Evolving clinical development and lifecycle planning through human-centered co‑creation

How empathetic exploration transformed drug development strategy




Patient journey

Disease journey  


Our client, a global biotech focused on neurology, achieved early stage success in the development of a novel treatment for a serious neuropsychiatric disorder that impacts millions globally and was starting to design its Phase 3 trial program. As a potential new entrant into the space, little was understood internally about practical treatment experience and what would be required to achieve commercial success. Complicating the challenge, each country had its own unique treatment paradigm and approach linked to cultural norms and healthcare system design. Achieving patient impact at scale would require more than just meeting an efficacy endpoint.


Build Empathy

From the start, we designed our approach to rapidly build empathetic understanding of the disease area across the fast growing client team, and to integrate experiential needs into the trial design so that any solution would fit within country-specific treatment approaches.

Generate Market Archetypes

We identified a variety of market archetypes reflective of how different European, Asian, South American and North American healthcare systems approached treatment and management of the disease, and selected representative markets to conduct co-creative research. We rapidly developed a generic baseline patient experience and treatment journey and collected physician, patient and payer input from our selected countries to refine the model for their countries.

Co-create to Internalize

We conducted a range of tailored co-creative exploratory workshops where we brought in physicians, patients, their caregivers, nurses, patient advocacy representatives and other key stakeholders to further iterate and refine understanding of the current experience with our clients in the room. Building on that more accurate current experience, we then shared a profile of the potential new treatment option and explored how it might change the disease management in the future, identifying barriers, enablers, and proof points that each of the stakeholders would want to see in order for the treatment to be adopted.

Insights for Impact

After conducting this process in a half dozen countries, we aggregated insights into overarching needs that existed across all healthcare systems, and system-specific needs. Finally, we worked with our client’s development and medical team to refine clinical trial design, endpoints and protocols to meet the needs of the stakeholders.

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Rapidly tailored clinical development

Over the course of 12 weeks, we transformed our client’s understanding of the disease area and substantially updated their approach to clinical trial design.

Alignment for ongoing activities

The co-creative experience built team alignment and understanding of the practical hurdles that must be overcome to change the treatment paradigm in different markets and led to revised company medical and commercial priorities. The disease journey and patient journey frameworks developed through the co-creation became foundational elements for the company’s strategic planning efforts and also changed perspectives on lifecycle priorities.

Resources for Team Development

Additionally, resources developed during the engagement became core onboarding materials for new members of the team.

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