Pharma Strategy Blog

Commentary on Pharma & Biotech Oncology / Hematology New Product Development

Posts tagged ‘market research’

This week offers a nice break in science topics on the blog and a chance to look at how technology can be used to monitor social media, physician and patient sentiments about drugs and various diseases in a practical way.  I've been interested in analysing trends in data since my undergraduate days when I created the first automated computerised football (soccer) notation system for looking at strategies and tactics employed by winning and losing teams.  

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Sometimes when you sit down with clients you have no idea when conversations may end up or what creative projects may evolve from them.  Years ago, I abandoned the dreaded death by Powerpoint where possible, and used Apple's Pages or Keynote to develop more interesting materials, but as handouts at the end of the meeting rather than a crutch to talk from.

It's an old tried and tested technique from my sales days, where I discovered more business could be got when I engaged and chatted with the doctors rather than trying to read from a fancy detail aid with small print upside down.


This morning, I was reflecting on one of my favourite quotes from the Wharton business school marketing professor, George Day, who said:

“At the heart of a market-driven organization is the deep and enduring commitment to the philosophy that the customer comes first.”

It's also a strategic goal that many of us have strived for because ultimately, if you focus on your customers, the rest will take care of itself, including revenues.

Money follows satisfaction.

This was a stunner via a tweet from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute yesterday.  Of course, I clicked on the link because my suspicion was that it wouldn't be the most common O blood that is linked to pancreatic cancer, and no, I don't have blood group O.  A little voyeuristic, perhaps, but sometimes curiousity literally kills the cat.

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A recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences  by scientists from the University of Rome has shown that the administration of nerve growth factor (NGF) stabilizes or reduces the damage to the optic nerve caused by the raised intra-ocular pressure (IOP) associated with glaucoma. 

Glaucoma is an eye disease that is the world’s leading cause of blindness affecting 77 million people around the world and causes irreversible damage to vision.  An easy to use eye drop that stabilizes or reduces damage to retinal ganglion cells and the optic nerve cells offers exciting potential and is research that will be watched closely by companies with an ophthalmology portfolio.


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. 

We regularly conduct market research for our Pharma, Biotech & Medical Device clients by telephone or email.  Often, products in development, new indications or initial market entries require some quick customer feedback that helps guide and direct a larger study or provide new insights for their strategic planning process.  The products being tested made involve drugs, vaccines, devices or new technology approaches.

If you are a physician or surgeon and would like to participate in these studies, do email us and let us know your contact details, specialty and sub-specialty.  All information is kept confidential and all doctors receive an honoraria for any work undertaken.  We are always looking for new perspectives or people with experience in different areas.

Amgen’s recent announcement of phase III trial data showing that it’s monoclonal antibody, denosumab was superior to Novartis’ Zometa (zoledronic acid) for the treatment of breast cancer patients with bone mestastases is further news that scientifically driven drug development can yield exciting results.

Denosumab is in essence a targeted therapy like Gleevec, Avastin or Herceptin.  It’s development came about from basic research that discovered the cellular control of bone remodelling and regulation of bone density is reglated by the RANK Ligand pathway.

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