Best Practices in Global Commercialization to Optimize Brand Potential

What are the critical areas of focus for commercial planning to successfully launch biopharma products in today’s environment? What are the best practices in commercialization? How to maximize brand value at launch and during its life cycle? Learn about RxC International’s approach and how we are supporting commercialization efforts in biopharma.


Every company contemplates how best to maximize an asset value even in the early stages of clinical development process. The commercial plans must be solidified as soon as the product demonstrates proof-of-concept and the plans must be operationalized during the late stage development process to lay the right platform for a successful launch. In some cases, the commercialization timelines tend to be rather fluid due to accelerated development pathways and early approvals in therapeutic areas where there is the highest unmet need.

Depending on whether the product is expected to be “novel or existing MOA”, “first-to-market or late entrant”, “differentiated or me too”, “first-in-class or best-in-class”, “seeks broader label or limited label”, “gains broader access or limited access”, “has broader awareness or limited awareness”, etc., companies must develop the appropriate commercial strategy to maximize brand value. Based on our experiences in several specialty markets, we believe that there are five key areas of the commercialization process that companies must focus on to maximize the value of the brand.

  1. Product Profile and Target Claims

  2. Market Planning & Conditioning

  3. Patient-Centric Positioning (PCP)

  4. Market Access Platform (MAP)

  5. Commercial Excellence Platform (CEP)

The commercialization process usually starts with the evaluation of the commercial opportunity in target markets and understanding what it takes to capitalize on it. Next step is to design and build the commercial organization (structure, competencies, and governance) to effectively plan and execute pre-/peri-/post-launch activities across regions and globally. Once the commercial organization is established, it’s important to ensure that the commercial planning accounts for the following best practices in each of the five major areas.

1. Product Profile and Target Claims

  • Clinical Development Plan must reflect the strategies to achieve the globally aligned Target Value Profile (TVP) which should set the tone for all commercial planning activities

  • Target Value Profile must drive the product claims and various scenarios to address potential positioning considerations in each region based on treatment paradigms

  • Filing and registration strategy must address regulators needs to gain appropriate claims on the label in each region and global launch sequencing efforts

2. Market Planning & Conditioning

  • Build relationships with thought leaders in the scientific community and professional organizations to sensitize the market to the new agent

  • Establish scientific platform to raise disease awareness among thought leaders early if the MoA is relatively new and awareness levels are non-existent or low

  • Begin INN / trademark development process to account for global and local requirements along with any special considerations with co-marketing partners

3. Patient-Centric Positioning

  • Differentiate product around two or three key attributes (efficacy, tolerability, dosing, etc.) and clearly articulate how it creates value for patients, providers, and payers (note that differentiation is becoming increasingly challenging in most competitive disease areas)

  • Develop positioning and aligned messaging platform to ensure that the core messages are customized for each of the stakeholders to communicate value effectively

  • Develop patient-centric solutions (beyond-the-brand) early with the intent of engaging patients better and to ensure treatment adherence as part of treatment optimization

4. Market Access Platform (MAP)

  • Develop MAP using payer input and with clear focus on “product value” and what it means to different stakeholders (public / private payers and financial intermediaries)

  • Ensure that HEOR data needs are prospectively incorporated into Ph 2/3 trials—continue HEOR data generation efforts as part of continuous value profile enhancement efforts

  • Develop value-based pricing and reimbursement models for payers given the budget constraints and burden of proof required to clear formulary hurdles

5. Commercial Excellence Platform (CEP)

  • Leverage launch archetypes and prepare launch readiness platform to flawlessly execute activities and communications

  • Focus on promotional mix (personal and non-personal) and develop the best ‘formula’ using prescriber base, patients, disease, and competitive environment

  • Ensure accountability for each activity and institute performance management mechanisms to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) during pre-/peri-/post phases of launch

  • Ensure cross-functional collaboration to drive innovation and alignment across all commercialization activities

The RxC International team believes that cross-functional collaboration across regulatory, medical, tech ops, and commercial teams as well as global-regional alignment are imperatives for achieving commercial excellence. Long-term success of the brand is further dictated by life cycle planning efforts that a company must pursue throughout the product development and commercialization life cycle.




