In InCrowd’s recent 2017 State of the Life Sciences Market Industry Report we asked career life science market researchers what they fear most. Their answer: inability to understand their market.
Considering both the staggering cost and probability of failure, the pressure to ensure approved drugs succeed in the market—and the costs of market miscalculations—is extremely high.
In 2014 the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development estimated that it takes $2.6 billion to bring a new drug to market. That same year, according to a global study by Simon Kucher & Partners, 72% of all drug launches didn’t meet their revenue projections.
Long before FDA approval, during the early phases of a drug’s development, pharma manufacturers can’t do much to control the viability of their product. It is after FDA approval, when the drug is ready to launch, when companies can plan most effectively.
A successful product launch needs to help recoup those billions in drug development investment. But with 72% of drug launches failing to meet their revenue projections, successful launches are far from the norm.
Given this pressure, market visibility is vital—and doesn’t need to be difficult to access. Here is a short-list of how you can get the feedback you need to truly know your market:
- Plan to be reactive. This is not an oxymoron. What it means is that every carefully planned launch must also account for the unknown and the unexpected, and integrate agile tools and resources to learn those things that can’t be known ahead of time and questions that beg other questions in real-time.
- Refine the profile. During pre-launch, you should aggressively pulse your market to refine the provider profile to test assumptions around prescribers, understand provider preferences, and develop a good sense of potential adoption, market-sizing, and other critical market information well ahead of time.
- Design a blended market research approach. A combination of tactics, like mixing agile quant and agile qual with more traditional methods, will allow for drill down on certain responses to get a more comprehensive view of findings—and give you time to adjust accordingly.
- Benchmark KPIs. Getting a baseline of KPIs just prior to launch allows immediate and frequent tracking of these KPIs post-launch and gives you time to react to market surprises. Otherwise, you are waiting for an ATU to expose them months later, after the surprises have cost your brand market share. Automated tracking of just your critical KPIs will help mitigate the impact of any post-launch issues by allowing you to react and respond more quickly.
- Assess market-facing stakeholders post-launch. Understanding perceptions of sales reps, as well as other representatives who might be sent to the market to raise awareness of the product or treatment area (e.g., Medical Science Liaisons), is just as important as those of prescribers and patients. Many internal players carry the message for the brand. Be sure you are gathering their feedback on product and message receptivity and determining if that message is being communicated effectively.
One of the few consistencies of launches across the board is that they all bring surprises. Agile planning with the right tools and solutions can detect these surprises in real-time, before it’s too late, and help researchers handle them as thought that had always been part of the plan.