Case Studies

Taking the long view on digital health data

Laying the infrastructure for digital biomarkers.

Problem

A leading pharmaceutical was looking at the year ahead and reflected on what’s next for digital health. Following 10 years of pilots and investments — and a handful of big tech partnerships — questions remained. The problem to be solved was bigger than a single partnership or app: How could the promise of digital help the company inform drug development, recruit for trials, improve patient health, connect with physicians, and create value for payors?

Context

The emergence of low-cost sensors and proliferation of connected devices has generated a new class of data with the potential to transform life sciences. From clicking on an ad to checking social media to tracking our heart rate with a smartwatch — our data has the potential to identify, predict, or manage disease more effectively. And yet, very few pharmaceuticals are well-positioned to take advantage of non-traditional data in the same way they look at claims data or clinical trial data. Companies must lay the foundation for a new class of information by deciding who’s responsible for it, how it’s accessed, and how it powers innovation within the organization.

Solution: Foundational Roadmap

The company had convened a multi-disciplinary group to identify key pain points where technology could play a role. After conducting research and interviews, we identified an opportunity larger than a single app or a tech partnership. The bigger win was to lay the foundation for this organization’s ability to deal with a new class of information. Informed by conversations with tech partners, subject matter experts, and our in-house expertise, we produced an investment thesis, ownership structure, and first-year roadmap for an enterprise-wide digital biomarker initiative. The agile, quarter-by-quarter plan provided stage gates for building a common knowledge base, conducting rapid learning exercises and pilots, identifying partnership models for future engagements, and preparing for a public announcement. Small wins along the way would demonstrate value to the organization, contribute back to the knowledge base, and solidify commitment for longer-term investments.


Photo by Crew on Unsplash

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