What’s the issue?

The healthcare environment today is not what it used to be. Over the past several decades many pharmaceutical companies have primarily focused on main stream diseases affecting larger populations with unmet clinical needs and limited treatment options. Pharma companies set their sights on discovering blockbuster drugs to address a medical problem for tens of millions of people in all the major markets, with the expectation that it would deliver significant financial rewards to the business. This has all changed. Today, pharmaceutical companies face significant competition in these large disease areas, with many of the current treatments now seen as the standard of care addressing the majority of the identified unmet needs.

The need for better patient outcomes

Not only is there increased competition for Pharma companies within these large disease areas, but patients are now living longer and require longer treatment periods, and this is having a knock on effect to the overall cost and impact of the healthcare system. As a result, the majority of the healthcare spend is going to a very small patient population with  extensive chronic conditions.  As the number of patients requiring state of the art treatments rapidly increases, Pharma companies must drive for both product performance and cost-effectiveness to provide better patient outcomes and provide a positive impact to the healthcare system. This requires researchers to understand the causes of the disease and to develop effective treatments adaptable to the patients’ biology.

Finding your niche

As science changes, pharmaceutical companies must adapt to target much more specific populations where there is potential to deliver a targeted solution with a better outcome. By seizing opportunities within niche sub-populations or targeting rare diseases with smaller patient populations, they can identify relevant unmet clinical needs and create innovative products. Moving towards rare diseases could provide the opportunity for Pharma companies to diversify and establish themselves as the market leaders; however, being able to define these small patient populations can prove challenging. This shift in focus by Pharma companies means that a much deeper insight into the patient population is required in order to accurately target and identify eligible patients for a specific condition, including data concerning the co-morbid conditions, pathophysiology, vital signs, age related genetic profiles and continuous variables (i.e. BMI or eGFR) which affect the whole population.

Defining your patient population

Choosing your specific area of population data is a difficult task, but the real challenge for an analyst is to sift through the exponentially growing disease specific patient population data that is publically available! It can be hard to determine the level of accuracy with a specific data source and where there are potential gaps based solely on how the information is being collected and aggregated. Moreover, the usual lag period of 1-2 years on publically available data sources can create significant deviation when trying to forecast into the future, an important feature in determining the potential success of your product.

The requirements of an epidemiology database today

Patient-based epidemiology forms the fundamental building block for any new innovative technology in the Healthcare space. Not having a clear understanding of the specific patient population which you are addressing, as well as their relevant co-morbidities and patient attributes, will deliver a great deal of additional risk to your products clinical and commercial success.

The Epiomic™ database, with its level of patient population detail and coverage across the 8 major global markets, can deliver the understanding  that would be invaluable to the market access, clinical and commercial teams. With a database like the Epiomic™, you will be able to quickly determine the patient segment, based on important attributes, age, gender or co-morbidities linked to the treatment, for a particular disease.  With a 25 year outlook, you will be able to determine the total potential patient pools for the disease over the length of the clinical study or patent life of the product. Using the same profile, you could look between the major global markets to see which country can yield the most patients,  providing the location and number of clinical sites required. You could also be able to identify patient segments which could generate a shorter end-point for the study, thus reducing the overall cost and length of the trial.

Having access to this type of information will empower a commercial team to manage out, to a degree, some of the substantial risks that are highlighted at the start of a project and deliver a more robust forecast of the product’s potential which the entire organisation can align with.