Commercial Trends Forecast: ‘R&D is transforming into R&D&C’

By Melissa Fassbender

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/ismagilov)
(Image: Getty/ismagilov)
The R&D playbook is evolving as the industry looks to break down the silos between clinical and commercial operations – bringing commercial voices to the earliest phases of asset development.

Syneos Health has released its inaugural Commercial Trends Forecast, calling 2018 the year of commercial transformation.

According to the report​, this year commercial teams will be involved earlier in the drug development cycle as the industry breaks down the silos between clinical and commercial disciplines.

“Infusing commercial thinking and capabilities in the early stages of development creates equity and value in your asset’s brand,”​ explained Joe Daley, president of Addison Whitney, a Syneos Health Company.

He also told us it provides companies with the framework for better decision making and ensures effective communication and consistent messaging with all audiences.

Breaking down the silos

R&D is transforming into R&D&C: research and development and commercial, said Daley.

“The R&D playbook is evolving to succeed in light of new market realities,”​ he told us, noting that investment, risk, and barriers to market entry are increasing “at a remarkable pace.”

“Great innovations in science – critical clinical solutions – will have muted impact without leveraging commercial insights; Commercial voices are becoming more present and more influential earlier on in an asset’s development,”​ said Daley.

Addison Whitney is a naming and branding company, and as Daley explained, is seeing its customers understand the value of moving commercial elements forward on the R&D timeline.

“We are increasingly seeing brand development activity begin with teams in the earliest phases of an asset’s development,”​ he added.

Branding your clinical trial

Daley offers the example of branding a clinical trial:

“By bringing in a branding team from the start, it’s been found that branded trials enroll five times as many patients as unbranded trials, are four times as likely to be funded and are cited at twice the rate of unbranded trials."

Additionally, Daley said this early engagement brings the team together that will help shape the brand’s future and creates a partnership with the biopharma company and the agency.

“Naming is additionally important as biopharmas go through the application process where a name must be approved, another major milestone, that if missed can be quite costly.”

Commercial transformation

Beginning the development of an asset is exciting, said Daley – and it is challenging.

“There are hundreds of questions and decisions that need to be made that can alter the course of development and shape its future,”​ he added.

However, Daley said he can’t stress enough the value of early engagement with commercial teams. He explained that knowing how an asset is going to work and react with real-world patients can create connections with patients and investors who are following the trial as it develops.

“When you get closer to the innovators – the scientists who are pursuing the pathways –you start to understand what drives them. You get closer to the origin story and it creates a true, raw emotional connection to the asset.”

“When you are closer to the needs that the patients have who are participating in the trials you are able to gather more insights and understanding of what they need,”​ he added.

Ultimately this translates into the appropriate person in need, receiving your innovation, and positively changing a life.”

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