Pharma Strategy Blog

Commentary on Pharma & Biotech Oncology / Hematology New Product Development

Posts tagged ‘pharmaceutical biotechnology marketing strategy consulting’

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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Continuing on from my post the other day about Thinkers and Doers in Pharma, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of emails received and the offline debates that ensued, so a big thank you for all of you who engaged in the conversation, your perspectives and thoughts were much appreciated.

This morning, several thoughts drifted my way during the Healthcare Social Media in Europe tweetup on Twitter, which you can find by searching for the #hcsmeu hashtag.  One of the questions covered by the organisers, @andrewspong and @whydotpharma was what are he differences between the EU and US in this space? 

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.

"Scientists found that by activating a receptor in cells called the liver X receptor (LXR), they were able to inhibit the hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway, which is involved in the maintenance of tissue integrity and stem cell generation. When stimulated in an unregulated manner, however, the Hh pathway can also cause cancers of the brain, lung, blood, prostate, skin and other tissues.

Blocking such unregulated stimulation of the Hh pathway had previously been shown in animal studies to prevent cancers, according to the researchers. How LXR was able to inhibit tumor cell growth by impeding the Hh pathway was previously unknown."

An interesting and useful way of providing cancer patients access to new drugs is to open clinical trials in expanded access programs, which are often smaller or stripped down versions of existing trials with less onerous monitoring compared to registration trials.

The advantage of this type of program is that patients continue to gain access to treatments, oncologists gain experience in using the new therapies and there is the possibility to improve patient outcomes compared to standard of care or best supportive care if there are no other options available.

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.”

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