The end of January is a bit late for making New Year's resolutions, so how about some predictions for what might happen in 2013 instead. The following suggestions are pure speculation, but we'll revisit them this time next year to see just how far off the mark we were. We'll award ourselves one Eagle point for each one we get right, and then.. well, do nothing except make some new predictions to see if our crystal ball has got any better.
So here goes.
1. Oxford Nanopore will release its first commercially available sequencer onto the general market.
2. Cloud will become more popular in pharma IT, with Amazon retaining the bulk of the market share, and more and more early stage R&D (but not clinical yet) will be done in it.
3. In the face of ever-increasing data set sizes, the market for integrated R&D IT systems will become established with all the major sequencing and bioinformatics players announcing their own solutions. By integrated, we mean systems where users can apply multiple arbitrary analyses to big data without needing to move the data around.
4. Someone will invent the first mobile app for remotely managing and analysing NGS data. It won't be very good, but it will be a start. It'll almost certainly be an iPhone or iPad app.
5. The term "life sciences" will be redefined to include all of biology, not just human health, as the rapidly decreasing cost of sequencing allows huge numbers of players from non-pharma industries to join in the fun of NGS.
6. There will be at least two major mergers between big pharma as consolidation continues in the industry.
7. The first legal case for genetic discrimination will hit the US courts and will almost certainly be insurance-related.
8. Economic constraints will begin to ease and the massive cuts and reductions in R&D spending in recent years will see a reversal, with an overall increase in global life science R&D spending reported by the end of the year.
9. The continuing growth in bioinformatics data combined with the less spectacular growth in the number of bioinformaticians available to hire will see a modest but necessary increase in the number of companies outsourcing all or part of their bioinformatics function.
10. Some clever person will invent a way of 3D-printing a medical device to the exact specifications of the patient's body, maybe a pacemaker or a set of dentures, thus introducing a whole new world of personalised devices to accompany the arrival of personalised medicine. Will anything be standard any more?
We'll discuss some of these predictions in more detail at our symposium in March, so why not come along? Early bird discounts expire in just three days' time (31st Jan) but if you hurry you can still get in with the 20% discount (£156 as opposed to £195 from 1st Feb onwards).