A conversation with Lynnette Cooke, Kantar Health

Pharmaceutical CommercePharmaceutical Commerce - March/April 2013

Kantar Health, a leading global healthcare advisory and market research firm, brought together in 2009 four distinct companies from the life sciences industry—Consumer Health Sciences, MattsonJack, TNS Healthcare and Ziment—all rich in clinical and therapeutic knowledge, scientific expertise and commercial insights. Led by Lynnette Cooke, the consultancy’s global CEO and former Ziment executive, Kantar Health has focused its business on clinical strategies, commercial development and marketing issues, bringing complex healthcare information to life. In today’s challenging healthcare environment, Kantar Health is helping biopharma and medical device manufacturers determine: which products to launch; how to develop market access for them; how to promote them; and how to measure their performance and value through understanding disease management and health outcomes.

1. It’s been a little over three years since Kantar Health came together as the merger of the various business entities. What was the original thinking in merging these companies and how is today’s structure functioning to meet those original goals?

Understanding the changing dynamics of the healthcare environment, especially the growing influence of patients and payers in driving standard of care, is critical for our clients who are bringing pharmaceuticals to market. By forming Kantar Health, we were able to leverage the expertise and commercial insights of four individually strong companies and their proprietary data, market research and analytic tools into a single leading consultancy and market insights organization, enabling us to better connect with clients in very significant and different ways.

At Kantar Health, we understand deeply the role of the patient, payer and physician, especially as it relates to the performance of drugs, compliance and adherence, and efficacy for improving outcomes. The level of specialization afforded to Kantar Health through our legacy companies, the breadth of our expertise, and our ability to bring together multiple experts experienced in advising, communicating and driving engagements across all healthcare stakeholders.

In the end, creating Kantar Health was very much in direct response to the growing needs of our clients and their desire to link together these multiple stakeholders and sources of information. We saw decisions being made by clients across all phases of the product lifecycle and knew they were sequential and dependent upon one another—from pre-clinical development to product launch, post marketing and growth. We identified that common thread and quickly realized that as a single organization we could be more effective at helping clients address their market challenges.

Becoming a single company was a relatively easy decision and highly attractive, as it further enabled us to not only look retrospectively at clients’ challenges, but prospectively toward the future.

2. With the combination of these four companies, how has the vision and structure of Kantar Health changed?

The focus at Kantar Health has remained unchanged. We want to be the catalyst for successful decisionmaking in life sciences by helping our clients better understand the important internal and external stakeholders impacting their business across the product lifecycle. Internally, biopharma companies have been relatively siloed with little interaction between R&D, health outcomes, and marketing and sales, among other groups.

Because of our current structure and the breadth of our advisory services across the entire commercialization process, we are now able to bring these multiple internal stakeholders together, helping them to work more collaboratively by getting our R&D clients to work with their marketing and health outcomes teams, reimbursement with R&D, and health outcomes with marketing, among others. This structure enables us to bring these disparate groups together to drive a better understanding of the relationships that exist between patient, payer and physician around performance and outcomes for specific drugs.

Our advisory services, which are built upon a solid market research and deep data foundation, spans three areas essential to bringing new drugs and pharmaceutical products to market, and comprise a combination of custom studies, syndicated information and secondary data. They include:

  • Commercial-development advisory services, where we help biopharma and medical device companies uncover new business opportunities and better understand unmet patient needs, helping them to maximize their R&D investments, create winning product-launch strategies, and forecast product demand.
  • Our clinical-strategies advisory services helps clients understand the interests of patients, physicians and payers, including how to gain access to established and emerging markets; drive improvements in health outcomes; monitor product safety; and develop adverse reporting programs.
  • And in the area of marketing effectiveness, we show clients how to optimize product launch by advising on market positioning and segmentation, message development for promotional and educational materials, benchmarking and performance tracking.

