When it comes to assessing current opportunities to disrupt healthcare as we know it, John Nosta, who runs the proudly contrarian NostaLab think tank, doesn't know where to begin. "We are at a true inflection point in human history," he says. Well, how about if we try and compare it to, say, the Industrial Revolution? "We'd be aiming too low," he responds. It's no surprise, then, that Nosta believes the fundamental nature of the pharmaceutical industry is changing, moving away from "the drug-development model, with heavy-handed regulation and conservative philosophy" toward "a digital health movement, with collaboration between multiple stakeholders. It's so much more than people just being more adept with smartphones."
What comes next, Nosta says, should prove even more exciting, given recent advances in nanotechnology and wearables that are less fitness trackers than "clinically imperative diagnostics." Increasingly, the industry's focus will shift to longevity, he predicts. "We're seeing this already with Google's Calico, which focuses on aging." —Sarah Mahoney