Biopharma Leaders Pioneering a Digital-First Future for Commercial

This past year, commercial leaders moved away from standard field tactics and broke through the limits set by COVID-19. Risking tradition to move the needle, they went all-in on digital and laid the groundwork for more efficient commercial operations and impactful field engagement.

At this year’s Veeva Commercial and Medical Summit, North America, we recognized the achievements of nine heroes from enterprise to emerging pharma who are having a significant impact on the industry and within their organizations. Each is empowering the use of advanced analytics and digital platforms to raise the standard for how sales reps, medical science liaisons (MSL), and marketers interact with and support healthcare professionals (HCP), key opinion leaders (KOL), and patients. Here are their stories.

Marz Abdulrahman
Marz Abdulrahman
Executive Director, Customer Business Solutions, Boehringer Ingelheim

Reshaping HCP and industry relationships with digital pull channels

Marz did more than adapt to the accelerated shift to digital—he championed the use of new virtual channels, reinforcing their adoption to find innovative ways to engage with HCPs and lead the charge toward a hybrid future.

Setting an example for the industry, Marz led the early adoption of MyVeeva for Doctors, making Boehringer Ingelheim the first enterprise company to go live with two-way communications between HCPs and pharma. His dedication to improving HCPs’ day-to-day lives is setting the standard for more effective engagement. Now, HCPs are reaching out to sales reps when and how they want, giving doctors a chance to start the conversation. His passion for innovation also led him to introduce Veeva CRM Engage Meeting to over 2,200 field reps, making Boehringer Ingelheim the first customer to deliver remote sampling across their global sales force.

Marz’s commitment to never settle, strong partnership across teams, and seamless execution continue to advance the industry forward. “Marz is a hugely capable individual who is not satisfied by the status quo and leads his teams in the same way,” said Tim Schmidt, vice president of sales at Boehringer Ingelheim. “Whether that customer is an internal colleague, field rep, or industry partner, Marz does whatever it takes to deliver.”

Nadia Mills
Nadia Mills
Global Director, Omnichannel Medical, Novartis

Driving more effective scientific relationships worldwide

At the start of the pandemic, not everyone was comfortable with the transition towards hybrid engagement. Nadia foresaw the value of digital and understood the importance of introducing change at the field level to streamline new ways of working with scientific leaders.

Taking a proactive approach amid uncertainty, Nadia drove the adoption of Veeva Link across Novartis’ medical business to make field engagement more impactful despite being remote. Her focus on making the implementation as valuable for KOLs and MSLs as possible, and determination to challenge the status quo, enabled her team to increase engagements during the pandemic. And within a year, she rolled out digital capabilities globally.

Colleagues have praised her commitment to excellence and customer focus, making this one of the most seamless implementations to date. “We are grateful for Nadia’s recognition as a Veeva Hero,” said Alexis Burkhardt, global head of data and digital at Novartis Oncology. “The effectiveness of the Veeva Link rollout clearly came from how close Nadia and Veeva have been working—a true model of partnership.”

Alvin Coleman
Alvin Coleman
Senior Director, Information Technology, G1 Therapeutics

Harmonizing systems for seamless information exchange

As an emerging company bringing a new oral therapy to market, tracking and improving field performance was critical to powering G1 Therapeutics’ first launch. Partnering with an external field team, G1 Therapeutics needed ways to quickly share information between companies to review sales activity in real time.

Always one step ahead, Alvin foresaw patient identification as a challenge in this highly integrated environment and understood how predictive analytics could be used to identify the right patients and HCPs. His forward-thinking vision and extensive expertise in managing data platforms across enterprise and emerging pharma led him to implement Veeva Nitro as their commercial analytics platform. His team is now able to exchange, track, and report data surrounding rep activity weekly, speeding information to HCPs treating patients in need of their product.

Alvin’s ability to rally a team of experts together and identify key resources to harmonize complex data systems was pivotal to their success. According to David Elks, vice president of information technology at G1 Therapeutics, “Alvin helped ensure the successful launch of our first marketed product by leading the implementation of critical Veeva commercial services for G1.”

Kate Thota
Kate Thota
Senior Director, Innovation and Commercial Effectiveness, Sobi

Pushing boundaries for more meaningful, hybrid interactions

While many life sciences companies lacked the infrastructure to embrace the new virtual engagement model, Kate saw a long-term opportunity and recognized the value of empowering Sobi and the industry to engage digitally.

