3 Tips for Working Smarter with Insights Pre-Launch

Rachel Skevington Britton, Director in our Healthcare team at Incite, explores the complexities of early clinical development, and shares 3 tips for working smarter to get the insights you need.

When developing a pre-launch product, insight generation is a balancing act. Budgets are necessarily limited – you don’t want to invest too much until you are reasonably confident in a successful outcome. However, not investing anything at all can mean you don’t have the information you need to make the right decisions. So, there is a need to ‘work smarter’ during this critical time, to ensure that the investment you do make is targeted and truly adds value.

This is particularly true in healthcare, where bringing a pipeline molecule to market can take 10-15 years, and cost hundreds of millions of dollars. 90% of investigational drugs fail to make it over the line; and in an estimated 1 in 10 cases, that failure results from lack of commercial need or poor strategic planning. Beyond this, increased pricing pressures and regulatory hurdles can make the path to market even more complex.

To improve the chance of success, those responsible for developing strategy for pipeline drugs need access to solid market insight to confirm that clinical trials have relevant endpoints; feed into accurate forecasting; and, at its most fundamental level, ensure new assets truly meet customers’ and payers’ needs.

 That’s easy enough to say, but what should you do – and perhaps more importantly, not do – at this early stage? How can you work smarter to get the insights you need?

1/ Be specific

When starting from scratch, there is a tendency to want to understand ‘everything and the kitchen sink’, all at once. To overcome this, take the time to define challenges and critical questions using a structured framework, ensuring there are ‘no gaps, and no overlaps’. And prioritise them, focussing on what is ‘need to know’ right now, vs. can be left for later.

2/ Be creative

Once you have your priority questions, you need answers – but that doesn’t always mean primary market research. An easy and cost-effective first step is to make the most of in-house expertise. Even in a brand new therapy area, the process of hypothesis development is always illuminating. And if you have other assets in the area, that’s even better – draw on existing insights from your other brands, and consider speaking to your salesforce to complete the picture.

 Couple this with publicly available data – there is a wealth of valuable information out there. Manual desk research works well for single, tightly defined questions; and AI can be invaluable for managing ‘big data’. Choose a tool which analyses, structures and sizes data from multiple sources, and combine that with strategic and analytical thinking to ensure your insights are relevant and truly actionable.

 And recognise that existing data will only take you so far – primary market research is needed to explore reactions to product profiles, potential competitive positioning, or clinical trial design. An approach which gives you the ‘biggest bang for your buck’ is imperative – speaking to key opinion leaders, retaining a global perspective, and future-proofing your materials are all good ways to keep the scope and budget streamlined.

3/ Be outcomes-led 

Throughout the process, ‘keep your eyes on the prize’ – the outcomes you need to support a successful launch. Gathering insights at this early stage is necessarily exploratory, so being agile and collaborative is more important than ever; but it’s important to avoid ‘mission creep’ leading to a focus on things which are only ‘nice to know’.

Regularly regrouping to discuss what you’ve learnt – and what you still need to know to make your launch a success – ensures continued focus on the business imperative.


Intrigued? Get in touch to learn how we can support you in navigating the complexities of early clinical development. We’d love to discuss further!