Emerging Biopharma

6 ways digital platforms help emerging pharma punch above its weight

By Ty Curry, Jatin Rai, Siddharth Shah, and Nathan Tang

Nov. 28, 2022 | Article | 4-minute read

6 ways digital platforms help emerging pharma punch above its weight

What if emerging pharma’s perceived weakness was actually its greatest strength? Shorter tech stacks, smaller teams and leaner operations may sound like handicaps in a market dominated by global biopharma giants, but a new generation of digital life sciences platforms has flipped the script. Because emerging pharma companies are unburdened by existing processes and legacy infrastructure, they have an opportunity to compete with less and build as they grow in a dynamic healthcare ecosystem. 


In this article, we’ll explore the ways digital life sciences platforms fuel insights at every stage in the journey from pipeline strategy to clinical development, commercialization and growth. We'll also unpack how those insights help emerging pharma organizations outmaneuver competitors, improve the quality, diversity and efficiency of clinical trials, accelerate launch timelines and deliver solutions, experiences and products patients, providers and payers truly value.

What the platform approach means for pharma

The life sciences industry is heading toward a platform approach. According to Gartner, digital life sciences platforms are on track to be mainstream within five to 10 years, ushering in a new era of interconnectivity and agility across the healthcare ecosystem.


For emerging pharma companies, these platforms offer a unique opportunity to reach patients and customers without spending years building digital capabilities. Instead, prebuilt, stackable industry tools can help organizations remove barriers from clinical trials, transform the customer experience, fuel growth and thrive in a challenging, competitive market for new products. 

Digital platforms aren’t just accelerators—they create a foundation for growth

Pharma companies need data from multiple sources to maximize the success of their assets and remain fit for growth. Platforms aren’t just products that connect the dots—they create a common foundation to power all of the company’s assets, algorithms, apps and data. With AI-powered connectivity and a self-learning network, platforms get smarter with each interaction and every new user, geography or brand—making them increasingly valuable to growing organizations.


Here are six high-opportunity areas where platforms connect insights to give emerging pharma a competitive edge:

  1. Developing a pipeline strategy. Entering the market for the first time can feel like flying blind when you don’t have insights to shape your asset strategy. Platforms help leaders see where and when to invest in promising opportunities based on market differentiation, customer needs and ecosystem activity. For example, AI-powered analyses of the probability of regulatory and technical success (PTRS) help organizations invest in viable assets and target valuable market areas.
  2. Designing clinical trials. Despite significant advances in scientific innovation, most discoveries take too long to reach patients—and there’s still a pressing need for more patient diversity, equity and inclusion in clinical studies. To remove the barriers stalling progress, make it easier to find and engage the right participants and sites, and spark discoveries, teams need better insights. Scoring patient burden, generating real-world evidence and data, and modeling patient enrollment scenarios are just a few ways to optimize study planning, development and design so companies can deliver better products to more people. This is especially important in the rare disease space where burdens, inequities and delays have an outsized impact on patients and clinical success.
  3. Launching products. Emerging pharma product launches are on the rise, with more $500M+ products coming from emerging companies than big pharma. But according to our analysis of U.S. first launches this year, those who outperformed the competition understood their customers’ needs, their pain points, and the market—insights a digital life sciences platform provides.
  4. Optimizing in-market performance. Today, most organizations practice omnichannel marketing. But outreach across those channels isn’t always coordinated, compelling or customer-specific. Intelligent automation and effective monitoring reflecting industry benchmarks and KPIs can jumpstart a continuous improvement cycle.
  5. Engaging customers. To create a successful digital customer engagement plan, companies need to understand patients and HCPs as individuals and deliver products and experiences that align with their interests, affinities and expectations. With Byte-sized insights from data and analytics, teams can see the nuances of each person while tracking and predicting the larger trends within their target audiences. AI also empowers commercial teams to act based on the latest activity data and can trigger appropriate outreach automatically. The best part? When holistic customer insights flow through your platform, they fuel patient centricity in every arm of the organization.
  6. Fueling growth. To thrive in a competitive market rife with disruption and opportunities, emerging pharma companies need to scale and grow sustainably. Whether exploring follow-on assets and indications, launching in different regions or increasing the sophistication of commercial execution, platforms let companies plug in just what they need when they need it so they can expand and build swiftly and strategically.

Emerging pharma companies and those early in their commercialization journey need to act fast, build momentum, closely watch cash burn, and win on smart, agile decisions against the greater spending of big pharma. Without amassing large teams and heavy infrastructure costs, these companies have to generate powerful insights quickly, as they are often in a hurry to make go-to-market decisions. Platforms lend the data processing power and the latest advancements in analytical techniques to mobilize these insights efficiently so companies can thrive at every turn, punch above their weight and put life-changing therapies in the hands of patients faster.

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