Who would’ve thought the year 2021 would be so turbulent after the New Year Celebrations? Few could have predicted the sudden economic meltdown that came with it. Even fewer could have envisaged the extent to which new needs and regulations would impact almost all sectors’ growth.

As the pandemic festered, we saw the rise of research and development and clinical activities. There was also a remarkable headway into cell and gene therapy to search for a lasting solution to the pandemic.

Now, with a solution for COVID already being distributed, what are the biopharma trends you can’t afford to ignore in 2021?

A Lasting Cure to COVID

The end of 2020 came with a glimmer of hope when Pfizer and BioNTech produced the Phase III vaccine. Shortly, Moderna announced that they’d made progress with their candidate on the mRNA-1273 vaccine.

With the FDA approval, Pfizer, BioNTech, Novavax, Merck & Co., Translate Bio, and Sanofi has started mass distribution of the vaccine to other parts of the world. It is projected that herd immunity could be reached by Q4 of 2021.

Vaccines continue to be a significant focus for ending the pandemic once and for all.

Gene Therapy on the Rise

Another trend you can’t ignore this year is the rise of gene therapy. There have been many acquisitions regarding gene therapy lately.

Pfizer has invested $60 million in Homology Medicines, just as Bayer acquired Asklepios BioPharmaceutical. Pharma giant Roche has agreed to spend $1.8 billion on Dyno Therapeutics’ CapsidMap™ to develop adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors. These vectors are designed for gene therapies for liver-directed therapies and nervous system diseases.

From all indications, the gene therapy trials will surely take center stage this year as funding continues to flow into this medical field.

Cell Therapy Development

Another biopharma trend to watch out for this year is cell therapy development. There’s been much funding in that regard in recent times. PerkinElmer agreed to buy Horizon Discovery Group for $383 million. This deal intends to include gene modulation and editing into PerkinElmer’s automated life sciences portfolio.

Also, Sanofi has acquired Kaidis Pharma—a developer for killer cell therapies—for roughly $364 million. This acquisition is another indication that cell therapy clinical trials will experience an increase this year.

Synthetic Biology

One trend you are bound to expect this year is a continuation of investment into the synthetic biology industry. The total financing in the sector clocked at $3 billion within the first half of 2020, despite the pandemic.

We are bound to see a massive influx of investment in the sector this year as we navigate towards a post-COVID world.

If you’re in the biopharma industry, you need to position your business to work in line with these trends you’re bound to expect.

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