Kate took initiative to break tradition by advocating for a fully digital and hybrid engagement model for 300 reps across several brands with the help of Veeva Digital Events. Her ability to understand and balance strategic objectives with operational excellence also helped Sobi become an early adopter of MyVeeva for Doctors, improving how HCPs get information from pharma and strengthening partnerships across the industry.

“Kate is truly an inspirational leader who exemplifies and encourages innovation across Sobi,” said Brittany Petrino, senior manager of customer and field enablement at Sobi. “She has continued to push the boundaries of digital growth by pioneering a dynamic and scalable digital strategy within the organization.”

Laura Mondragón-Drumright
Laura Mondragón-Drumright
Director, Digital Engagement
Senthil Kumar Purushothaman
Senthil Kumar Purushothaman
Principal, Digital Analytics, Experience Operations Genentech

Setting a new digital foundation for consumer campaigns

The healthcare media landscape has completely reshaped itself in the last year. And with a new mix of channels making their way to the fore, Laura and Senthil knew early on advanced analytics were needed to target key audiences across the most relevant channels and strengthen future media campaigns.

Moving from an HCP-only focused organization to one launching in the extremely competitive direct-to-consumer categories of multiple sclerosis and oncology, Genentech needed a complete picture of performance to determine true media impact. Laura’s ambition to bring life-changing treatments to patients faster pushed her to raise the bar of measurement and optimization, bringing in Crossix DIFA to reach more patients. And as Senthil transitioned in on the project, his ability to unify cross-functional teams and eliminate silos equipped marketers with the right foundation for growth.

Their courage to challenge traditional marketing standards is what continues to place Genentech as a leader in the healthcare media landscape. “Laura and Senthil’s thoughtful approach to implementing Crossix at Genentech enhanced our ability to plan, execute, and smartly evolve our media plans,” said Amy Lattof, principal of paid media and social at Genentech. “We can credit much of our impact to their leadership and guidance.”

Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
Executive Director Commercial Technology, USA
Sue Sikora
Sue Sikora
Director, Data Management and Reporting Organon

Speed and focus enable field success

Starting fresh from its spinoff from Merck, Organon required more than a simple lift and shift model. Sue and Chris recognized the importance of speed, scalability, and simplicity to sustain long-term success as an emerging company and decided to implement a greenfield commercial solution.

Their ability to move away from traditional ways of thinking, drive the use of new tools that could scale with their business, and align teams amid a culture shift enabled them to execute their move to a digital commercial setup in under seven months. With Veeva Commercial Cloud as the technology foundation, they streamlined U.S. operations, reduced overhead, and eliminated inefficiencies, ultimately completing the transition three weeks ahead of schedule.

“Sue and Chris worked tirelessly to launch our end-to-end commercial solution, exceeding expectations and beating a very aggressive timeline,” said colleague Roger Tappan, head of U.S. commercial operations at Organon. “Our success would not have been possible without their leadership and our strong partnership with Veeva.”

Danielle Barry
Danielle Barry
Associate Director, Field Services, Jazz Pharmaceuticals

Paving the way for fully hybrid events management

A fearless champion for change, Danielle understood early on that Jazz Pharmaceuticals needed new ways to deliver speaker events remotely to stay competitive in the post-COVID future.

Leading the industry toward a new era of events management, Danielle led Jazz Pharmaceuticals to optimize its events ecosystem to a fully virtual and hybrid strategy with Veeva Digital Events and Veeva Events Management Services. Her commitment to streamline processes, strong cross-functional collaboration, and advocacy for innovation enabled the company to implement a complete events management and services solution in under four months. Ultimately, modernizing 1,500 speaker programs for five brands across different therapeutic areas.

Under Danielle’s guidance, the teams’ quick buy-in on digital is introducing more efficient events management. “The Veeva CRM Events Management implementation would not have been possible without Danielle’s strong leadership,” said Aarthi Sampath, senior manager of IT commercial systems at Jazz Pharmaceuticals. “She brought the entire cross-functional team together to ensure that the various business and technology aspects of the project were thoughtfully addressed to ensure a successful launch.”

For more insights into how life sciences companies are powering a digital-first foundation for the future, read highlights from Veeva Commercial and Medical Summit.