Putnam Inizio Advisory

Integrating market access considerations into biopharmaceutical asset investment decisions: Common pain points and best practices

The biopharmaceutical industry operates at the intersection of health innovation and market viability, where the significance of integrating market access insights into investment decisions cannot be overstated. From the inception of a new therapy to clinical development and pivotal trial designs, market access analyses provide a critical lens through which the commercial trajectory of a product is evaluated. This approach ensures not only the development of clinically effective products but also their market success by aligning them with payer expectations and healthcare systems’ needs. As the industry faces growing complexities, the ability to navigate these with informed access integration becomes imperative for reaching patients effectively.

In our work with clients, we have experienced several common organisational pain points in integrating market access into investment decision-making, and we have identified and replicated best practices for mitigating these challenges.

Common pain points in integrating access voices into investment decisions

The path to integrating market access considerations into pharmaceutical asset investment decisions is fraught with challenges that can hinder effective decision-making:

Inefficient and unclear objectives:

Market access teams may find themselves navigating without a clear direction, working towards objectives that are not only vague but also inconsistently applied across different stages of the process. The focus often shifts between assessing static Target Product Profiles (TPPs) and trying to develop a singular “reimbursable” TPP, without considering the dynamic nature of market access environments and the multitude of potential pathways a drug development process could take.

In contrast, clients who seek to focus on early identification of risk and rewards trade-offs associated with different investment options, rather than static assessment or development of a TPP, are much more likely to facilitate dynamic decision-making that adapts with evolving information.

Cross-functional communication challenges:

Effective collaboration is hindered by the absence of a shared language and understanding between cross-functional teams. This gap in communication can lead to key market access considerations being lost in translation among teams unfamiliar with access-specific terminologies and concepts.

Successful integration of access considerations requires establishing a common language and replicable frameworks to bridge this divide, facilitating clearer insights and mutual understanding that facilitate the integration of market access insights and enhance decision-making confidence.


Blurred cross-functional input responsibilities:

Successful, informed investment decision-making requires a variety of critical, cross-functional inputs. There is often ambiguity surrounding the roles and responsibilities of different teams involved in providing inputs to the decision-making process. This lack of clarity can result in duplicated and misaligned efforts and a general inefficiency in progressing towards strategic goals. Clarifying these roles and establishing clear lines of responsibility and coordination among teams can streamline processes and ensure that market access considerations are effectively integrated and leveraged.


Overemphasis on barriers vs. opportunities:

Market access teams are frequently tasked with assessing the challenges and barriers to achieving patient access at a price that supports the investment hypothesis, leading to a predominant focus on identifying and communicating the hurdles that may be faced in gaining market entry, sustainable pricing, and patient accessibility. This focus can tend to overshadow the vigorous investigation of pathways to maximise the pricing and access opportunity. Encouraging a balanced perspective that equally weighs the realistic identification of barriers and the creative and opportunistic exploration of potential positive drivers can yield a more balanced view of an asset’s prospects and an early stimulus to developing a holistic and proactive pricing and market access strategy.


Best practices to address key pain points

Each of these pain points underscores best practice opportunities for market access leaders to frame and organise their role and maximise their influence and impact on asset investment decision-making across the asset lifecycle. By implementing these best practices, leaders can ensure that the market access lens is applied rigorously and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their organisation’s investment decision processes, ultimately benefiting both the business and the patients it serves.
Key best practices include the following:

Streamlining objectives to focus on trade-offs:

Profile a range of options and scenarios: Instead of focusing on a singular TPP or trying to identify a singular “reimbursable” TPP, systematically consider a variety of potential paths, their implications and feasibility.

Identify risks and reward trade-offs: Leverage the systematic scenario approach to identify trade-offs to inform decision-making under uncertainty, encouraging a dynamic approach to decision-making that adapts as new information becomes available.

Creating common language and replicable frameworks:

Establish replicable frameworks: Develop frameworks that educate cross-functional stakeholders and provide a consistent and replicable approach they can digest.

Use simple and intuitive language: Ensure that the frameworks and language used facilitate mutual understanding and productive dialogue, remembering non-access stakeholders are often unfamiliar with market access vocabulary, that key market access terms often have multiple meanings dependent upon stakeholder context.


Clearly defining the market access role:

Clarify roles, responsibilities, and decision-making authority: Ensure every team knows their specific contributions to the process, and very clearly identify the boundaries of input that the market access team will provide.

