A winning global product launch enables Life Sciences companies to maximize patient reach and expand commercial impact. A new product or indication launch requires careful planning and a thoughtful strategy. Let’s dig into the big questions that every launch team should unpack.
Life Sciences companies recognize that successful global product launches maximize patient impact and business opportunity. The global medicine market is expected to grow at an estimated 3% to 6% through 2027, with strong volume and adoption of novel medicines driving growth in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Asia.1 While Life Sciences companies understand the global market potential, executing successful launches in a large volume of diverse markets remains a formidable challenge. Navigating these complex launches requires balancing the need for efficient globalized frameworks and resources with a strong appreciation of local market dynamics.
Global teams play a key role in supporting markets through their launch readiness journey while ensuring adherence to the foundational strategy. We have identified six key questions that a global launch team needs to address to enable success. Let’s dig deeper into these six focus areas and identify common potential pitfalls to avoid.
1. How can teams ensure alignment to global strategy?
The core remit of global teams is to set and communicate the global brand strategy. Local market teams are tasked with adapting the global strategy while building and executing local level launch plans.
A clear governance process and regular check-ins with priority markets will help to proactively address plans that veer “off-strategy”. Launch Readiness Reviews (LRRs) with key markets pressure test launch plans to ensure preparedness and confirm strategic alignment. The global team should aim to connect with key markets 2 to 3 times pre-launch, covering local market understanding, commercial and medical strategy, regulatory and market access plans, go-to-market model, etc. Deviations from global strategy should be supported with local market insights and approved by leadership in LRRs.
Consider: For markets with formal presentation requirements, avoid undue burden by keeping launch readiness reviews succinct, provide streamlined guidance to minimize distraction, and focus discussion on launch strategy.
2. How can teams enable communication and foster local market engagement?
Strong communication and engagement plans are critical for launch success and post-launch pull-through. Forums to share best practices and challenges can help to build connection with the global team and across markets. For example, a large-format global launch event is a great way to generate excitement and broadly share the launch strategy and deliverables.
Global teams should build on launch momentum with frequent communications highlighting new asset releases, global initiatives, and events. These regular updates can come in the form of a newsletter, asset catalog, and/or dedicated SharePoint.
Provide local teams the opportunity to share their success stories. Through a spotlight series, or dedicated forum, markets can share their innovative programs and their impact, which can spark ideas in other markets and provide valuable insights.
3. How can teams prioritize and sequence launch markets, especially considering limited resources?
Carefully researched launch sequencing plans and prioritization of key markets is vital to ensuring products are available to patients as quickly as possible, while optimizing brand value. As teams face resourcing constraints and market access headwinds, each regulatory submission and reimbursement scenario needs to be evaluated to take patient access and brand value into account. In certain scenarios, data gaps will need to be addressed to improve the probability of regulatory and reimbursement success. Alternative access channels and value based contracting strategies should be considered to manage risk.
Consider: A strong pricing strategy will account for variability in drug prices across markets. Drug prices in the US are significantly higher than other countries (tracking at 170 percent of prices in Mexico2). And it has been reported that firms have agreed to cut prices by over 60% on average for inclusion on China’s National Reimbursement Drugs List (NRDL).3
Special consideration is required for health technology assessment (HTA) markets, where budget impact is a key focus area. Bundling submission of multiple indications can be beneficial for HTA markets in certain scenarios. Cross functional collaboration is important for the development of an integrated and optimized global launch sequence that reflects internal development timelines, commercial prioritization, regulatory strategy, and pricing and market access strategy.
Consider: Transparency of price negations in some markets (i.e., Germany) can impact prices in many surrounding markets.4
4. How can teams create valuable global deliverables that are relevant to a large number of disparate markets?
To better tailor strategy and deliverables, markets can be mapped by archetypes that account for launch timing, competitive landscape, regulatory & reimbursement (e.g., national payer, private access), label (e.g., level of restriction), or other market dynamics (e.g., performance, market share, testing rates).
Launch archetypes can help to convey strategy and support implementation by providing tangible examples, specific talking points, or differentiated content by archetype. For example, there may be a call-out to change the order of talking points based on testing rates or there may be certain visuals that resonate more in markets with tough competition. Archetypes can put strategy into action.
