Blog 08 Jan 2024 

High-potential sectors shaping up for dynamic innovation in 2024

These sectors of industry are shaping up for dynamic innovation in 2024.

Arun Harish

Arun Harish

Chief Strategy Officer

From healthcare to energy storage, innovation is reshaping industries and offering new solutions and opportunities. Here’s what you need to know about these dynamic sectors’ current trends and where they look to be heading in 2024.

The landscape of innovation continues to evolve rapidly across many industrial and manufacturing sectors. It is set to continue to grow at pace with government backing as well as private investment. From the launch of the UK’s national vision for engineering biology to new private funding programmes, keeping track of the latest developments is no easy task. That’s why we’ve collated the key trends in four high potential areas of interest for us at CPI – so you don’t have to. 

  • Oligonucleotide-based therapeutics
  • Technology-enabled health and medicine 
  • Batteries and energy storage 
  • Pharmaceutical supply chain and distribution

Here’s what to expect in 2024 and beyond. 

Oligonucleotide-based therapeutics

2023 brought significant investment in the field of oligonucleotide-based therapeutics – with some estimates projecting that it could be worth around $32 billion by 2032. Oligos fall under the remit of the UK Government £2 billion plan for engineering biology.

Oligonucleotides show the promise of treating a wide range of diseases through gene modulation. 

With the industry experiencing a boom, Agilent announced that it would spend $725 million to double its oligonucleotide manufacturing capacity.

The diversity of oligonucleotide-based therapy options is growing, however there are still a number of challenges to overcome. Improving the complex manufacturing process and delivery – getting oligonucleotides where they need to be in the body – are key challenges to overcome and are areas in which investment should lead to rapid progress in 2024

At the end of 2023, we announced our plans to create The Oligonucleotide Manufacturing Innovation Centre of Excellence in Glasgow, Scotland. The centre, which is joint funded by the UK and Scottish governments, is expected to be fully operational in 2025 and will help to ensure that the UK is at the forefront of developments in this field.

Technology-enabled health and medicine

Healthcare is evolving rapidly, and at the centre of this is a shift from a one treatment fits all’ approach to a personalised one. This is in large part due to advances in genetics and the oligonucleotide-based treatments mentioned above, but also the wealth of health data we are now able to gather. Linked devices, collectively known as the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), are at the forefront of this vast data collection. The IoMT includes wearable technologies, such as smart watches, smart clothing’ with integrated sensors, and portable smart technology designed to support recovery from stroke.

Consultancy firm McKinsey estimated that the market for these devices will increase to between $0.5 trillion and $1.8 trillion by 2030. This increased interconnectivity and data transfer will also need to be met with growth in network capability – which is something else we are working on. Our 5G testbed is designed to accelerate innovation in this area through greater reliability, capacity, speed, and security. 

These technologies will become more integral to the healthcare system in 2024, enabling remote health monitoring through real-time data. Clinicians will be able to make more informed and timely decisions about a patient’s healthcare needs.

Further in the future, following this next phase of growth in telemedicine, we are likely to see the introduction of virtual wards and more widespread use of digital twins – a technique that helps test the impact of healthcare devices and treatments on the body.

Lastly, several tech-based clinical trials slated for 2024 hint that AI, apps, and machine learning will mature into use throughout healthcare, from cancer diagnosis to patient triage and treatment.

Batteries and energy storage

The electrification of the world is gathering pace. Investment in clean energy, such as solar and wind, overtook oil production in 2023 and the electric vehicle (EV) market continues to grow exponentially. This makes longer-lasting, more sustainable energy use and storage paramount. 

In response, battery technology is evolving alongside consumer choice. Lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries are poised to claim a bigger share of the EV battery market outside China in 2024. They have a lower energy density than lithium-ion batteries based on nickel manganese cobalt oxides but compensate with faster charging, greater safety and durability. This makes them more suitable for shorter range driving and lower performance vehicles. 

New materials and electrolytes also provide advantageous alternatives to lithium-ion chemistry. Sodium-ion and solid-state batteries advantages include higher energy density and safety as well as more abundant elements in their main materials. The challenge facing companies active in these areas e.g. Altris (a Swedish sodium-ion battery developer) can be the material/​cell production scalability with an additional factor of sustainability being a key focus for future generations of EVs and stationary storage applications. Having access to materials at scale to validate cell performance with robust data can be a challenge for many companies, as it often requires significant capital investment. 

That’s the kind of sustainable battery material and cell innovation capability that CPI’s Advanced Materials Battery Industrialisation Centre (AMBIC) is poised to bring to North East England. This is a facility, funded by Innovate UK, at CPI and in partnership with WMG – a fellow Catapult within the High Value Manufacturing Catapults group — to deliver scaled quantities of active materials and cells for the validation of novel materials and technologies using industrially relevant manufacturing technologies. 

Medicine manufacturing processes and pharmaceutical supply chains

Pharmaceutical manufacturing has traditionally focused on large batches of bulk medicines in a one-size-fits-most supply chain. However, new innovations in treatment for rare diseases and pandemic-scale infections mean the industry must be more agile. This drives a need to accommodate the manufacture of a wider range of medicines made in smaller batches, as well as the rapid scale up of new medicines to combat global health issues and everything in between – all whilst becoming more sustainable. Essentially transformation of the supply chain to enable significant changes, with a focus on efficiency and innovation. 

The convergent requirements for sustainability and agility are being enabled by an emergence of new technologies such as continuous manufacturing, non-toxic manufacturing processes, decarbonisation and digital twin test beds that allow processes to be improved by two-way communication with their digital models. 

In 2024, this digitalisation of the pharmaceutical industry will continue apace, and spending on digital solutions is expected to reach about $1.2 billion in 2030, including a drive to diversify manufacturing practices through intelligent automation. Research suggests that 30% of new drugs could be discovered using AI by 2025 – but its use doesn’t stop there. The integration of AI and blockchain technologies is expected to improve transparency, traceability, security and efficiency, further enhancing the agility and responsiveness of the supply chain and bringing benefits in operational costs and delivery timelines.

An innovation-fueled future

AI made headlines in 2023 and is set to do more of the same in 2024 as we see its myriad applications across the industry. But it is not alone in the innovations expected to shape our world. From healthcare to energy, food and pharma, the trends indicate a future shaped by efficiency, transparency, increasing personalisation, and environmental consciousness – all of which is driven by digital and technological solutions. 

As these sectors continue to evolve, they will offer exciting opportunities for growth and development in 2024 and we can’t wait to be a part of it.

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