Building Disease Area strategy around patient unmet need

How to overcome divergent stakeholder opinions in strategy development through a co-creative, patient-centric approach


Pipeline Assessment

Strategy Development

Strategic Narrative


Our client, a global therapeutic leader with declining market-share and a fragmented pipeline due to missed development targets, had aggressively invested into a highly diverse range of scientific hypotheses but was facing challenges mapping and comparing opportunities and strategic implications. The core team had proactively invested in market research to better understand the different patient and healthcare provider needs across indications, but cross-functional partners were resistant to engage due to fall-out from prior strategic planning, and senior leadership had flagged some doubts regarding ongoing investment. Establishing a shared vision across stakeholders would require authentic engagement while building clarity regarding both the big picture and the small details.


Rapidly Build Leadership Confidence

Within weeks of project kick-off, there was an opportunity to engage senior leadership and address major questions across the program. We worked with the team to transform the engagement from an inform to a more co-creative approach, giving opportunity for senior stakeholders to share their perspectives, which led to endorsing increased ambitions regarding the strategy refresh.

Active Readouts, Iterative Prioritization

From project kick-off, the core team was overwhelmed with almost weekly market research readouts from over 5 different stakeholder groups, spanning 7 indications, and faced pressure from internal partners concerned about engagement due to prior experiences. To combat being overwhelmed while maximizing engagement, Coactuate generated a range of different frameworks to actively capture, synthesize insights, while exploring prioritization from different stakeholder perspectives. Taking a highly iterative approach encouraged critical reflection from stakeholders whose perspectives had previously not been considered, while building a broader understanding of the therapeutic landscape.

Comprehensive Co-creation for Aligned Position

When preparing for co-creation of the Disease Area strategy, well-informed alignment had emerged as a critical priority which raised the need for a comprehensive pre-read and methodical walk through of all strategic topics. Project leadership opened with vulnerability and provided space for input towards every aspect of the strategy, including honest discussion about a realistic but ambitious vision and the commitments required for success. Cross-functional groups were able to critically engage in a broad range of strategic topics, iteratively building awareness and trust of one another’s perspectives. In the final prioritization of opportunities, shared frameworks tied to senior leadership goals allowed the diverse stakeholders to achieve an aligned understanding of the options. The emphasis on trust building and knowledge sharing led to a strong strategic position that balanced early and late stage development with commercial goals.

Strategy, Heavy on Narrative

In the final strategy, we included a robust narrative that emphasized the high patient unmet need within the targeted disease areas and cross-functional rationale for proposed strategic directions. Four distinct recommendations were put forward that balanced near-term immediate needs with long-term aspiration, and a path to developing a franchise to leverage cross-functional capabilities. Senior leadership was surprised to see re-prioritization of the pipeline against deep patient and HCP unmet needs that shifted internal assumptions regarding perceptions of value.

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Strong Leadership Endorsement

All recommendations were endorsed by senior leadership, kicking off proactive planning for late stage clinical development. The renewed commitment to the therapeutic area triggered initiatives to build internal awareness and support while celebrating the cross-functional activities.

Invigorated Pipeline

Alignment on priority indications enabled rapid reallocation of resources for a previously overlooked near-term opportunity. The restructured pipeline, mapped to clinical unmet needs, clarified how multiple targets within indications could yield differentiated value propositions.

Increased Collaboration

Several previously hostile stakeholders launched cross-functional initiatives to increase collaboration. Perceptions of competition now addressed through a deeper understanding of unmet needs, shifted towards knowledge sharing and cross-pollination of clinical development plans. This increased partnership was a key driver of success for the new franchise.

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