2015’s Notable Drug Approvals

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While pharma companies struggle to keep up with technologies and adopt digital marketing techniques, they’re quietly continuing their march toward the successful release of new drugs. In 2015, you’ll see some big names get drug approvals, while other companies will use a successful drug launch to help return them to their former pharma glory.

Two pharma companies are expected to receive approval for cholesterol-lowering drugs. Amgen’s Repatha is anticipated to generate 2.5 billion in sales in 2020 and Sanofi/Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ Praluent will garner $2.1 billion. A cardiovascular product by Novartis that treats heart failure is expected to win approval in August; Entresto is expected to bring in $4.8 billion in sales in 2020.

Coming in second for projected sales in 2020, the FDA recently approved Pfizer’s breast cancer treatment, Ibrance. The projected success of the drug is earning the former U.S. pharma giant accolades for rising from the ashes. In fact, industry insiders are calling the Ibrance launch one of the most successful drug launches in the oncology market’s history.

Other players include Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ cystic fibrosis therapy, Orkambi, expected to reach $3.4 billion. Hepatitis C patients will benefit from breakthrough therapies from Merck & Co.’s combined regimen of elbasvir and grazoprevir, reaching global sales of $1.9 billion. Sanofi’s diabetes product Toujeo is forecasted to reach $1.5 billion in revenue, while the psoriasis product Cosentyx will secure $1.4 billion in revenue for Novartis. For Actelion, one of three therapies for PAH, $1.1 billion is expected for Uptravi in 2020 sales, while Alexion Pharmaceuticals is banking on Kanuma (a treatment for LAL deficiency) to bring in $748 million.

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Pharma Drug Launch: How Does Your Plan-of-Attack Measure Up?

Becoming a launch expert requires creativity and comprehensive data at your fingertips, helping you prove the value of new drugs even when circumstances are constantly evolving.

Due to gradual changes in the pharmaceutical market, the initial product launch is more important than ever and a single, unvaried strategy is no longer enough. Most companies are launching higher numbers of similar drugs each year, making the market increasingly competitive. To give your product an advantage from day one, impeccable R&D is just the first step to a successful launch trajectory.

According to recent research by McKinsey & Company, for 85 percent of pharmaceutical launches, the product trajectory is established in the first 180 days. But, in new drug launches, expectations are one thing – execution plans are quite another. McKinsey compares drug launches to a new movie opening, showing that there’s much to be learned from other industries.

Long shadow gold medal with a rocketHow can pharma leadership turn their “babies” into hotshot celebrities? Just like a movie’s opening week, a product launch’s first six months offer a crucial window to make-it-or-break-it in the market. And the market, let’s face it, is not what it used to be.

Today, the pharma market is fast-paced, dynamic, competitive and very costly. The former ways of doing things, such as creating long-term trajectories and taking the time to respond to market shifts, are no longer enough to succeed. The market landscape today revolves around agility. Business impact relies on a company’s ability to rapidly adjust to deviations from plans and course-correct and turn agile data analytics insights into actions. A pharma organization needs to develop several commercial strategies that allows it to swiftly react to competitor’s actions, customer’s reactions and distribution hurdles – whether the product is the first to launch or not.

The answer is very simple, but at the same time, quite complex: insights. Pharma needs to gain real-time, accurate insights on all market components (such as customers, payers, competitors, possible deviations and hurdles). An analytics solution with embedded domain and business knowledge is the key to gaining insights.

A Pharma leader launching should also build a sustainable capability to level these insights over the full growth footprint and lifecycle of key assets. For instance, customer data should include identification of key physicians by calculating their “innovativeness score”; payers should be segmented/allocated by affordability level; and social media, wearables and patient-generated health data must provide pharma with all the info it needs to fit the drug to the patient receiving it, so as not to squander resources on ill-targeted groups.

McKinsey suggests tackling these three areas to secure access to the most valuable data:

1.      Make an inventory of the available data sources that deliver the insights you need.

Make sure you’re looking at the big picture and asking yourself the right questions, such as:

  1. Where do we and how should we put more sales effort?
  2. How much demand elastically do we have?
  3. What is the profile of the physicians prescribing this type of drug?

These questions can be answered by securing accessibility to a smart and comprehensive data source that will allow you not only the access but insights into the most important data you need.

2.      Employ the power of advanced analytics.

With the right analytical solution, you can develop the right insights to drive your product launch. But keep the bigger picture in mind. With access to sales operations and brand management data, along with often -forgotten data like payer contracts and procurement, for example, you can begin to ask the right questions about marketing budget spending, sales efforts, competition, physician profiles and much more.

3.      Establish a “Launch Situation Room.”

Launching a new drug in such a complex market is like making war-room type situations in the field. A war-room team should be comprised of cross-functional decision-makers who meet on a regular basis in one locale in order to be able to rapidly adapt and react to accelerate the uptake. This close cross-functionality prevents the team from working in silos, which have the tendency to reserve information and slow down the process. It also ensures that important data (such as on products, prescribers, payers, formulary status, the marketplace, the newest metrics and the most current, relevant KPI’s) is analyzed in real time, allowing you the greatest agility with your drug launch process.

In order to execute consistently successful drug launches, pharmaceutical companies must move toward a flexible cross-disciplinary approach. There are a number of key elements to maximizing a modern drug launch:

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As the pharmaceutical industry launches more products every year, it is time to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach. By integrating sophisticated and consistent data analysis, drug companies can stay on top of the needs of each drug released and maximize their market potential.

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