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Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology

Current Trends and Issues

The pharma/biotech industry exists in a constant state of change influenced by scientific advancement, government regulation, evolving business practices, and the changing needs of patients. For example, more drug research and development is being outsourced to contract research organizations (CROs), reducing job opportunities at traditional pharma/biotech companies, but creating openings at CROs. Emerging nanoscience/nanotechnology is creating new, more effective ways to deliver drugs to patients as well as increased demand for scientists and researchers proficient in nanoscience/nanotechnology. The aging of the U.S. population is increasing demand for drugs and therapies that treat heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke. Another major breakthrough is the discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 Genome Engineering Tool (more commonly known as CRISPR), which has allowed engineers and scientists to edit genes faster, more efficiently, and less expensively than other existing genome editing methods. CRISPR is a "revolutionary, once-in-a-generation tool that offers the real potential to quickly and efficiently achieve what was once thought impossible. Since 2012, the technology has been adopted rapidly, transforming basic research, drug development, diagnostics and agriculture," according to TIME magazine. The development and use of CRISPR technology will increase demand for genetic science professionals in the next decade due to the variety of applications for this tool—although there will be considerable debate about safety and ethical issues relating to the tool. "Scientists have recently learned that the approach to gene editing can inadvertently wipe out and rearrange large swaths of DNA in ways that may imperil human health," according to Vox.com. These are only a few of the many developments and trends that will shape the future of the industry.

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