Pharma Strategy Blog

Commentary on Pharma & Biotech Oncology / Hematology New Product Development

Posts from the ‘Competitive Intelligence’ category

SpringPad is a new free tool I’ve recently been playing with and it has quickly become a way to sort and organise information easily. In the past, I’ve been a big Evernote fan, but while it is useful for collecting abstracts, photos, papers etc, SpringPad has a whole different set of utilities that I find myself using on a daily basis, both in the office and while mobile at conferences.

One of the challenges in my work is sifting through vast amounts of data and generating useful insights, either for posts here on this blog or as a consultant. I’ve tried a lot of different web 2.0 tools over the last 7 years but occasionally one comes along that sticks in my workflow. SpringPad is one of them.


Recently, I’ve had a lot of enquiries as to how I manage to write so many blog posts, either in terms of finding the time or staying current.

The answer is simple – I use tools to help simplify and minimise the effort involved.  You could also use this kind of web 2.0 approach for creating a database and tracking data, intelligence, keeping current if you work in the Pharma or Biotech industry, whether a scientist, a marketer or a PR professional.  Of course, you could spend hours Googling stuff or reading a few health sites online, but there are other ways to stay ahead of the pack.

1 Comment

One of the things about oncology or any other therapeutic are new product development and marketing is that you get to spend a LOT of time at scientific congresses like AACR in DC the other week, which means early to rise and late to sleep:

Source: Personal iPhone – view of over the Potamac and Georgetown, DC from Arlington, VA. 

1 Comment

Here at Icarus, we get a lot of interesting, varied and strategic projects but imagine getting a request from a client to come up with a big picture analysis of the global pharmaceutical market and also the oncology area with no budget for commercially available reports.

This is fun and meaty stuff, and in any case, most of the run of the mill reports are not particularly helpful despite being hundreds of pages long and costing several thousand dollars apiece.  They sadly suffer from analysis by paralysis syndrome without offering any real insights.


One of the most useful things I gathered, intelligence-wise, for a client project this week was from following some cancer patients stories via their their blogs.  This is social media monitoring at is best.



Because they tell it as it really is, no strings attached…  

What the treatment involves, the practicalities, the side effects, the tests, and everything else in between, including the weather and how the medications affect things like taste, for example. 


One of the biggest challenges in the Pharma world is meshing strategy with execution in a timely and effective manner. 

My experience in big Pharma taught me that the environment is often full of Thinkers, who sit on their 100,000 ft cloud plinking on their harps contemplating ideas, with little regard the practicalities of execution and Doers, who are focused on execution and chopping down trees, without necessarily asking if they are in the right forest or chopping down the right trees.

It's also the classic Global versus Affiliate wars, although not always.


This morning I checked into my database intending to search for some information on lung cancer relating to the SATURN data in maintenance therapy that is being updated at the World Lung Congress in San Francisco.

Instead, the first dozen items were on the FDA approval of Onglyza (saxagliptin).  Oooh.  It seems that the FDA just approved BMS/AZ's joint development in diabetes, talk about a wealth of signalling data all at once.  This product is a me-too, very similar to Merck's Januvia, a billion dollar therapy already on the market.  On checking my emails and Twitter alerts, there was a bunch of information pertaining to Onglyza, Januvia and also Lantus (insulin glargine), sanofi-aventis' novel insulin product recently in the news for potential (but not proven) cancer adverse events.

Recently, I was talking with a Pharma client about signalling (or signaling as our American cousins call it) and how it can be extremely useful for marketing strategy purposes.

We are all signalling our intent, ideas and thoughts everyday in our daily lives, but imagine if you can aggregate information about a company or brands strategic intent around future business events?  This might take the form of numerous sources including press releases, analyst presentations, discussions with company employees or physicians involved with clinical studies, news articles, RSS feeds, web2.0 tools, online search, social media monitoring etc. 

On the hot subject of biomarkers and predicting response to therapy, Scottish scientists at the Edinburgh Breakthrough Cancer Centre have made an important finding.  They have confirmed that PTEN loss can  pred a patient’s response to Herceptin.  Although trastuzumab targets HER-2, it does not benefit every woman who has HER-2+ breast cancer.  The puzzling question has long been why does resistance develop and how can it be overcome?

The research group reported that they:

“… Examined 122 samples of metastatic breast cancer tumours treated with Herceptin. They demonstrated that the amount of PTEN was related to overall survival and patients whose breast cancer tumours had high levels of PTEN survived on average 22 months longer than those with low levels.”


Someone raised an interesting question at a conference hosted by the Business Development Institute (#BDI) that I went to last week.  They asked how anyone could possibly keep up with all the Pharma news and information, never mind follow thousands of people and interact via social media?

The answer is I don't. 

Obviously, we all dip in and snack sometimes, but for me, most of the time I aggregate my information sources and use it for intelligence purposes on demand, ie search.

It's faster, more user-friendly and ultimately, faster.

error: Content is protected !!