Reminders

Changing Life Sciences Value Chain

Photo of Dr. Alan S. LouieOffline

As I've discussed in my 2014 prediction of an industry shift towards one degree of separation, several sessions and the meeting keynote at the Drug Information Association annual meeting in San Diego, CA are focusing on better engaging patients as a key contributor to long term industry success. This greater engagement (enabled and empowered, in part, by tech innovation) has the potential to deliver a number of near term benefits to both patients and the industry while fundamentally changing the way that the industry interacts with patients and other key stakeholders.


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When it comes to pricing, pharmaceutical companies have always been focused on understanding their own particular country, and occasionally a regional view in places like EMEA, where trying to tie together some countries that have intersecting markets due to parallel trade can prove important. However, this limited, isolated view into pricing will soon no longer suffice, and may actually become a significant risk to multinational pharmaceutical companies in the near future.


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One of the less glamorous business processes in the life sciences, yet one that carries significant weight in terms of financial risk to the enterprise, is the processing of chargebacks. For years, revenue leakage surrounding chargebacks has been a little recognized threat, but inefficiency in this area can mount to the tune of millions lost annually. With so many areas of the business under pressure to cut costs, even a few million here and there could have a substantial impact. And in many companies, the damage could stretch well into the tens of millions. It is for this reason that chargeback outsourcing has been a topic on which many companies have wavered back and forth.


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With whole genome sequencing (WGS) increasingly commoditized, translating the torrent of new WGS data into usable information is the next major IT challenge. While there continue to be debates at the top genomics centers as to whether to create their own datacenters or go to commercial cloud service providers (or some mixture of both), most researchers are realizing that the practical move to the cloud is only the first step on their path to sustainable genomics analysis capabilities.


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While the achievement of the $1000 genome will surely bring forth a tidal wave of new WGS data in the next 3-5 years, mountains of newly available data from completed clinical trials (likely via the Pfizer Clinical Cloud approach), related clinical trial transparency initiatives, and EMR data will likely be the near term focus of life science big data activities over the near term.


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With CA 2015 drug pedigree regulation now merely a distant memory and the first phase of the Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA) set to begin in January 2015, there are plenty of pros and cons to reflect on. Unfortunately, the cons out-weigh the pros.


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Is Innovation in the Clinical Trial Space Boring?

By Dr. Alan S. Louie

In a recent discussion with colleagues, it was mentioned that innovation in the clinical trial space seemed to lack the excitement of other areas in the life science value chain. While probably true from the perspective of its more dedicated focus on operational excellence, there are clearly exciting things happening in clinical development that are leading us to a better place.


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In the sales and marketing space, the notion of multi-channel marketing optimization has long been a term thrown around and broadly discussed as an organization goal, but nobody has really come close to doing a good job at this yet. We see the tides turning this year.


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As major compliance deadlines come and go in the pharma sales and marketing world, organizations are now finally able to turn their focus to optimizing everything that's changed in recent years, both process and IT-wise.


Photo of Dr. Alan S. LouieOffline

The move to eliminate excess capacity and externalize non-core competencies has driven leading life science companies towards process-centric approaches that have the strong potential to stifle creativity and encourage incrementalism. With most organizational initiatives requiring near term ROI to justify investment, there is little room for paradigm changing innovations. With the exception of sheer luck allowing organizations to capture new drug or market opportunities through M&A, there remains a need to encourage innovation even in operationally efficient organizations.



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