Subbarao Jayanthi, Managing Partner

Jose De Leon, Executive Partner

About RxC International

RxC International is a premier life sciences management consulting firm. RxC collaborates with clients to identify and develop growth opportunities. The firm leverages consulting partners and advisers to combine strategic and operational expertise to bring multiple perspectives to every engagement. The firm has deep expertise in corporate strategy, new product strategy, and commercial excellence. www.RxCinternational.com

RxC International adheres to the following values.

Pioneering | Collaborative | Principled | Tenacious

Value of Disease Leadership for Biopharma Companies in Today's Environment

What does it take to establish disease leadership? Why is it so challenging to attain? Learn about RxC International’s approach and the core components of disease strategy to maximize value for biopharma companies in today’s environment.

Driving Innovation of BioPharma Products Through Life Cycle Planning

Given the challenges to consistently innovate in drug research and the clinical risks associated with drug development, it’s imperative for biopharma companies to maximize the value of every product by institutionalizing an effective life cycle management approach”, said Nick DeSanctis, Executive Partner at RxC International, a life sciences management consulting firm in New Jersey.

Monthly Gene Therapy Business Review - March 2018

RxC International Gene Therapy Business Review March 2018

This newsletter provides commercial insights into the ongoing development of the gene therapy market.  The most noteworthy stories appear at the top along with our commentary.

Gene Therapy Expectations for 2018

Last year saw significant regulatory and commercial advancements for gene therapies.  While we’re not anticipating any gene therapy drug launches in 2018, the gene therapy team at RxC International believes that 2018 will still be a landmark year for gene therapy’s development as an industry in four particular ways:

  1. Commercialization: We will continue to see what happens with Luxturna in commercialization, payer models, and efficacy rate. Adoption of Spark’s new payment mechanism for Luxturna’s hefty price tag will be of particular interest.

  2. Manufacturing and delivery: We expect to see manufacturing and delivery technology continue to evolve, which will be critical for the segment to mature.

  3. Data: We will begin to see important data releases as products and companies expand their pipelines and reap data from clinical trials. We anticipate gene therapies for hemophilia to be especially important in 2018.

  4. BD licensing and M&A: Not the focus of this monthly review, but we’ll continue to see deal activity throughout the year.

1. First Reports of Luxturna Being Administered

Jack Hogan, a 13-year old boy from New Jersey, received Luxturna on March 20, becoming the first patient treated with a gene therapy for an inherited disease.  Closely following, Creed Pettit, a 9-year old from Florida, received Luxturna on March 21.  The first administrations of Luxturna mark a milestone for gene therapy commercial progress, payment models, and innovative contracts.

RxC International continues to watch Luxturna’s commercial strategies and their potential impact on the developing gene therapy market.  Read our analysis of Luxturna’s price and market opportunity here.

  1. Gizmodo: 13-Year-Old Boy Is First Person in US to Receive Newly Approved Gene Therapy for Blindness

  2. Newsweek: Blind Boy Might Be Able to See Again After New Breakthrough Gene Therapy Surgery

2. Gene Therapy Safety, Efficacy, and Science Still Evolving

Gene therapy is still an emerging segment of healthcare and new findings are potential game-changers.  This month, delivery technology advances were on the forefront, along with additional safety concerns.

1. Delivery Technology: New SMRT (Single Molecule, Real-Time) Sequencing technology could improve vector delivery and efficacy by assessing vector quality. The study raises concern that current vector delivery systems are less precise and refined as once believed.

