Discovering the Bio Revolution

The Bio Revolution is redefining innovation in the life sciences. How this might be a game changer.

The life sciences have made great advances in the past years. Biology, life sciences and the megatrend of digitization are growing closer together, enabling new inventions that impact our daily lives in a scope that we speak of a Bio Revolution. This revolution is reinforced by rapid increases in computing power and the emergence of new capabilities in AI, automation, and data analytics. These trends are further accelerating the pace of innovation and the potential for higher R&D productivity in the life sciences.

 

All this has led to new ways to understand and explore biology. The range of life forms on earth is incredibly complex and diverse. However, the methods to analyze them can be remarkably similar. Technologies and methods are transcending disciplinary boundaries even faster.

 

The implications across the life sciences can be enormous:

For human health, for example, a deeper understanding of the relationship between genetics and disease has led to the emergence of precision medicine, which can potentially be more effective than the one-size-fits-all therapies of the past. In the future, new technologies could help the healthcare industry not only treat, but cure or even prevent diseases. New gene and cell therapies, for example, aim to cure genetic diseases, potentially enabling sustainable organ replacement or reversing autoimmune diseases.

With sufficient funding, the writing of genomes on the billion-nucleotide scale could be a reality before the end of this decade. Investigators have many applications in mind, including the design of plants that resist pathogens and an ultrasafe human cell line – impervious, say, to virus infections, cancer, and radiation – that could be the basis for cell-based therapies or for biomanufacturing … enabling doctors to cure many, if not all, genetic diseases.
World Economic Forum
,
Top 10 Emerging Technologies 2020

Disease treatment and prevention is not only important for human life, but also for plant life. In agriculture, the Bio Revolution offers new opportunities to help address important health, nutrition, and environmental needs. This includes exploring novel ways to enhance the resistance of plants or developing new seed varieties which could potentially reduce a plant’s need for agricultural inputs, such as fertilizer, crop protection and water. Ultimately, biotechnology is and continues to be a key lever that can continue to significantly reduce agriculture’s global environmental footprint.

The Bio Revolution has the potential to help address some of the most critical global challenges, from climate change to pandemics, chronic diseases, and worldwide food security. Experts estimate that a significant portion of the economic impact of biological applications will be in health care, agriculture, and consumer products.3 Already today, the Bio Revolution with its convergence of science and technology has created an explosion of research projects in science and business. Each year, the amount of Intellectual Property related to the Bio Revolution is increasing.4 This can be seen, for example, by the number of patents in CrispR or plant biotech. In short: the revolution is gaining momentum and holds a great promise for health and food alike.

Total number of CRISPR patent applications worldwide per year from 1984 to 2018.
Fueled by digitalization, growing connectivity, and falling costs, important advances in biotechnology are intertwined with more systemic shift in how bio-innovation is undertaken and who is involved. Microbiome technologies, advanced genomics, gene editing and synthetic biology are among key enabling technologies that have the potential to change the face of bio-innovation. This broader redefinition of bio-innovation creates new prospects to help address important nutrition, environmental and development needs
World Economic Forum
,
Bio-Innovation Dialogue Initiative

As a leading life science company, Bayer is aligned with the long-term market trends in health and nutrition and offers innovative and sustainable solutions to tackle some of the key challenges for humanity. Bayer brings to the table an extensive knowledge of human and plant science, supported by its expertise in regulatory processes and an impressive global footprint to ultimately bring innovations from labs to market.

 


Sources

 

1 PG Economics (2020), Crop biotechnology continues to provide higher farmer income and significant environmental benefits
2 PG Economics (2017), Brookes & Barfoot: GM crops: global socio-economic and environmental impacts 1996-2015
3 McKinsey (2020), The Bio Revolution
4 IPlytics (2019), Recent patent trends in CRISPR