3. Is there a therapeutic focus to what Kantar Health engages in?

While Kantar Health’s oncology experts are highly respected as key opinion leaders in the space by many of the world’s leading life sciences companies, we also have many science and medical specialists who continually study drug, device and technology developments across many other disease areas. Because epidemiology is the starting point for evaluating new drug compounds, sizing the patient market and balancing the commercial investment, among other things, we have highly-skilled, professionally-trained epidemiologists that know how to combine multiple data sources for advising clients in developing the right compounds, aligning commercial and clinical development, and launching products.

Covering more than 190 indications across the G7 countries of the US, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the UK, as well as the emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China, our Epi Database is considered the premier online resource for epidemiological information. Through this dataset, we can provide clients with breakouts by country, indication, year, gender and race and age, helping them to define the potential for new drugs and to make go/no go decisions, analyze licensing opportunities, and conduct drug discovery prioritization.

A second key data source is Kantar Health’s National Health and Wellness Survey, which represents the largest international self-reported patient database in the healthcare industry, providing broad coverage of healthcare for more than 150 therapeutic conditions. The survey, which is a patient-reported outcomes survey, includes details about the epidemiology of the condition, patient diagnosis and treatment choices, patient compliance, satisfaction and attitudes and approaches to healthcare, and utilization of healthcare resources.

The granularity of these key healthcare information resources, combined with the strength of our advisory services, enables us to be the evidence-based decision support partner of choice to our clients.

4. Can you walk us through a typical Kantar Health engagement with a biopharma manufacturer?

Kantar Health advises clients at every stage of the commercial development process. This includes helping to: evaluate the market potential for new compounds; identify licensing candidates; guide discussions on pricing and reimbursement issues, as well as engaging and marketing to patients, payers and physicians; and advising on health economics and outcomes research activities.

A few examples of our work in using our healthcare information resources to advise clients include:

  • Advising an international life sciences company on the best approach for managing its drug portfolio risk across 45 countries and a multitude of data sources
  • Working with a client due to launch a new compound in peripheral arterial disease in the US and Europe, helping them to demonstrate patient benefits and value to payers
  • Using our patient segmentation methodologies to show how small the market potential was for a pharmaceutical, saving a specialty healthcare solutions company $80 million from an unwise investment.

5. Kantar Health is part of WPP, the world’s largest marketing communications company, with dozens of agencies and service providers spread around the world. How does Kantar Health interact with the rest of Kantar Group, and in turn, with WPP? Is there a business advantage to a client engaging many aspects of WPP?

Though we are a part of WPP, Kantar Health operates as an independent company. The advantage we do have in being a part of the larger WPP and Kantar organization is that we can leverage the power of a global group of companies, including shared offline and online research methodologies, technology and mobile apps to provide powerful, analytics-driven solutions for clients. The structure provides a platform for big data and deep consumer insights.

An example here is the WPP/Kantar Data Alliance which represents a collaboration of experts from across WPP comprised of media, CRM, digital, analytics and market research that connect information, technology-driven tools, and human expertise, and partners with technology companies, to help integrate, organize and apply data at scale. These experts then work with marketers and agencies to organize diverse data—from different channels, geographies, types and sources—and apply them for the purpose of driving faster, smarter marketing decisions. Working collaboratively within WPP, the Data Alliance helps agency teams connect state-of-the-art technologies with commonly used data sources. Data Alliance consultants also work with companies directly—typically engaged at the CMO, CIO or Board levels—to develop data strategies and deliver integrated programs that span multiple data, technology and marketing service providers.

This type of innovation also transfers well in to how Kantar Health works with its clients where we are working with them to help develop social media listening campaigns, online quantitative studies, and online patient communities, among other things.

6. Is the nature of the market research that Kantar Health performs evolving, either in terms of capabilities, or in terms of the type of market research that Kantar Health performs?

As we noted previously, the healthcare market and our clients continue to face increasing market challenges. Technology advances and the growing need to communicate with multiple healthcare stakeholders—patients, payers and physicians—are moving market research away from the well-established transactional research to relational research which focuses on collaborative relations, active listening, and increased dialogue and observation. Inside pharmaceutical companies, market research is changing in the way it is conducted and applied, opening up more opportunities for it to be applied differently than in the past. It is less about the methodologies and tools and more about the insights it provides.

