Idorsia: From Greenfield to Launch-Ready in Just 12 Months

Emerging biopharma companies face a high-stakes gamble when preparing for a drug launch, but the odds can quickly move in their favor. Long before field teams are in place, the most agile companies are improving effectiveness by focusing on core teams and infrastructure, and getting the approach right for first-to-launch markets.

A former division of Actelion, Idorsia combines a long track record in R&D with a relative newcomer status in commercial, an area it entered only 18 months ago. As it got closer to the launch of its drug QUVIVIQ (daridorexant), the company knew that it would need to scale its approach quickly and effectively across multiple markets. With no legacy technology in its commercial environment to consider, and some key business hires yet to join, Idorsia faced the challenge of a blank canvas — and a ticking clock.

Idorsia Pharmaceuticals shares its advice on achieving launch excellence

Medical paves the way

Focusing on the needs of a core team makes it possible to mobilize earlier and quicker during the pre-launch phase. Given medical is first in the field and a key source of insight for sales and marketing, the Idorsia market access team prioritized getting Veeva Vault MedComms up and running and ensuring medical field teams had access to relevant digital content.

Bas Van de Kamp, director of medical affairs systems at Idorsia, points out: “Medical is first to hit your customers, and they pave the way for sales and marketing straight afterward. The medical content and scientific teams pushed out content quickly and compliantly so that medical science liaisons (MSLs) could use them during conversations with their stakeholders.”

As field would soon start talking to the same customers, Idorsia had to eliminate the risk that these teams might accidentally select non-compliant commercial content. Veeva Vault PromoMats came online two months later. As Van de Kamp explains, “We chose to use both Vault MedComms and Vault PromoMats during launch to get medical and promotional content out in a compliant way and ensure that crossover never happens.”

It’s easier to achieve consistency across functions when teams use the same platform and can access relevant customer information. “We are a digital company and believe that digital content will save us time and money, and is more attractive to healthcare professionals (HCPs) and key opinion leaders (KOLs),” Van de Kamp adds. “The streamlined process available to us in Vault MedComms and PromoMats means we can sustain the high volume of compliant content required for a competitive launch.”

Getting a strong core in place

Idorsia’s commercial team quickly faced an urgent choice over the timing of its CRM implementation: it could either introduce technology without input from the business or wait until key hires had joined to make decisions.

With no legacy infrastructure to hold it back, Idorsia went ahead and introduced core Veeva CRM technology, including a subscription to OpenData, with limited business input. The decision meant that “we got the best technology available and then fine-tuned once new hires were in place,” says Baptiste Omont, senior director of commercial and medical systems.

An end-to-end strategy requires more planning upfront but pays dividends later. Idorsia’s access to integrated customer reference data, combined with a platform approach to content creation and delivery, supported launch excellence. “Having Vault PromoMats and Vault MedComms to support content creation, and Veeva CRM to execute fully compliantly, means we can focus on what makes sense for the business and the patient,” concludes Van de Kamp.

By adhering to a launch strategy that is 80% core and 20% local, Idorsia also avoided the pitfall of excessive customization in each market. The company scaled rapidly by starting with a simultaneous launch in Japan and the U.S. before later going live in Europe following adaptations for France and the U.K. As Omont notes, “Our mantra was as global as possible, as local as necessary.”

Lifting off after launch

Each phase of a launch provides a chance to learn and improve if there is a systematic approach to data collection. Knowing which digital content and websites medical teams use (and for how long) can help sales and marketing be more effective. Adopting a mostly global approach ensures that regional teams benefit from insights as they later localize for their markets. Having the right KPIs to assess field performance strengthens future launch initiatives.

Omont concludes: “Thanks to our partnership with Veeva — which started soon after Idorsia was founded — consistent technology has never been a question for us. This has allowed us to be cost-effective and focus on launch success.”

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