Ensure cohesive vision: Clearly define the specifics of dependencies and intersectionality between market access inputs with assumptions and inputs that are the responsibility of other cross-functional teams.


Counter-balancing realism with opportunism:

Adopt a solution-oriented mindset: Balance the roles of realist and optimist, looking beyond known or forecasted challenges to identify pathways and opportunities for pricing and access optimisation.


Integrating pricing and access functions into asset investment decisions is crucial for developing pharmaceutical assets that are not only innovative, but that are accessible to appropriate patients and realise an adequate return on investment. By recognising and addressing the common pain points through established best practices, organisations can pave the way for innovations to achieve their true potential, reaching those who need them most, and providing a return that supports and encourages further innovation and progress. As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, and biopharmaceutical innovations grow more complex and more narrowly targeted, the strategic and timely integration of market access considerations into investment decision-making will only grow in importance. It will be upon market access leaders to ensure efficient and effective engagement to maximise their impact in the decision-making process.

About Putnam

Putnam Inizio Advisory

Putnam, an Inizio Advisory company, is a leading scientific and strategic consulting partner that helps the global life science community make confident decisions, build value, and bring life-changing innovations to clinicians and patients. For more than 30 years, our rigorous, bespoke approach and globally diverse team have delivered unrivalled depth across therapeutic areas, business functions, geographic markets, healthcare sectors, and technology platforms to maximise the human impact and commercial success of client innovations.

Find out more: www.putassoc.com

About the authors

Eric Auger

Eric Auger
Partner, VPA Practice Lead

Eric Auger leads Putnam’s Value, Pricing & Access global practice, which consists of over 250 market access strategy, HEOR and RWE professionals across 10 global offices. Prior to Putnam joining Inizio, Auger was Putnam’s Partnership Chair, coordinating firm strategy and governance.
With over 27 years with Putnam, he has built deep expertise in market access strategy and supporting clients in navigating challenging payer, healthcare system, and competitive environments. Auger has supported clients across a wide range of therapeutic areas, modalities, and healthcare system sectors, with much of his work helping clients to pioneer new areas. Prior to Putnam, he started his consulting career at Bain and Company, and completed degrees in Economic and International Relations from Providence College and Boston University.

Joanne Evason

Joanne Evason

Joanne Evason leads the European Value, Pricing & Access practice at Putnam, with 18 years’ experience in pricing and access.

The focus of her work is advising biopharmaceutical clients from early phase asset planning, through to launch, and how to navigate complex payer and healthcare systems to ensure optimal patient access.

Prior to joining Putnam, Evason gained experience in developing and implementing Real World Evidence studies to support a broad range of applications, including evidence generation planning/implementation and innovative contracting. Evason also has experience leading global cross-functional teams including medical, HEOR, commercial, access and R&D, across a broad range of therapeutic areas, including rare diseases, oncology, immunology, biomarker and companion diagnostic strategies.

She has direct experience working as a payer within the UK market and remains close to key payer groups across European markets, supporting the evolution of key policies to enable patient access. She has strong links with NICE and NHS England and works with pan-European groups such as EUCOPE and EUnetHTA.

Hugo Hayes

Hugo Hayes

Hugo Hayes’ work focuses on the Value, Pricing & Access strategy practice area, specialising in generation of pricing and contracting strategies for pharmaceutical and biotech clients across both US and international markets.

He has extensive experience in developing access strategies for therapies in both inpatient and outpatient settings, at all stages of the product lifecycle. Recent projects have covered a range of therapeutic areas including inflammation and immunology, rare diseases, and vaccines. Hayes joined the Putnam London office at its inception in 2020.

Prior to joining Putnam, he worked for Monitor Deloitte, focusing on healthcare strategy across a broad range of public and private sector clients. Hayes holds a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford.

Jean Sellier

Jean Sellier
Senior Consultant

Jean Sellier is a member of the Value, Pricing & Access practice at Putnam. Specialising in Global Pricing & Access Projects and Commercial Opportunity Assessments, Sellier focuses on evidence generation planning to navigate intricate payer systems, as well as indication prioritisation and sequencing for early-phase assets.

Prior to joining Putnam, Sellier gained experience at DRG Consulting working across Commercial and Global Pricing & Access Projects. He also has direct experience working for the Pharmaceutical industry through his role at Norgine, a European specialist pharmaceutical company, where he supported the Business Development & Licensing team to perform commercial due diligence.”

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