At Kantar Health, market research does ultimately contribute to the solutions we deliver to clients. More importantly, our advisory and consulting services, and the insights we are able to provide based on the research, are the primary reasons that clients seek us out. Through our advisory and consulting approach, we work closely with our clients to address their most pressing and challenging marketing problems. We have codified intelligence-gathering processes to deliver custom studies, syndicated information, and secondary data bringing together clinical, commercial development, and marketing know-how to help clients succeed.

Our clients today continue to ask: Am I developing the right drugs? Are they achieving the desired outcome? Are patients benefiting? How do I price my product and secure reimbursement? Where we excel is in our ability to take complex, disparate healthcare information, effectively bringing this data to life, and developing it into insights to answer these critical questions.

One example of how Kantar Health did this can be found in some recently completed work on the prevalence of diabetes in India. We compared rates of Type 2 diabetes in India to China and the US and the effectiveness of digital communications for driving compliance. The data visualization shown here brings to life epidemiology data around this disease state that in the past would have been illustrated in a less impactful, less succinct format.

7. Kantar Health has a significant international perspective. From that perspective, what can you say about how the issues in the US market reflect global concerns, and how they are different?

Our clients continue to experience significant marketplace challenges due to dwindling product pipelines, increased generic competition, and healthcare reform measures in the US and abroad. These clients must serve multiple stakeholders audiences—internally and externally—from R&D to marketing to reimbursement—all which have an impact on the availability, cost and payment for pharmaceutical products and could potentially become a barrier. The need for biopharma and medical device manufacturers to shift to a payer and/or consumer-centric focus from a physician-centric model is paramount to their future growth.

Patients and payers have garnered a greater share of voice in the US, Europe and other parts of the world, and you cannot divorce outcomes from price. In the end, it is all about accountability and performance of drugs, which is the primary objective of all healthcare reform measures. As we’ve seen, many countries are moving toward a model of requiring manufacturers to prove outcomes for their drugs in order to maintain formulary and continue receiving reimbursement. The voice of the patient is growing and it will play an even more significant role going forward in healthcare.

With reform, the physician will of course continue to be important to diagnosis and treatment, but it will be the patient who will have the more significant role in disease management as the data related to compliance, persistency and efficacy of these drugs will be more granular and easily monitored.

8. Given Kantar Health’s expertise in evaluating markets, how would you characterize the biopharma industry’s position in meeting marketplace needs? What are the unmet medical needs of the future, and is Kantar Health preparing to address those needs for its clients?

New technologies are increasing pre-clinical R&D productivity and allowing pharma companies to more efficiently qualify new molecular entities. These new technology solutions are also geared toward cutting down on development costs, as it will reduce the amount of labor, time and capital costs historically required. But the obvious benefit is the ability to vet a potential compound before investments in animal and human testing take place. These pre-clinical activities also provide early screening for efficacy and safety/toxicity. Because of the breadth of Kantar Health’s expertise, we are able to advise clients in this phase of drug development, including epidemiology studies, health outcomes measures, forecasting, M&A support and pricing/market access for novel treatments, rare diseases, and whether or not to launch a biosimilar, among other matters.

9. What has the evolution of Kantar Health been like for you personally?

Anyone who works with me knows that I always seek balance in my life; I believe that I lead the same way and try to drive similar balance in Kantar Health’s workplace. At work, creating a culture where everyone shares the same passion and commitment to inspiring better health for patients around the world naturally produces higher quality work and fosters a supportive culture. We pull in the same direction together and collectively face challenges head on. Working hard is personally gratifying and our clients find this level of commitment very inspiring.

Just as important is a commitment to your personal life. For me, staying young is easy while I chase after my six-year old son. I work hard to ensure that I make the time to relax and explore new adventures with my family. I enjoy spending time with my family. My husband Bill and I continue to learn how to parent our young son, Joseph, through trial and error. And for me, the best way to relax is listening to music (preferably live) or enjoying a glass of wine with friends and family. I find that the best way to escape from the computer or smartphone is hitting the ski slopes, where there usually isn’t any cell service!

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