How can pharma harness the power of data to inform its scientific communications strategy?

Words by Simon Mason

Navigating the fast-changing healthcare data landscape is becoming increasingly challenging for pharma, owing to issues such as the rapid growth of data sources and types, and the rate at which they are being shared across the globe.

For example, around 60% of healthcare studies are now scattered across thousands of siloed or incomplete sources, and around 50% of historical scientific data is no longer publicly available. Furthermore, about half of all meetings data is being disseminated before it is even presented, and it is often in some form of public domain about 12-18 months ahead of appearing in relevant journals.

This data would undoubtedly provide valuable information to cross-functional teams by giving them the full picture of what is happening in their disease or therapy area now, and providing crucial evidence that can optimise market access efforts.

However, until recently, pharma has been unable to capitalise on big data in the way that many other industries – from retail giants to technology companies – have been doing for years. This is largely because the industry has lacked the tools required to view data in a comprehensive and joined up way, and then analyse it to obtain actionable insights in order to engage with stakeholders.

Medmeme has addressed this problem through the creation of the largest database of medical science literature in the world, which includes patents, grants, clinical trials, global science presentations, publications, treatment guidelines and labels. It has also developed analytics that can tell the story of a molecule from discovery to postmarket. The database works by applying technology, data science, medical dictionaries and proprietary algorithms to literature, thus enabling pharma to view and communicate the full scientific picture of any mechanism of action, therapeutic area, drug or disease.

Share of Scientific Voice

A key innovation resulting from this process is Medmeme’s Share of Scientific Voice (SoSV). This measures the activity of any particular imperative around a product, such as the collective number of times a manufacturer’s drug or molecule is noted in scientific literature for any given topic, therapeutic area (TA) or mechanism of action (MOA).

It enables pharma to assess not only its own SoSV, but that of its competitors. This helps companies to gauge how well they are doing competitively and where their scientific information can be best disseminated.

Measuring SoSV is a powerful way to track global uptake on, and information about, how a therapeutic may improve quality of life for patients, how it is cost-effective, possible drug interactions and patient adherence, not to mention new discoveries, research trends and shifts in the marketplace, so that pharma can understand what is happening and adjust its future objectives and behaviours accordingly.

For example, one global pharma company harnessed this approach to give it a competitive edge in the launch of a new product in a well-established therapeutic area. The company formed and adjusted its scientific imperatives so that each one was developed as a question, or search term, that could be asked repeatedly and then measured to determine SoSV.

Using Share of Scientific Voice and its related technology, the product team measured the uptake of its scientific imperatives across the globe, to find out which ones were commonly understood in the scientific community and identify opportunities. It also ran this analysis against its competitor’s drug.

The team also found SoSV varied by region and country for each of its imperatives. This enabled global teams to work more effectively with regional and local ones, and achieve closer alignment with the sales, marketing and medical strategy. Since the data is updated daily, they continue to monitor uptake regularly and make strategic shifts when necessary.

Share of Scientific Impact

In addition to SoSV, which can be thought of simplistically as a ‘quantity’ score, teams – particularly on the medical affairs side – are finding a ‘quality’ score, in the form of its Share of Scientific ImpactSM (SoSI) useful.

SoSI not only looks at the mentions of any given product or imperative throughout the largest database of scientific dissemination in the world, it also measures the quality of those mentions by weighing them against an algorithmic, dynamic impact score assigned to every journal, meeting, institution or author. This allows publication planners and others an unbiased look at where to best place their submissions for greatest acceptance and broadest possible recognition.

Looking ahead

Thanks to data integration, data mining and metrics analysis technologies, critical information that was once stored in silos can now be filtered, aggregated and analysed. This is enabling pharma to see the full picture of what is happening now in any relevant disease or therapy area as well as what may happen in the future. The ability to gather and analyse forward thinking data enables pharma to take a more informed communications approach, and better understand how it can fulfil patient and prescriber needs, now and in the longer term. Simon Mason is Chief Commercial Officer at Medmeme.

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