Pharma Market Intelligence

Why undertake Market, Competitive or Business Intelligence?

Most pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are aware of the need for market research prior to launching a new product – the need to compare target product profiles against a competitor, understand prescribing behavior and develop a robust model of the market.  But competitive intelligence (CI) – where does that fit in?

Competitive Intelligence (CI) provides valuable business, scientific and market insights that help companies achieve and maintain a competitive advantage.  Although the term CI is commonly used, we prefer to think of it as market intelligence.

Market intelligence is the process of monitoring your brand competitors and those in development, in order to generate useful insights about their activities so that you can be prepared to either pre-empt or counteract their strategies. Market intelligence is at the heart of a market driven strategy designed to achieve competitive advantage.

Within the pharmaceutical and biotechnology space, we help our clients track competitor activities, perceptions and brand messaging to determine trends relevant to their team.  This may take the form of tracking specific disease categories (hypertension, lung cancer etc), mechanisms of action or pathways (VEGF, IGF-1R, mTOR etc) or drugs considered to be your main rivals.

Through primary and secondary research we also answer key intelligence questions in order to help brand or new product teams obtain the necessary insight prior to making strategic decisions.

Our view is that market intelligence is now an essential input into a company at multiple levels:

  • Corporate strategy
  • Tactical marketing
  • New product development
  • PR

Competitive intelligence is not about obtaining the trade secrets of another company or in obtaining their confidential information.  Those activities are illegal and unethical.

What it is about is obtaining information from a wide variety of public sources (press releases, corporate presentations, clinical trial databases, scientific meetings, exhibits, presentations and informal discussion physicians) and connecting the dots in a sea of data, to come up with some added value insight.  It is about obtaining competitive insight in a dynamic market place upon which a company can act.

Let’s look at a few examples of where CI or market intelligence could influence strategic decision-making:

Corporate Strategy

Competitors announce they are planning a clinical trial in the same indication that you are targeting – what will this do for your market opportunity?  Does their drug have the same mechanism of action, is the trial design optimum, when will their data be available, at what meetings could this be presented, when could they launch and what is the possible impact on your business?  It is not about gathering data – often that is available for anyone to read. Instead, it is about analysis and insight that requires high-level skills and experience.

Tactical Marketing Strategy

You are first to market with a product, and your competitors are hard at your heals.  What does their data look like at scientific meetings, what are the messages that the presenters are saying, are these aligned with the data? Can you see what their strategy will be when they launch? How should you respond?  Like a game of chess, taking data and using it to anticipate a competitor’s moves is an essential element of market intelligence.

New Product Development Strategy

There is a sea of data on planned, ongoing, completed and active clinical trials. How do you visualize this data and use it to understand the competitive threats you face or see the commercial opportunity for a new product?  Do you even know who your competitors are?  Are there any companies with innovative science who are not on your radar?  In a few months the competitive landscape can change dramatically – are you monitoring what your competitors are doing?  A data dump of clinical trials data is not what it’s about, it is about understanding how the pieces of the jigsaw fit together and seeing the big picture.   In new product development, a lot of insight can be gained from an analysis of competitor data.

In summary, Competitive Intelligence, Competitive Insight, Business Intelligence or Market Intelligence has an important role to play in pharma & biotech strategy development.  It is a function that has negative images of underhand spying and unethical practices, yet is one that if done well, can have a major strategic impact.


We undertake extensive research from numerous data sources to produce a comprehensive final report, which outlines the findings and competitive insights gathered.

Our analytical approach combines traditional primary and secondary research with newer techniques such as use of web 2.0 tools, and  social media in order to mine for relevant data and information.

Based on our industry experience we condense a vast amount of data into insightful and practical recommendations.

Ethical Approach

We only conduct ethical competitive intelligence and adhere to the code of ethics of the Society of Competitive Intelligence (SCIP) professionals.  All research is gathered legally from the public domain or from non-confidential sources. Our value proposition is the ability to connect the dots and draw inferences and conclusions from a sea of public data.

Competitor Monitoring Services

Every company has a different need for business or competitive intelligence and most projects in this area end up customized. Some of the services we offer include:

  • Annual tracking program that provides answers to key intelligence questions and regular updates on competitor activity based on conference coverage, KOL insight, press releases etc
  • Monthly update and weekly updates with “hot” action items. Useful for brand and new product teams who don’t have time to read several hundred news sources to keep on top of happenings
  • Custom focus on therapeutic area, competitor companies or products with similar mechanism of action

Medical Meeting & Conference Coverage

  • Session coverage & analysis of new data/competitor activity
  • KOL/competitor intelligence to answer key questions
  • Able to put in place team of experienced professionals with industry/therapeutic area knowledge
  • Customized conference reports that provide strategic insight

Please contact us if you would like to learn more about our services and capabilities.

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