Partnering in Digital Health: Pharma and Tech Companies

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Publication Date:
October 2019
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The secret of successful digital health partnerships

Digital health is guaranteed to play a huge part in the future of pharma. Innovative technology that can improve patient access, increase quality of care, boost efficiency and personalise medicine already exists today and is evolving at breakneck speed. It's no surprise that players from both the pharmaceutical and tech sectors are looking for ways to make swift progress in this exciting new market. For the majority, partnership is the most effective route to success.

Partnering in Digital Health: Pharma and Tech Companies  looks at progress to date, the key issues, pitfalls, challenges and opportunities. Based on detailed interviews with experts, this is an up-to-the-minute and comprehensive assessment of the current state of play, along with practical guidance on how to move forward.

Use this report to:

  • Read case studies, discover who the big tech players are and learn about current projects and partnerships
  • Understand the most useful partner selection criteria to consider and recognise what must be decided up front to avoid problems later
  • Recognise the critical success factors which make for a successful digital health partnership
  • Prepare for and protect against risks and pitfalls in key areas such as data management, intellectual property (IP), and patient and payer trust
  • Find out the lessons already learned by front-runners and discover what experts say is most likely to happen next

What to expect from this report

Selecting the right digital health partner is imperative if long term success is to be achieved—however it is clear to all that pharma and tech companies have significantly different ways of working. Knowledge is key, so the insights and opinions shared in Partnering in Digital Health: Pharma and Tech Companies will deepen understanding of the issues and lay out a roadmap of how best to work together to achieve the best results for all parties.

How did we do it?

  • We undertook research to identify 7 pressing issues affecting digital health partnerships today
  • We explored these during in-depth interviews, posing 19 targeted questions to 8 experts
  • We uncovered 66 unique new insights during these detailed discussions
  • Our unique insights are supported by 118 directly quoted comments

Example insight included in Partnering in Digital Health: Pharma and Tech Companies

'When working with tech companies, pharma must keep simplicity in mind. Pharma may need to avoid over-engineered compliance processes by changing standard review and approval processes in light of the urgent necessity to meet the needs of a dynamic and technologically-driven market. However, it is still a priority to comply with regulatory expectations. In addition, the technology at the heart of the partnership must not be overly complicated or sophisticated. Pharma companies must be careful not to be dazzled by the promise of huge opportunities in digital health. At the very least, the technology must work in the market, and there must be evidence of this."

Example quote included in Partnering in Digital Health: Pharma and Tech Companies

"Notable [partnerships] could be two things; they could be those that worked well and those that failed miserably. For example, I have seen many companies failing to do their homework before going into partnering mode. Partnering for the purpose of partnering is not the right thing to do." Anders Dyhr Toft, MD, PhD, eMBA, Corporate VP of Commercial Innovation, Novo Nordisk

The expert panel for Partnering in Digital Health: Pharma and Tech Companies

  • Joris Van Dam is a digital health intrapreneur and currently holds the role of Head of Digital Therapeutics for Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research in the US.
  • Ubavka DeNoble is Chief Commercial Officer for Parexel Informatics and a board-certified medical doctor.
  • Dave Garrell is Partnership Director at MyWay Digital Health, a company that aims to transform diabetes care through implementation of their comprehensive digital self-management platform; until recently, he was also a Health Outcomes Consultant at Sanofi.
  • Vanessa Lemarié was Project Lead for Digital Health at Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Berlin, when interviewed for this report. She is now the Lead of Rare Disease Initiatives and Director of Business Development for Patient Associations and Pharma at Ada Health, a Berlin-based start-up that connects medical knowledge with intelligent technology to help people actively manage their health.
  • Joel Sangerman is the Chief Commercial Officer at Click Therapeutics, Inc. a digital health company that develops and commercialises software as prescription medical treatments for people with unmet medical needs.
  • Anders Dyhr Toft, MD, PhD, eMBA, is a leading innovation executive who joined Novo Nordisk in 2003. He is currently Corporate Vice President, Commercial Innovation, based in the company's Denmark Headquarters.
  • Dr Christian Velten is the Coordinator of Global Digital Strategy at Actelion Pharmaceuticals, Switzerland.
  • Beth Wolff was the Head of Commercial Excellence for the Nordic Cluster at Sandoz when interviewed for this report. She is now the owner and founder of diydigital.

Why buy now?

Compared to the fast-paced, agile and consumer-focused technology sector, pharmaceutical companies can seem slow and overly complex. But for patients, payers and solution providers to all get what they need from the impending boom in digital health, these two very different animals need to find ways to work together productively. This report goes one step closer towards reducing frustration and building understanding so that mutual benefits can be achieved. Neither can make significant strides alone; crafting strong working partnerships is the only way forward.

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