biotechnology software development guide

Key takeaways

  • A fully digital workflow, automation, optimized business processes, enhanced data management, and data security are the key benefits of operating with biotech software.
  • Having reached $1.55 trillion in 2023, the global biotech market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 13.96% from 2024 to 2030.
  • Custom biotechnology software solutions can provide your business with the boost it needs to excel in today’s competitive market.

Biotechnology software holds a lot of promise for today’s thriving medical sector. To get the edge in this information-rich niche, businesses require modern tech solutions.

From the business perspective, biotech software must allow for efficient management of resources and provide automation where possible. High data security and reliability standards are a must, too. Last but not least comes compliance with FDA’s requirements and regulations like HIPAA.

Standing among the top healthcare developers, Acropolium has the experience and knowledge to build software for the biotechnology segment. Our team has already delivered several biotech-related projects, diving deep into the specifics of the domain and mastering the relevant technical skills.

In the first section of this piece, we’ll focus on software’s role in biotech companies’ growth. Then, we will discover its tech peculiarities and our successful case studies. Read on!

Biotech global market: A brief overview

software for biotechnology and related healthcare trends

The growing popularity of biomedical products is driven by multiple factors like the prevalence of chronic diseases, advancements in molecular biology, and the simplification of approval procedures. According to recent reports, four out of ten new drugs are currently based on biotechnology and cutting-edge healthcare technology trends.

To develop sophisticated software for biotech operations, medical institutions usually leverage the following tech advancements:

  • Personalized medicine for tailoring treatments to individual genetic profiles.
  • Gene editing and CRISPR for modifying genes to address genetic disorders and diseases.
  • Telemedicine and digital health for expanding access to remote healthcare services.
  • Immunotherapy for boosting the immune system to fight cancer.
  • AI and Big Data for enhancing diagnostics, treatment planning, and drug discovery.

biotech software companies revenue and market size

Researchers predict the size of the global biotech market to be $1.55 trillion in 2023. Furthermore, it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.96% from 2024 to 2030. More and more biotech software companies enter the market each year, and pharmaceutical giants are eager to join forces with biotech companies.

For instance, the very first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty, was developed by Pfizer in cooperation with BioNTech. Another biotech-derived Covid-19 medicine, Remdesivir, was approved for use as a treatment for young children.

Due to market democratization, many biotech startups have entered the race and are able to secure some serious financing. For example, a San Diego-based biotechnology startup raised $140 million to fund its research on genetically modified immune cells. With a little tweaking, those cells are capable of neutralizing their cancerous counterparts.

Based on this study, North America recently accounted for the largest share of the market at 44%. It’s closely followed by the Asia Pacific region, which is showing rapid growth at 16.8%.

Biotechnology has already given rise to novel sub-disciplines such as metabolomics and proteomics. Therapeutic proteins and other biotech-derived drugs are being developed thanks to the efforts of researchers. The segment is actively growing, and there’s plenty of room — both for incumbents and newcomers.

Benefits of biotech software development

biotech software development benefits

The entire healthcare industry is undergoing a digital transformation. Thus, up-and-coming startups and established biotech software companies have equally good reasons to use the best software available.

Here’s what you can achieve by investing in functional, well-designed biotech software.

Fully embrace digitalization

EMR and EHR (electronic medical and health records), HMS (hospital management systems), and adopting data exchange standards like FHIR move the industry forward. To integrate such systems in the biotechnology segment, a biotech company should have a completely digital pipeline, from R&D to production, distribution, and marketing.

Automate standard tasks

Creating pharmaceutical products is beset with repetitive actions that consume resources and affect efficiency. An experienced software partner will help you identify those bottlenecks and offer automation techniques to increase productivity.

Leverage the power of AI and ML

Given the copious amounts of data biotech research and clinical trials produce, companies deserve to have the latest tools available. Using AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning), biotech businesses can facilitate the collection and analysis of data. Projects specializing in bioimaging, DNA sequencing, or protein synthesis will find such technology instrumental.

Optimize business processes

Modern software can help you streamline financial operations, manage document flow, and enhance material and quality control. With cloud-based storage and computing capabilities, you’ll be prepared to handle any challenges and scale your business as needed.

Ensure compliance

With an experienced software partner, you can focus on achieving your business goals without being distracted by compliance issues. For instance, your software may track and document the product creation process following applicable FDA and HHS standards.

Protect proprietary and client data

Medical research data must be protected at all times, along with any personal information collected during trials and sales. Biotech software that’s been properly designed should guarantee protection from any data loss or leaks.

Main types of biotechnology software

types of biotech SaaS software and other healthcare systems

Depending on the model of business and the area of biotechnology, companies may have very different needs in terms of software. Let’s look at the most typical kinds of biotech solutions.

Pharmaceutical software and laboratory information system (LIS)

If you manufacture biotech products and need to set up efficient workflows while keeping the operational focus on research, then you’ll benefit from adopting a LIMS. A laboratory information system is designed to help you dynamically manage your lab, from samples and tools to people and processes.

