Megatrends and Knowledge Priorities - download our Sector Competitiveness Plan today

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By: Dr Dan Grant

When the Greek philosopher Heraclitus was proffering his theories of universal flux in around 500BC, I’m convinced he was thinking about the medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector.

Changing consumer demands and rapid technological advances mean that our sector is particularly dynamic; where the only thing that is constant is change. It’s a characteristic which gives rise to the emergence of megatrends, or the overarching social, economic, environmental, technological and geopolitical forces that can shape the future of industries.

Megatrends are often disruptive. And while they can change existing business models they also present opportunities. Fortunately, because constant adaption, revision and change are part of the DNA of health and medical researchers, our sector is better placed than most to seize the opportunities presented by the new, emerging megatrends.

Developments such as genomics, gene-editing, big data and analytics are accelerating the rise of precision medicine and digital health solutions.

The ability to develop products and services tailored to individual / groups of consumers with seamless digital connectivity and integration is becoming increasingly feasible and holds great promise for enabling better health outcomes for consumers.

Consumers are also increasingly aware of key issues affecting their overall health and wellbeing and are looking to take more responsibility for maintaining or improving their health.

Emerging Megatrends


  • Digital Evolution: Standardisation of data sharing is accelerating development of new technologies and treatments that target individuals and the wider health system. Cybersecurity is a growing challenge demanding increasing attention.
  • Consumer Control: Technology and information access are empowering patients to manage their own healthcare. We are increasingly seeing medical technologies that are part of a consumer-driven, consumer-focused, digitally enabled ecosystem.
  • The Chronic Burden: New innovations are allowing us to manage chronic disease and live longer than ever before. Mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety are becoming increasingly prevalent. There are challenges in finding cost-effective models to cope with longer lifespans.
  • Healthy Ageing: New approaches to maintaining good health for as long as possible and increasing the healthy lifespan. Closely related to the chronic burden and consumer control megatrends, presents opportunities for new products and services that target healthy living and disease prevention.
  • Precision Healthcare: Rise of targeted pharmaceuticals, biologicals and personalised medical technologies. Real-time measurement and assessment of individual health will create demand for product and service providers that can offer integrated precision solutions.
  • Value-Based Healthcare: Where patients’ health outcomes drive the choice, delivery and reimbursement of therapies. Implications across multiple parts of the healthcare value chain, where MTP companies will need to rethink their operating models to cater for the more customer and value-focused approach.
  • Integrated Care Models: New models of care to better address the context and specific needs of the patient. Products will be required that can coexist and communicate with other products and information sources as part of an ongoing, continuous care ecosystem.
  • Global Biosecurity: With more frequent travel and greater interconnectedness between countries, infectious disease outbreaks are becoming inevitable and unpredictable. Continued development of technologies to combat global threats will require an agile research, clinical development and manufacturing industry.
  • Developing Markets: Demands for healthcare solutions are rising in developing countries. Value can be created by partnering with developing countries to understand their unique needs and providing know-how and technology transfer for their markets.

MTPConnect’s 2019 Sector Competitiveness Plan examines these megatrends. It also identifies key Knowledge Priorities, zeroing-in on the areas where there is a high level of unmet need, and where Australia is, or has the potential to be, a leading contributor globally.

In so doing, our 2019 SCP captures the evolving nature of the MTP sector and provides a roadmap to drive innovation and sector growth.

Aligning strategically around the emerging megatrends and key Knowledge Priorities will enable Australia to build long-term, world-class positions in targeted areas of research, where patient outcomes can be realised and opportunities exist for strong commercial returns.

In this context, it is crucial for the Australian MTP sector to take a collective, coordinated response to these changes in healthcare to maximise value creation - for the industry and consumers.

Dr Dan Grant is Managing Director and CEO of MTPConnect. He will be discussing megatrends in health and medical research at the Innovate Health conference in Melbourne tomorrow (Wednesday 26 June).