“Some vectors contained less than half the DNA sequence they should have, while genetic errors called chimeras were discovered in other vectors. In a patient, these vectors could have proven ineffective, reducing the likelihood of successful gene therapy outcomes” (potentially requiring higher dosages). SMRT Sequencing analyzes vector quality so companies can improve them, an important step for dose escalation difficulties.

2. Limitations of Safety Study: While dose escalation continues to be a concern for AAV vectors, the recent study published by Dr. James Wilson regarding the safety of gene therapy for SMA contained several “limitations.”  One is that the specific vector used may be problematic but not AAV9 vectors in general.  Another limitation of Dr. Wilson’s study is that the human version of SMN1 was used in pigs and monkeys, not each species’ native version.

While monitoring the safety of gene therapies is important, it’s equally important for the gene therapy community to continue making progress toward life-saving therapies.

3. Solid Biosciences on Clinical Hold: Safety issues continued to plague Solid Biosciences this month as the FDA put a hold on Solid’s clinical trial for Duchenne muscular dystrophy due to an adverse reaction from the first patient dosed.  The FDA’s action is not surprising given Dr. James Wilson’s resignation from Solid’s advisory board and his recently-published article detailing safety issues with the AAV delivery vector Solid is using (see article above, Limitations of Safety Study). 

4. CRISPR Redeemed: A paper questioning CRISPR’s safety has been corrected by its original authors who note, in contrast to their original conclusion, that, “Our previous publication suggested CRISPR-Cas9 editing at the zygotic stage might unexpectedly introduce a multitude of subtle but unintended mutations, an interpretation that not surprisingly raised numerous questions.”

Reference Articles

  1. PacBio: Study Demonstrates Potential for SMRT Sequencing to Improve the Safety of Gene Therapy Protocols

  2. Human Gene Therapy: Severe Toxicity in Nonhuman Primates and Piglets with Systemic High-Dose Administration of Adeno-Associated Virus Serotype 9–Like Vectors: Putting Patients First

  3. EndPoints: FDA slaps a hold on Solid Bio’s gene therapy for Duchenne MD in wake of safety alert

  4. BioRXIV: Whole genome sequencing of multiple CRISPR-edited mouse lines suggests no excess mutations

3. Targeted Delivery Continues to Expand: Topical Gene Therapy IND Application Filed

Krystal BioTech’s FDA Investigational New Drug application for a topical gene therapy to treat Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa (DEB) demonstrates more specialization of delivery technology and viral development. We’ve seen gene therapy delivery technology targeting the brain by crossing the blood-brain barrier, the eye (which is easier to target), muscle (which is difficult to target), and now skin.   

4. Gene Therapy Targeted to NASH, Leveraging New Regeneron/Alnylam Partnership

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals has put significant resources behind its Genetics Center that uses genetic information along with electronic health records to identify genes that could play a role in disease. The Center has made several promising finds, with its latest study unearthing a gene variant linked to lower risk for liver disease.

To develop drugs for the discoveries its Genetics Center makes, Regeneron has partnered with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, the pioneer of RNA interference treatments. Regeneron and Alnylam plan to develop a therapeutic to treat chronic liver diseases such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) by using the genetic information uncovered by Regeneron.

  1. New England Journal of Medicine: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Protection from Liver Disease

  2. BioPharmaDive: Regeneron, Alnylam partner to turn discovery into new drugs for NASH

5. Gene Therapy May Heal Brain

Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Study have discovered a trigger that may increase the brain’s ability to heal from injury and other conditions. “Turning on” astrocytes (a gene found in brain cells) within mice stimulated the cell’s injury response and resulted in better healing.  Turning off or deleting the gene resulted in larger injuries and longer healing times. This discovery may one day lead to gene therapies to treat spinal cord injuries, concussions, stroke-induced damage, and other brain-related injuries.

About RxC International

Understanding the subtleties of gene therapies is critical for bringing these treatments to market. RxC International has extensive experience successfully commercializing and launching new drug products, developing innovative solutions, realizing a product's best potential, and working across organizations to achieve common goals.

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