But when it comes to marketing new therapies, the seemingly complex nature of global markets can be intimidating, with regulatory, cultural and language insight required to commercialise a brand image across different markets. Traditional launch models have reinforced this perception of complexity, most notably across the European Union, as companies have to seek out multiple siloed and fragmented partnerships to access the correct information and infrastructure before they have even entered a market.
In reality, global markets have a lot in common. But to identify and tap into budding opportunities, life science companies must rebuild their understanding of commercialisation to reflect the changing market landscape.
As EVERSANA™ executive vice president, EMEA Mike Ryan explains, “There is a lot of opportunity for companies to effectively replicate a commercial infrastructure that’s reusable time and time again to effectively create all of the infrastructure necessary to commercialise across a maximum number of markets.”
With more than half a billion people currently living in the EU and UK, life science companies have a wealth of opportunities to bring impactful products to market. Historically, however, launching a new therapy in the region required companies to navigate a complex landscape of service providers, price sequencing and patient and regulatory needs. Consequently, the EU has gained a reputation among stakeholders as a complex and often intimidating market to launch new pharmaceutical or biotech products.
As part of ongoing efforts to reframe this perception of Europe, the EU adopted a new pharmaceutical strategy in November 2020.
“The European Union is making efforts to really work closely with industry and with national governments to ensure that the most important drugs reach everybody across the European Union as quickly as possible – certainly more quickly than they used to,” says Ryan.
“We export more drugs and generate more revenue from pharmaceutical companies in Europe than any other market in the world for the time being. It’s an enormous employer for Europe, an enormous source of innovation worldwide, and it’s an industry that we have to nurture.”
For Ryan, a core part of nurturing the European market is looking beyond the big four: France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. There are currently 27 countries in the EU, each presenting unmet needs that life sciences companies can tap into.
At first glance, these nations may appear to have more differences than they have things in common. But in reality, there are numerous similarities to be found throughout the EU market. According to Ryan, focusing on these elements is key to unlocking a more efficient and impactful commercialisation strategy.
COVID-19 highlighted the potential of unconventional market launches. The rapid development and delivery of multiple vaccines was a stark contrast to the overcomplicated perception of EU market entry.
“In the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve seen that where Europe takes a central stance particularly on procurement and procurement of vaccines, that there’s a strong advantage to that for all of the national governments,” says Ryan. “My hope is that the European Union and national governments now have a very concrete, very demonstratable example of what was one of the original founding principles of the European economic community, strength through unity.”
Understanding the minutia of global markets is a mammoth undertaking. For manufacturers, keeping up to date with changing market, patient, and regulatory requirements across all markets takes up time and money that could be better used to drive innovations that benefit patients.
This is where EVERSANA has identified an opportunity to accelerate and improve the marketing process, breaking down siloes between commercialisation entities with its unique Single-Commercialisation partner model. Unlike traditional models, where companies had to partner with multiple external organisations to enter a particular market with no guarantee of success, the single partner model reduces risk by reusing and adapting existing infrastructure to suit the product launch needs.
“You have to set up infrastructure or mechanisms that recognise the commercial requirements of every individual country,” explains Ryan. “We’re creating a single point of contact that allows you to enter into an agreement where you’ve got a platform that’s reused again and again and again. We do all of the work in setting up our entities in each individual country, the legal requirements, compiling the specific HTA assessment requirements and so on for each country.”
Beyond improving efficiency and reducing risk, adopting new models significantly benefits patients by reducing the time it takes between market authorisation and patient access. However, in order to deliver innovative treatments to patients in different markets, Ryan stresses the need to begin commercialisation planning early in the development process.
“You can’t just start thinking about commercialisation a year out from phase three,” he says. “What has often happened in the past is companies have waited until late in the review process to start gathering retrospective data to help gather and make a case for the economic and indeed clinical benefit of a particular product.
“Safety, efficacy, they’re all proven in clinical trials, but cost-effectiveness needs to be determined with data that is often different from what you’re gathering in a clinical trial.”
While the EU market provides a stark example of how new commercialisation models can help bring products to patients more efficiently, it is by no means the only region where such strategies can be beneficial.
The US is one of the largest markets for biotech and pharma products, making it a core target for companies looking to launch new therapies. However, bias towards the US has prevented patients in smaller, untapped markets from accessing vital medicines. As with the EU, these markets offer a wide range of opportunities.
As each regional market is different, adopting a one-size-fits-all approach to commercialisation is not conducive to achieving global success. This has made it important for companies to maintain control over strong brand identity that can be introduced alongside new products.
“Whilst you have to tweak the brand for every individual country and obviously translations, there are definitive ways of establishing a single brand across an entire continent,” says Ryan.
Moreover, streamlining access to information and infrastructure about individual regions is helping to foster a global market landscape that companies feel incentivised to enter. Armed with new commercialisation methods, companies around the world can work together to bring a broader range of treatments to patients that need them.
COVID-19 showed us that life sciences companies are capable of adapting to dramatic operational changes and pulling together in the pursuit of a higher goal. Building upon this momentum, decision-makers are in a unique position to expand brand identities and bring products to a wider range of patients as governments and industry work to address issues in market access.
“If you just look at it from a plain economic example, if we bring on better treatments to patients, they’ll get treated faster, cured faster maybe, they won’t be in the hospital as long, and the economics will ultimately play itself out,” says Ryan.
“We have the opportunity to create an environment where we’ve got more channels open to our healthcare providers to keep them more informed on developments in our industry, the benefits of those developments, and ultimately delivering a better healthcare service to all patients.”
Mike Ryan, executive vice president, EMEA
Mike Ryan leads EVERSANA’s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and is responsible for accelerating growth throughout the region. He brings more than 25 years of experience to the industry, having held, global leadership positions in both clinical development and life sciences software companies.
Ryan passionately believes that technology can simplify the development of novel therapies and improve access to treatment. He holds a degree in Industrial Biochemistry from University Limerick and earned his Master of Business Administration from the University College Cork.
EVERSANA is the leading provider of global services to the life sciences industry. The company’s integrated solutions are rooted in the patient experience and span all stages of the product lifecycle to deliver long-term, sustainable value for patients, prescribers, channel partners and payers.
The company serves more than 500 organisations, including innovative start-ups and established pharmaceutical companies, to advance life science solutions for a healthier world. To learn more about EVERSANA, visit eversana.com or connect through LinkedIn and Twitter.