No longer can companies wait until Phase 3, or even Phase 2, to begin commercializing their developing brands. Today, the pharma industry sees increasingly competitive markets and payers who require more convincing before reimbursing products. Companies must begin shaping their brands very early in their development for the greatest chance of success. For most companies, the group charged with commercializing developing brands is new product planning.
By Yanis Saradjian,
Director of Consulting
New product planning groups work to provide an active commercial voice for products under development. To accomplish this objective, new product planning personnel generally sit on the project teams that manage developing brands. Here, the new product planning personnel direct all aspects of commercializing products long before they see market. In fact, CEI survey data show that 58% of new product planning units take an active role with brands prior to the onset of Phase 1 clinical trials. Another 33% begin working with developing projects at the onset of Phase 1. Though new product teams’ activities are limited this early, their presence is certainly felt as the teams’ preliminary forecasts and assessments often inform go/no go decisions and choices between projects.
In addition to their commercialization duties, the majority of new product planning teams play vital roles in their companies’ business development processes. Some new product planning groups simply provide evaluations of brands under consideration for acquisition, licensing, co-marketing or many other types of deals between companies. Other new product planning teams play a much larger role in business development, even owning voting power on go/no go decisions for the potential deals that they evaluate.
As with any team, new product planning faces several challenges. As Figure A shows, some of these challenges rate as more difficult than others.