Striving for Optimal Commercial Positioning

PC: What steps can young innovator companies take to better differentiate their value proposition and attract interest from potential buyers?

Tritschler: The early-stage companies are phenomenal in one area—they have a great understanding of the clinical value of their asset. The key problem is not the clinical side of things, but more the commercial and market access side that a lot of these young companies are not sufficiently focusing on. Early-stage companies often miss the focus on striving for the optimal commercial positioning [of their potentially approved product]. This can be setting up the ideal LCM (lifecycle management) strategy in their trial program; or to consider payer-relevant evidence-generation to later on convince the different HTA (health technology assessment) and payer bodies of the value of their assets. And then having the right M&A outcomes at hand. That’s kind of the [challenges] that we’ll see with a lot of emerging companies.

Therefore, I have three recommendations to these companies.

First and foremost, continue with the focus on the high understanding of your clinical value. That’s still your key to success. But then take a further step into understanding the market even more in-depth, looking at all the different levers when it comes to commercial and market access. For example, we just did a recent study looking into how the forecasts of certain companies reflected in the later-on performance and actual sales [produced] by these companies. We’ve seen that the deviation, especially among early-stage companies, has been quite extreme with hardly any meeting their forecasts. In order to extract the full value of your product or your company, it’s very important to also have a good grasp of this commercial knowledge of the future markets, preparing your strategies, and optimizing the pricing and access potential for payers for your product in order, then, to have better outcomes in deals later on.

Lastly, be bolder on your go-to-market strategy. We see a lot of companies that directly strive for the exit option and, therefore, leaving a lot of money on the table. We would recommend to the smaller companies to think about and prepare yourself for commercializing your product yourself, because then you have this alternative option. You can still sell your company later on or sell the asset or out-license it in certain geographies. But think about [commercializing] it yourself; then you have this plan B and much better cards to play in future negotiations with potential partners or buyers.

For more on the evolving relationship factors in life sciences dealmaking and investment, read our industry outlook analysis here.

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