Here’s what a LIMS system, created by skilled biotech software developers, can help you do:

  • Track samples and inventory
  • Automate experiments and workflows
  • Streamline instrument maintenance
  • Record, store, and manage scientific data

Pharmaceuticals software supports drug development and manufacturing processes, including tools for formulation, regulatory compliance, and quality control. This complex of instruments will help you build an efficient research or production pipeline, minimize human error, and save costs.

Biotech ERP systems

An enterprise resource planning system (ERP) is a comprehensive solution a biotech company can use to synchronize its multiple business processes. An ERP creates a unified framework and enables an uninterrupted flow of data within it. The software is built around a centralized repository, which means that data formats remain consistent across healthcare applications.

Depending on the configuration, typical modules of an ERP system may include:

  • Accounting
  • Supply chain management
  • Risk assessment
  • Project management
  • Compliance
  • Manufacturing

Implementing an ERP solution provides the visibility of resources, optimizes budgets, streamlines supply, and gives impetus to the entire cycle.

Biotech CRM & CTMS

A properly implemented CRM system can provide unique insights about your client base and help improve communication. This, in turn, will lead to higher rates of client retention, better-targeted sales, and an increase in revenue.

CRMs are usually paired with clinical trial management systems (CTMS) to manage the planning, tracking, and reporting of clinical trials. This way, the tools ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and enhance trial efficiency.

Cloud-based electronic laboratory notebooks (ELN)

Electronic Laboratory Notebooks (ELNs) are digital platforms that replace traditional paper lab notebooks, allowing researchers to record, store, and manage experimental data securely. They enhance data integrity, collaboration, and research efficiency. If your outsourcing team is distributed between multiple locations, the accessible cloud-based tools will increase your team’s efficiency. Plus, custom biotech software offers unlimited scalability in terms of computing power and storage, which is a win for those requiring legacy system modernization.

Bioinformatics and data visualization software

Bioimaging is widely used in biotech research, and the accompanying software must be capable of interpreting the visual data in real time. Automated features like analysis of bone density, spot detection, cell counting, time-lapse imaging, and others can give your business a major boost in productivity.

Bioinformatics software is used to analyze and interpret biological data, with tools that include DNA sequencing, protein structure analysis, and genomics.

With the help of AI and ML, your science team will be able to process and analyze data received from microscopy, spectroscopy, and other imaging techniques with improved accuracy.

Technologies that impact biotech software development

biotech application development technologies

Today, upgrading the physical components of computer systems, such as CPUs, memory, or disk drives, can’t guarantee a better performance of your software. It’s the shift in paradigms that really drives progress. Software developers have long stepped away from writing monolithic behemoths of code that rely on local infrastructure. Instead, today’s apps are based on cloud computing and storage, microservices, low-code, and SaaS (software as a service).

Outsourcing biotech software development is now becoming the go-to solution for most businesses, allowing them to shift focus to their core competencies. We’ve shortlisted five technologies that help the biotech industry move forward.

Cloud computing

The power of cloud computing in healthcare can give your app almost unlimited storage and processing capabilities. On top of that, cloud-based apps rely on microservices or BaaS frameworks — a modular, pre-set approach to building software. Instead of creating an application from scratch, developers can use a selection of “blocks” that contain typical functionality. This speeds up the development process and makes adding new features easy. But the best part is that you can use cloud apps anywhere, as long as you have internet access.

SaaS (software as a service) is an evolution of cloud technology. With SaaS, you get a cloud-based solution that’s tailored to your needs and use a subscription model to pay for the used services.

Genomic research

Biotech software companies use cloud platforms to securely store and share genomic data across multiple research institutions, enabling collaborative studies on genetic disorders.

Thus, Seven Bridges Genomics utilizes cloud computing to provide a platform for analyzing genomic data at scale. Researchers and biotech companies can leverage their SaaS platform to access and analyze large datasets quickly and efficiently.

Big data

Big data analytics is used in software for biotech to process vast amounts of biological data to derive meaningful insights. For example, it can analyze patient records and genetic information to optimize drug development processes and improve clinical outcomes.

“Volume, velocity, variety” — those are the three dimensions data engineers operate in, having to work with data that comes in large quantities fast and is varied in content.

Adding big data capabilities to your software is an absolute necessity when you need to process and analyze it in real-time.

Drug development

Big data analytics optimize drug discovery by analyzing vast datasets to identify potential drug candidates faster and more accurately.

For example, BPGBios leverages big data analytics and artificial intelligence to discover biomarkers and develop targeted therapies. Their Interrogative Biology platform integrates patient data, molecular profiling, and clinical information to identify novel insights into disease mechanisms and drug response.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

It seems that AI is everywhere these days, and there’s a reason for it. AI is meant to mimic human behavior and is especially useful when combing through lots of data. AI-based software for biotech is perfect for screening drugs, analyzing visual data, as well as building prediction models.

ML is a subset of artificial intelligence that is focused on creating self-improving algorithms. With the help of machine learning, software can use previous data to build better, more accurate predictions and models.

ML is truly indispensable when it comes to biotech applications. We can feed the algorithm a lot of various data and let it get to work, finding repeating patterns and interdependencies.

