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Editor's Letter: August 2022

Words by Helena Beer

Just as Arnold Schwarzenegger indicated he would be, it’s safe to say that pharma is back. The last few months have seen a flurry of conferences for the industry – some virtual, as we’ve all been used to for the past two years, but also some marking the long-awaited return of in-person events.

Starting with NEXT Pharma Summit in May and ending with Cannes Lions: The International Festival of Creativity in June, GOLD has attended some of the very best, and we’ve collated all our learnings and picked out a selection of the key themes discussed.

Half of this issue is business as usual: we travel to India for the latest in our ‘Pharma in…’ series, the cover feature looks at the portrayal of pharma’s reputation in pop culture and how the industry can help to tackle the bias, and our infographic focuses on the efforts to speed up vaccine development to facilitate a pandemic response within 100 days.

But we also share our round-up of this highly-anticipated conference season, offering in-depth analyses of the hot topics discussed, along with an abundance of inspirational thought leadership.

Now, I don’t know about you, but the subject of digital twins has been appearing on my radar a lot recently – as I type there are no fewer than three new press releases in my inbox on the topic. Whether it’s an example of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon or an actual increase in digital twin-related output across pharma, PR and the media, I’m unsure, but I’d speculate it’s the latter.

The concept of digital twins is undoubtedly gaining momentum. With huge potential across the board, they’re used for everything from engineering to manufacturing, and demand is growing. For pharma, digital twins are disrupting the way some clinical trials are approached. As our feature suggests, and with insights from Reuters Events: Pharma Clinical 2022, randomised control trials using this technology hold the key to faster, more efficient trials with reliable evidence and fewer barriers such as access.

And breaking down barriers is the basis of our genomics feature, too. For so long, pharma has been battling with the public’s misconception that genomics is a melting pot of ethics, data and equity issues, when in actual fact, the life-saving potential it holds is unrivalled by any other branch of medicine. There’s a huge opportunity for pharma to spread positive messages around genomic successes to set the record straight for good.

This article features in GOLD 23 – read the full issue here.

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