Having partnered with numerous pharma companies around the world, we know a fair bit about building great DTx partnerships at Wellthy. But what makes a truly great partnership? How do you know what to look for in a partner? And what value does it actually drive for pharma?
At Wellthy we know what it takes, and we thought we’d share our playbook on the six simple questions you need to ask yourself to build exceptional DTx Partnerships. Let’s dive in.
(1) Is there any value in Pharma-DTx Partnerships for pharma?
Yes! There are three key areas in which Pharma-DTx partnerships drive great value for pharma companies.
First and foremost, a great Pharma-DTx partnership creates value beyond the pill.
Secondly, driving continuous engagement via personalization. Research shows that patients increasingly trust evidence-based therapeutic interventions, and a DTx partnership will help you to build stronger relationships with your patients.
Finally, improved real world outcomes. The more data you have, the more impact on real world outcomes and reimbursements you can have. This allows you to better align your payer-provider relationships leading to an improved ROI.
Alongside this DTx partnerships open up whole new revenue streams for Life Science companies, whilst prioritising patient engagement and real world outcomes.
(2) Is this a viable space?
Absolutely! Pharma and DTx Partnerships continue to come online all the time, with impressive growth both before, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. From Lilly & Astellas partnering with WellDoc, to Sanofi’s partnerships with Cara Cara, Happify & Glooko, the space is thriving.
HealthXL’s recent report Digital Therapeutics: Routes to Market noted a two fold increase in the number of organizations in Pharma DTx in just 3 years, and whilst commercial models are still being worked upon across the sector, 92% of respondents reported they would be comfortable paying out of pocket for a DTx solution.
71% of the deals in this space are unique or first-time partnerships, while 22% are follow-on deals. Around 20% are pilots, which remain a relatively new phenomenon in the pharma world, but are fairly dominant in other related sectors like healthtech and medical devices.
Deals aside, 152 different studies were published on the validation of Prescription Digital Therapeutics solutions(PDTs), 27% of which are based on Randomized Controlled Trials(RCTs), the gold standard of clinical validation. This clearly outlines clinically validated capabilities of Dtx solutions for future commercialization & scale.
(3) Are we ready for this?
Just because we’ve established that the industry is more than ready for DTx partnerships, doesn’t mean that every pharma company is ready. When we work with new pharma partners, we always make sure we’ve ticked off a few things before we get going.
- Firstly, do you have a digital health strategy in place with real world data/outcomes as a driver, beyond “pilots”? Pilots are great, but unless you can push beyond those to really influence the real world health outcomes, DTx partnerships might not be for you.
The typical structure for this approach is to define the business need. By defining the business need, you can move on to establishing a cross functional business team.
- If you’ve got the strategy, is this strategy communicated and aligned companywide, with alignment from the executive team? From the day one intern to the chairman, everyone needs to be pulling in the same direction for these strategies to work.
- Is there a dedicated, empowered division with a clear mandate for DTx partnerships? If all things digital health go to the corporate strategy teams, have you thought about having a breakout DTx team to really hone the focus?
- What’s your starting point? Have you started with mini-investments in DTx companies or partnerships? Do you see the advantage to doing so, or would it be preferable to go big early?
- Do you have the infrastructure to launch DTx products? Not everyone has this in place, and even those that do, need structure around it. Do you have the right people? The right skill sets? And if you do have these people and skills, are they all in the right place? All of these need to be aligned to make a success of your partnership. One of the key stages here is to has preliminary launch strategy – including target markets, business models, and the launch sequence. Key to any launch, DTx or otherwise is getting your success criteria in order at this stage.
- Are you sure about the therapy areas and unmet needs that a complementary DTx partner could solve for you?
(4) What’s the “right” problem/opportunity?
If you’ve got this far, then you’re on the home straight. We know the industry is ready. We know you’ve got everything you need lined up internally. Now all you need is the right opportunity, and the right strategy to take it to market.
But what is the right problem to solve?
There are thousands of applications for pharma DTx partnerships, from diagnosis to treatment penetration. At Wellthy, we’ve segmented them into three key areas.
1. Portfolio Level
Creating diagnostic and treatment eligibility solutions to allow identification of high risk patients, and providing confidence to HCP’s when prescribing complex drugs.
2. Product Level
Developing DTx tools that improve QoL improves clinical usage.
3. Incremental Revenue
What net price are you aiming for? In one Asian market, a DTx companion solution + device was priced 30% higher as compared to standalone drug based competitors.
(5) Who’s the right DTx partner? What should pharma companies be looking for in a DTx partnership?
With so many DTx companies out there, it can be hard to know how to segment them and find the right partner. HealthXL have created a great at-a-glance matrix to help, but there are other factors to consider when taking on a partner.
Before launching your search, you’ll want to have the following criteria in mind:
- Is the DTx solving (or is it capable of solving) a problem you’ve prioritized? Does it have a track record in the same, or similar, areas?
- In case you want to own IP / co-create IP, is this in the DTx co’s core capability set?
- Is the DTx company able to reduce your risk to market, time to market, cost to market?
- Does the DTx company have commercialization experience to help you launch a DTx ?
- Does the DTx co understand that every partnership is unique?
- Is your goal and the DTx company goal aligned with willingness to share risk?
- Are you sure that you would rather invest $” X” m into this DTx company/partnership vs:
- Predictable but declining drug development, or
- Predictable but lower ROI marketing of my brand
(6) What’s the right go-to-market strategy?
OK, so you’ve decided you’re ready, you’ve got a problem to solve, and you’ve found a great partner. But we still need to turn these elements into a successful partnership – and that’s where a roadmap comes in.
To simplify the minefield that is G2M strategy, we think it’s best to see the market through simple lens by condensing it down to the three core options in Pharma-DTx Partnerships
- Pharma Owned Distribution
Our DTx platform creates and helps commercialize regulatory compliant, Software as a Medical Device (SaMD) digital health solutions – enabling pharma companies to deploy and scale these solutions, accelerating time to market, while minimizing risk and cost.
With a proven track record in Cardiology, Women’s Health, Diabetes, Pulmonology & Select Rare Diseases, we’ve impacted over 100,000 patients, and generated 10s of millions of RWE data points. In Europe, we’ve partnered with a leading pharmaceutical company and co-create and commercialize a CE-marked, prescription digital therapeutic product for cardio-pulmonary rare diseases.
If you would like to know more about the success we’ve had in DTx partnerships, or you’re interested in finding out more about how Wellthy is currently working with pharma companies, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or by filling out at https://www.wellthytherapeutics.com/live-demo/.