Automated analysis & pattern detection

One example is the AlphaFold project which can build accurate 3D models of protein structures. AI-enabled software is highly efficient in biotech, as it accelerates analysis, automates routine tasks, and eliminates human error.

Internet of Things

IoT devices have become very common, and the healthcare industry has fully embraced this trend. Smart medical sensors and lab equipment can be connected to your software and automatedly provide readings and measurements needed for your research or marketing. Monitoring critical parameters like temperature and humidity couldn’t be easier with IoT.

This enables a constant flow of data, reduces the incidence of errors, and greatly improves the efficiency of the entire system. Connected devices in your lab can also send alerts about planned maintenance or the need to restock supplies.

Bioreactor monitoring

Synthace utilizes IoT sensors and data analytics to optimize bioprocesses in bioreactors. Their biotech SaaS platform, integrates IoT devices with laboratory automation and data analytics to monitor and control bioreactor conditions in real-time.

Now that we’ve talked about the main types and the inner workings of biotech software, let’s see how it all comes together during development.

Building biotech software: Development process

biotech software development process

It’ll take weeks, maybe months before you see the final version of your software, but the journey starts long before the first line of code is written. We’ve prepared a list of typical steps of biotech software development that will get you from the initial idea to a fully functioning app. Don’t worry, we’ll do our best not to overwhelm you with too much technical detail.

Validate your idea

Ensure market demand for your product through thorough research. Positive results will build confidence with investors and stakeholders.

Create a business plan

Detail your goals, success metrics, and resource allocations. Establishing trust with stakeholders early facilitates informed decision-making. Pay special attention to budgets and timelines. Make sure to build a trusting relationship with stakeholders.

Build your project’s team

Select a skilled and culturally aligned development team, whether through outsourcing or staff augmentation.

For that, you can read reviews on websites like Clutch, Goodfirms, or G2. After you’ve narrowed down your pool of software firms to a few, set up a meeting and talk to the teams. We’ve always been able to tell whether we are the right fit for the client and if we “click” at the first meeting.

Plan for compatibility and compliance

Adopting data exchange standards like HL7 v.2 or FHIR in your workflow will guarantee compatibility with other medical data sources, and regulatory compliance with HIPAA and relevant FDA acts will ensure your app’s safe passage into the land of healthtech.

It’s important to include compatibility and compliance in your planning as early as possible to avoid forced implementation later.

Begin the development

Finalize requirements and confirm timelines before commencing coding. Development should align closely with agreed-upon resources and deadlines.

Create a prototype or MVP

Test the concept with a prototype or MVP of your biotechnology software solutions to gather feedback and refine the product.

Devise architecture

This step will define the internal structure of your software and the relationships between elements. Will the solution utilize cloud storage and other resources? What kind of tech stack will the project be based on for its backend (the invisible “under the hood” part) and frontend (the part that users interact with)?

Your software partner will make choices according to the requirements you’ve agreed upon.

Design UX/UI

Prioritize user experience and interface design to enhance usability. Iterative testing and refinement are crucial.

Code and test non-stop

Implement agile development methodologies to iterate quickly, incorporating feedback and adjusting as needed. Code, test, fix, make changes, move forward. Thanks to this flexible approach, you can make minor changes to the initial design and add features on the fly.

Deploy and launch your biotech solution

When all the coding and testing are done, and a working version of your app has been released, it’s time to upload the software to the servers. Your IT team will perform the initial setup and help users with onboarding.

If it’s a commercial product, a marketing campaign would be the next logical step. But that’s not our area of expertise, so we’ll stick to what we know and offer you a few more tips.

Why choose Acropolium?

Founded in 2003, Acropolium has accumulated an impressive portfolio over the years. We’ve worked with both startups and established companies of every size from all major industries. Our expertise is diverse, and we always deliver on our promises.

Healthcare — and biotechnology in particular — have been on our top priorities list lately.

Take a look at our latest two biotech projects:

  • Our bioscience data processing solution is based on cloud technologies for data storage and management and AI and ML for analysis. After our cooperation, the client reduced the time to launch by 30%, increasing data processing accuracy by 40%
  • We also created a CMMS for an enterprise client who wanted to remotely manage their precision equipment and improve collaboration between team members. As a result, the client increased sales by 65% by improving heavy load capacity by 57%.

Acropolium knows how to develop biotech software, and we’re eager to help your business reach its full potential in this niche.

You can start by using our consulting services, and if you like what you hear, we can move on to full-cycle development, where we’ll take your ideas and turn them into functional, stable software. Unless, of course, you have your own developers and want to bolster their expertise by adding a dedicated team.

The bottom line

Biomedical innovation is about making the world a better place. To a great degree, success in this industry rests on the shoulders of talented researchers and lab workers. However, the products they create would never reach the market without the right technological and business instruments.

A сustom biotech software solution, fine-tuned to the needs of a particular business, is a tool that every organization deserves to have. With 15+ years of exploring the technological potential of healthcare, Acropolium will be there for you. From kiosk software and pharmacy apps to healthcare chatbots and cloud systems — we’ll help you tick all the boxes!

Sources of Information