Biotech Day. It’s always an interesting read and an indicator as to what is going on in the Life Sciences. What do people value as the most promising trends to talk about? One repeatedly surfacing buzzword was “fusion” and it got me interested to dig a little further into.
The reason I find it so interesting is that the trends usually indicate what the most important innovation drivers are and, as we all know, innovation is what gets us places. And this innovation, as the report indicated, seems to largely come from combining different ideas and technologies from rather separated fields and industries. We already covered this field ourselves (see here IT and Health or HR and Life Sciences) but there are many more examples when you look at how interdisciplinary companies have (or had to) become. In Biotech you can take biology, chemistry and physics as quite obvious interdisciplinary fields but also add mathematics, engineering and IT, when connected Health or Software-Solutions come into play.
How to “fuse”
Of course “fusion” hinges on the question regarding how two former separate fields manage to work together and this concerns all steps in the value chain, starting out with the combination of academic education and industry access. So in order to create innovation the fusion has to happen and for that the companies need to keep an open mind and stay flexible. New technologies require adaptive systems that can quickly use them and incorporate them, understand them and facilitate the structures they need. That isn’t necessarily possible by “every man for himself “ but sometimes needs bigger structures of cooperation, networking and exchange. That “fusion” goes down to simple information structures, e.g. “who is actually working on the same problem like I am?” and ends somewhere at: “how do funding guidelines actually apply here?”
"technology fusion" is key
Very interesting innovative and disruptive ideas are coming from areas where technologies have been successfully fused, like in bioinformatics, biomolecular and cellular engineering and nano-biotechnology. This is not going to be the end of the story. We’re looking at bio-printing, clean-biotech and many more emerging fields that have promising ideas and technologies. And they clearly show, that in the future it IS all about fusion and the better we “fuse”, the better we can support innovation in the life sciences.