Posts tagged ‘Pharma KOL’
August 24th, 2012
Pharma and biotech companies routinely seek the opinion of leading academics and researchers, but interviewing thought leaders (more commonly known as Key Opinion Leaders or KOLs) is an art, rather than a science.
Qualitative pharma market research typically consists of a structured interview arranged around a discussion guide that has scripted questions and probes. In our experience, such an overly structured approach is often not optimal with top tier KOLs.
Remember, these are extremely busy people and if you are fortunate enough to gain a short period of time from them (we normally do this over the phone), you need to use it wisely or they will soon be bored, distracted, cut you short and move on – unless you pique their curiosity and engage them in something that holds their interest.
Our approach is to:
- Focus on a few strategic questions or key issues
- Have a moderator who is knowledgeable about the topic so that the interview comes across as a scientific conversation
- Be prepared to listen and adjust follow-on questions accordingly
On Pharma Strategy Blog, you can read some of the KOL interviews that Sally Church, PhD has undertaken with leading business executives, academic researchers and clinicians.
Some of the thought leaders she has interviewed as part of her excellent “Making a Difference in the Lives of Cancer Patients” series include Alain Moussy (CEO of AB Science) Susan Desmond-Hellmann (Chancellor of UCSF) and Charles Sawyers (MSKCC – winner of the 2009 Lasker Award, and likely future Nobel Laureate).
March 10th, 2012
One of the emerging trends we saw at the recent European Association of Urology (EAU) Congress in Paris was an increase in the number of plenary and session presentations by physicians from Eastern European countries.
This trend is set to continue, and we expect to see more physicians from the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India & China) group of countries and other emerging markets presenting at global science and medical meetings in the future.
Poland is a good example of a country that should be on the radar of any global pharmaceutical company. It is one of the fastest growing economies in Europe, and was the only European country to avoid a recession in 2008-2009.
It was interesting to note that Tomasz Borkowski (Department of Urology at the Medical University of Warsaw) who gave a major session presentation at EAU on “Cancer induced bone disease – prevention and treatment’ listed only one company on his disclosures.
Clearly, some companies are ahead of others in identifying and building relationships with thought or key opinion leaders (KOLs) as they are commonly known.
One of the services we offer clients is market research with thought leaders at the global, national and regional level. Like all market research, this is anonymous – you don’t know the name or the institution and the physician doesn’t know who the sponsor is. This allows the doctor to speak more freely. This type of market research can provide valuable insights into what they think about a product or market opportunity with less bias.
Do you know who your thought leaders are and what think about your product? If not, please contact us and we would be delighted to help you meet your brand business goals.
January 31st, 2012
Cancer drug development is becoming more targeted and focused as a result of scientific advances. The understanding of ALK gene rearrangements in lung cancer led to the development of crizotinib (Xalkori) for the subset of patients who are ALK-positive.
Sally Church, Ph.D on Pharma Strategy Blog has reviewed some of the recent advances in our understanding of colororectal cancer (CRC).
Resistance to chemotherapy in colon cancer
As Sally noted, “the presence of the TFAP2E-DKK4 mutation may explain why some patients with colorectal cancer do better with chemotherapy than others.”
Inflammation linked to the early development of colon cancer
Researchers from MD Anderson Cancer Center have identified the role of inflammation and silencing of tumor suppressor genes in early colorectal cancer.
Understanding the biology of the disease could lead to the ability to identify those at high risk of developing colon cancer. Chemopreventative drugs could then be given to this subset of high risk patients to delay the onset of cancer. An exciting prospect!
Understanding the role of CIMP in early colorectal cancer
CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) can occur in 30% of colorectal cancer patients and has been shown to be an independent predictor of survival with 5FU in early or adjuvant CRC. CIMP may play an important role in tumor development. Expect to hear more on the link between inflammation, DNA methylation and early development of CRC.
Identifying subsets of patients will support rational drug development
Researchers have now shown that BRAF(V600E) mutations occur in 8-10% of colon cancers. The ability to identify this subset of patients could allow therapeutic options to be specifically targeted at them, in the same way that ALK+ lung cancer patients now receive crizotinib. Previously though, we didn’t know why vemurafenib was showing lack of efficacy in this group. New research has now given us some pointers.
As Sally noted on Pharma Strategy Blog, “a combination of vemurafenib and and an EGFR inhibitor such as as erlotinib, cetuximab or gefitinib, might be a useful clinical approach to try therapeutically in patients with colon cancer harboring the BRAFV600E mutation.”
As we learn more about the biology and early development of colorectal cancer, the ability to undertake rational drug development will increase. This is good news both for patients and for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies who want to successfully bring new products to market.