Our profile of the pharma/biotech industry is built on our own market research and experience working with companies in these industries. Inmagic pharmaceutical and biotechnology customers include AstraZeneca, Cephalon, Pfizer, and Solvay Pharmaceuticals.
Here's a page from our notes from working with these organizations. We've distilled the key points and lessons learned to help other professionals in these industries understand how Social Knowledge Networks can apply to their business, and see how their peers are using them to reach their objectives surrounding product innovation and development, cost reduction, and regulatory compliance.
Pharma and Biotech's Knowledge Management Needs
Pharma and biotech companies are largely focused on three goals: One, achieve/maintain technological and market leadership; two, compress R&D timelines and regulatory approval cycles; and three, accelerate product speed-to-market. Knowledge management is key to achieving all of these.
Pharma and biotech companies amass large volumes of dynamic R&D and market research data. How effectively researchers utilize this information affects the success and timing of their innovation processes. Innovation is the lifeblood of this industry. The capture, management, access, sharing, collaboration, and socializing of product and market data underlies a company's success.
Most organizations are comprised of geographically dispersed offices, labs, and manufacturing facilities. All information contained across these locations must be coordinated and shared so the company can leverage the data to foster innovation.
Cost-cutting initiatives are rampant in pharma and biotech. President Obama's health care reform will require pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to reassess their budgets and find ways to cut costs to maintain profitability, as the prices they charge for their products will inevitably decrease.
Improving productivity is also a hot topic due to the enormous pressure to cut costs. Because R&D is one of the largest operating expenses among pharmaceutical and biotech companies, any efficiency gained in the R&D process directly contributes to corporate profitability.
Funding for pharmaceutical and biotech research is often provided by venture capitalists hoping to cash in on new products. The profitability of individual companies depends on the discovery and effective marketing of new products. Because the market for potential products is so large, small biotechnology companies can co-exist successfully with large ones if they have expertise in a particular line of research.
Collaborating on pre-competitive efforts have been limited in biomedical research, where researchers often find it difficult to openly share data within their own organization, much less with competitors. Working together and sharing information and costs can significantly improve performance, but only when such efforts make use of best practices and lessons learned from existing projects.
Where Social Knowledge Networks Come In
Leveraging the vast, dispersed collection of R&D data to foster innovation and reduce costs is key to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies' success. Using Social Knowledge Networks, scientists, technicians, and executives can share data, findings, opinions, and expertise to collaborate and streamline the research and development process.
Social Knowledge Networks let companies maximize knowledge capture and reuse within the organization, fostering innovative approaches to improving technologies, processes, and products.
Let's look at one of our global pharmaceutical customers as an example. We're redacting their name, because we don't have permission to use it on the blog. If our client gives us permission, we'll update our post and let you know who it is.
This firm is a highly decentralized organization, with geographically dispersed offices, laboratories, and plants. Much of its research and product data was housed in data silos whose segregation impeded the access and sharing of information. Like most pharmaceutical companies, R&D is one of the company's largest operating expenses. Any efficiency gained in the R&D process would directly contribute to corporate profitability.
With the existing data management system, researchers were limited in their ability to effectively access and share research and development data across geographies, presenting obstacles to innovation and leading to cost duplication.
The company used Presto to create a Social Knowledge Network to gather data from its dispersed locations, and organize it logically for quick access using an easy, powerful, web-based interface. Presto is now the company's primary point of contact for product information.
With Presto features such as blogs, ratings, and tag clouds, the company can provide secure two-way information sharing and data rankings. This extends the use of valuable medical materials, leading to more efficient product promotion, improved organizational productivity, and ultimately, optimal patient health management.
We detailed our customer's story more in a case study, which I'll refer you to rather than reiterate their entire experience here. The case study is in PDF format, which you can download and share with peers.
This company's experience is not an isolated case. Our pharmaceutical and biotech customers have told us about similar benefits they're finding since implementing a Social Knowledge Network. Here are some of them:
- Improve collaboration and streamline the R&D process
- Foster innovation
- Improve productivity for scientists and researchers
- Provide accurate and timely information access
- Provide secure repository for sensitive product information
- Reap cost savings from productivity gains
- Extend use of valuable research material
- Enable self-service user access for documents within the user's access level
If you have questions (which I'm sure you do!), always feel free to drop us a line. The Inmagic team and I are happy to walk you through Social Knowledge Networks and Presto, and help you understand how you can use it in your organization.