And markets within the same archetype can be grouped together for activities like strategic workshops, best practice sharing forums, and soliciting feedback. Archetypes can be a powerful tool to make sense of a high-volume of seemingly fragmented markets. And local teams are more receptive to global strategy and deliverables that recognize their unique situation.
There will always be some markets that are “outliers” that do not fit perfectly into standardized archetypes. It is important to recognize and appreciate each market’s dynamics and caveat that global frameworks require some level of adaption. Carefully select a cross-representative group of markets to be included in global market research projects to promote adoption.
5. How can teams support adoption of global deliverables?
Soliciting feedback on global deliverables early and often is the best formula for local market uptake and adoption. Closely align with key markets, or early launch markets, to understand their needs. For accelerated launch scenarios, consider asset co-creation with select markets.
Consider: When asking for local market input on global deliverables, be clear on the ask.
1) Is it an inform?
2) A pulse check, to ensure there are no glaring red flags?
3) Or detailed feedback that will be incorporated?
Best-in-class global cross functional teams deliver templatized and modular deliverables that allow local teams to easily adapt materials according to local regulations and guidelines. Global materials should include global references, with the option to add locally relevant information. Implementation guides for core assets (including the core visual aid, objection handler, summary, and sales sheet) are a great supplemental resource to provide clear direction and additional context on how to best leverage global assets. Deliverables should be flexible and streamlined for market adoption, translation, and localization. Source file packages should be made available to local agency partners to minimize rework.
Easy-to-follow toolkits and value packs help to maximize local team budgets. Similarly, speaker programs or workshops-in-a-box help to ensure consistent messaging and significantly reduce the cost and effort to run local programs.
For new product launches, less is more. Teams should focus on core material development aligned to the strategy. Additional pull-through assets should be evaluated in the 6+ month post-launch period, after performance data and insights provide supporting rationale.
Consider: It is important to ensure that novel deliverables or programs are tested with key markets to ensure feasibility of adoption. For example, the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) sets strict rules on data privacy. There are also regulations that govern patient outreach in many markets and limit the feasibility of any branded patient-facing materials.
Consider: It is important that global deliverables are provided with adequate lead time to launch. When deliverables are too late, markets are more likely to deviate from global templates, causing inconsistencies. Work with early launch markets to develop global delivery timelines and brainstorm together on solutions to meet local needs (i.e., sharing work-in-progress assets or adopting an agile approach, cascading assets in phases by order of priority).
6. How can teams accurately track and measure launch success?
Strong performance tracking can help to measure progress toward ambition and identify challenges early, allowing teams to course correct.
Market share should be reflected as a core key performance indicator (KPI), but other supporting metrics should inform progress toward critical success factors and help to diagnose performance issues. For example, are low testing rates due to lack of HCP education or lengthy pathology lead times? Is patient discontinuation due to poor adverse event management or price/access restrictions? As a best practice, qualitative 1:1 sessions with early launch markets should be held to understand launch performance and key challenges before quantitative data is available.
When defining global KPIs, targets should be set and discussed with local markets, considering base case scenarios and local market dynamics. The data calculations, sources, and frequency should be set by the global team and disseminated with markets. KPIs and secondary measures should be specific, actionable, time-bound, and aligned to launch strategy including target dates. KPIs should also be aligned to the forecasted assumptions.
Ready to help
Preparing for a product’s launch can be a challenging time, even for the most experienced of Life Sciences companies. Vynamic has partnered with Life Sciences companies on over 50 global launch engagements across 11 markets outside the US. Our experts help bring clarity to complexity by working closely with you to implement a completely flexible, tailored approach to orchestrate your planning, coordinate your local market teams, and prepare you for a successful launch.
Vynamic, an Inizio Advisory company, is a leading management consulting partner to global health organizations across Life Sciences, Health Services, and Health Technology. Founded and headquartered in Philadelphia, Vynamic has offices in Boston, Durham NC, and London. Our purpose is simple: We believe there is a better way. We are passionate about shaping the future of health, and for more than 20 years we’ve helped clients transform by connecting strategy to action.
Through a structured, yet flexible delivery model, our accomplished leaders work as an extension of client teams, enabling growth, performance, and culture. Vynamic has been recognized by organizations like Great Place to Work and Business Culture Awards for being leaders and innovators in consulting, company culture, and health. Visit Vynamic.com to discover how we can help transform your
organization or your career.