Montreal-based Theratechnologies Inc. (Thera) made a successful leap from working with third-party commercial partners to becoming a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company.


The biopharmaceutical company promotes the idea that individuals living with HIV can lead healthier lives through treatment that addresses the health conditions affecting patients’ quality of life and medical outcomes. It is commercializing two medications in the U.S.: Trogarzo® (ibalizumab-uiyk) helps people with HIV who are heavily treatment experienced achieve and maintain undetectable viral loads, while EGRIFTA SV® (tesamorelin for injection) is approved for the reduction of excess abdominal fat in people with HIV who have lipodystrophy, a condition which can lead to other health issues.

As part of Thera’s transformation, the team changed its commercial model to maximize the potential reach for its in-market brands. It also aimed to build a data and analytics foundation that will enable the team to commercialize new products in the future.

“When I joined in 2021, we wanted to assess our commercial model to see if we should change it to better fit our growth ambitions,” said Peter Kowal, Thera’s vice president of U.S. commercial operations. “Our goal was to move away from an outsourced model and begin to build the internal infrastructure for the full spectrum of commercial operations, including the people, data and processes needed to become more competitive.” 

The challenge: Scalable growth through commercial data and analytics

In pursuit of the new commercial model, Thera’s leadership also wanted to strengthen its existing analytics capabilities to support two of the primary functions the biopharmaceutical company planned to bring in-house: commercial sales and medical affairs.

Thera’s leadership team wanted to time the introduction of the analytics program with the onboarding of its new field teams. And they wanted full ownership over the commercial data and analytics platform so they could remain responsive and keep options open for more data integration and analytics down the road.

When the transformation work started in 2021, 20% of Thera’s U.S. territories were contributing to year-over-year growth with their primary product, EGRIFTA SV®. The leadership team believed that hiring their own people, along with control of their data and analytics capabilities, could help them see a prescriber lift in other territories.

“At the time, we knew we could invest in analytics to better explain and drive our growth,” explained Frédéric Leclerc, Thera’s director of global market analytics. “At Thera, we sell to only one customer, which is our wholesaler. But to understand opportunities for growth, we also need to know what’s happening within layers of specialty pharmacies and with our patient population. We need to look at prescription data, claims data, enrollment data, inventories across different pharmacy networks and more. It’s important to know the limitations and advantages of each of those data sources, too, before you use them as a basis for any action.”

The solution: Centralized commercial data and analytics

For the analytics rebuild, Thera tapped the director of sales operations, Tony Di Vincenzo, to collaborate with Leclerc on shaping a new set of management and field team dashboards.

“Not only did we want to house all the data we use in one place, we needed to implement business rules for that data to be in a better position to analyze it. And we needed to have a new set of dynamic dashboards that everyone could access and use with confidence,” said Leclerc.

Working with ZAIDYN, a cloud-native analytics platform powered by AWS technologies, the team:

  • Configured the legacy warehouse in the ZAIDYN platform, which now serves as the company’s internally owned commercial data warehouse.
  • Ported all customer data, which was previously managed in a different CRM, into the new warehouse.
  • Elevated Thera’s internal master data management capabilities, allowing the new warehouse to ingest data from various vendors and process routines that make all data suitable for analysis.
  • Ensured the warehouse would store and apply business rules and data governance principles so that its access control and audit trails work together in support of policies and regulations.
  • Created a new set of role-based dashboards to serve the diverse needs of Thera’s C-suite, commercial sales, medical affairs and marketing teams.
  • Established a single source of truth for all customer data, which can be used in all downstream systems.

“In less than three months, we met our primary goal, which was to give our field force access and visibility into the data. It was a lot to do in a short amount of time,” said Di Vincenzo. “Having a team at ZS that could both challenge us on the details and keep us on track was what set us up for success.”

Kowal, who led the entire commercial model transformation program, ultimately had the choice of ZS as the biopharma company’s analytics partner: “We picked ZS because they had the tools, but they also showed they can challenge our thinking about trends in the market and how to use our data to anticipate the effects of these trends.”

The impact: Empowered sales teams, new commercial insights and faster growth

“With the metrics we’ve defined in ZAIDYN, we’re giving our teams better tools to be successful,” he continued. “On the commercial sales side, it’s all a downward data stream. We’re setting higher expectations and we’re coaching in more meaningful ways. We’re able to communicate about challenges and opportunities much more quickly.”

“With the metrics we’ve defined in ZAIDYN, we’re giving our teams better tools to be successful.”

Peter Kowal, Theratechnologies

Three years on, the new commercial model has allowed Thera to extend the reach of products that have been in the market for more than a decade and convert more territories to contribute to year-over-year sales growth, from 20% of territories in 2021 to 85% in 2023.

“Because of Thera’s size, we work to make sure that every dollar we spend has an impact on our patients. And this data helps the company really ensure that we’re investing in the right places,” concluded Kowal.

Thera’s analytics solution now provides value in these key ways:

  • Daily field insights: Thera’s new dashboards supply key performance indicators and daily field insights to the entire field force, organized by physician, in a user-friendly manner. These dashboards are designed to be more intuitive, cater to market needs and make the experience of using them more engaging.
  • Data to negotiate more favorable terms with partners: Thera now systematically analyzes market-access-related business drivers by examining the flow of medicines and financial payments. The effort includes comparing gross and net profit margins, which have led to improved contract negotiations with partners and a better understanding of competitive opportunities.
  • A modern, dynamic analytics foundation for the future: The teams have renewed confidence that their data warehouse is up-to-date and trustworthy, with good data governance ready for analysis. Now that Thera fully controls its data and analytics platform, the team can readily make changes that align with changing market conditions. 

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