Targeted approaches to development and commercialisation- trends for 2022 31 Jan 2022
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new” -Socrates.
By Dr Malcolm Barratt-Johnson
Over the last two years, as a whole society and within the pharmaceutical community specifically, we have been forced to adapt and change at an unprecedented scale and speed. While we certainly hope that 2022 will represent less disruption and more recovery, we expect a continued climate of change. This article will outline some of the key trends set to shape the industry in 2022. All these trends centre around a core set of themes- with personalised medicine now a reality, more targeted, strategic development and value communication will take centre stage versus more traditional commercialisation approaches.
New models of interaction with clinicians
In a post-covid landscape, in which face-to-face interactions are unlikely to reach 2019 levels, it will continue to be difficult for sales teams to gain access to and engage with KOLs and clinicians. Competing in a crowded world of electronic communication depends on working smarter- by thinking strategically and adding value. I certainly expect the use of the Medical Scientific Liaison function to continue to increase as it has done for the last several years – building the essential bridge of communication between pharmaceutical companies and physicians and KOLs. As the numbers of MSLs rise, the influence of the role is likely to increase commensurately.
Addressing patient needs
Patient-centricity encompasses multiple threads by which we as an industry engage with patients – from development to product registration and marketing.
We have written previously about the importance of Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) in research, building partnerships between the public and researchers to plan, design, execute and finally communicate research.
More widely, bodies such as EUPATI, the European Patient’s Academy on Therapeutic Innovation, are beginning to play a vital role. The group provides education and training to help patients, and patient representatives proactively contribute to medicines research and development (R&D). These initiatives benefit patients themselves but also this industry and healthcare as a whole. In a new paradigm of more targeted therapies, where not all patients respond in the same way to the same treatment a strong understanding of unmet medical needs and patient-reported outcomes can actively drive development.
Genomics and personalised medicine
Genomic research will continue to advance. COVID-19 has seen widespread genomic testing for infectious disease surveillance, promoting increased adoption of next-generation sequencing across regions. Personalised therapeutics are no longer a pipe dream. At the JP Morgan conference in January 2021, Illumina highlighted over 55 approved drugs approved that use genomic testing to target a specific patient population. There is already an established role for sequencing in clinical settings, including for rare diseases and reproductive health; with point-of-care solutions increasingly seen, it will even become possible to use sequencing to inform real-time clinical decisions.
Economic constraints and demonstrating value
The vast debt burden now carried by all governments post-pandemic, will place further constraints on the reimbursement of novel and treatments that are perceived to be ‘expensive’. This may be of particular concern in oncology and neurology, where personalised treatments are now mainstream. In this context, pharmaceutical companies must use all the tools at their disposal, including analysis of available real-world data to demonstrate evidence of value to healthcare providers.
Spin-out companies driving innovation
Smaller companies and academic spinouts thrive in this new world of targeted therapies, and smaller patient populations. These nimble innovators form an increasingly important part of the pharma and biotech ecosystem. The commercialisation of these medicine types demands less focus on conventional sales operations and more intelligent, strategic value communication. We may see these companies choosing to advance their own products to launch and fewer early life cycle takeovers by big pharma.
Join the conversation about upcoming trends and share your thoughts at our forthcoming virtual panel discussion on 24th February 2022 at 8 am. Registration details will follow, in the meantime do save the date!