New analytics improve pharmaco strategic decision-making for some deadly diseases

New analytics improve pharmaco strategic decision-making for some deadly diseases

ZS analyzes impact of game-changing treatments in multiple myeloma, shows increase in patient life expectancy

EVANSTON, Ill. — Aug. 5, 2015 — Innovative therapies that transform quickly progressing, deadly diseases –  such as some blood cancers – into manageable, chronic conditions offer great hope for improved patient survival. At the same time, however, they present pharmaceutical companies with unusual drug development and marketing challenges: How to make R&D and marketing decisions based on a patient population with rapidly improving outcomes?

Now, new methods of collecting and analyzing complex clinical, demographic and business data related to dramatic changes in patient survival allow pharmaco executives to better predict the patient population sizes for these diseases.  Further, these analytics enable manufacturers to develop proper clinical and commercial strategies — both short-term and long-term.

"New therapies present great hope for patients. But the pharmaco's traditional analytical approaches often fail to account for significant transformations taking place in the treatments of some diseases," said Nisha Gilra, principal at global sales and marketing firm ZS. "In these areas of transformative therapy — where survival rates can increase dramatically over short periods of time — we must not predict the future based solely on survival data from the recent past."

Gilra is co-author of "Impact of Novel Therapies on Multiple Myeloma Survival," a study presented at the 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. The study was conducted by ZS and a team that included Dr. Brian Durie, chairman of the International Myeloma Foundation and practicing oncologist at Cedars-Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center.

This study cites multiple myeloma, a blood cancer formed by malignant plasma cells, as a disease demanding a new approach to patient analytics. From 1990-2001, multiple myeloma patients were expected to live about 30 months after a diagnosis. By 2006, novel therapies had transformed this once rapidly progressing cancer into a chronic condition for many patients. By 2008, multiple myeloma patients lived about 43 months after a diagnosis.

Using ZS's new approach, the study predicts that the future survival rate will extend to six years by 2022. This represents a 67 percent improvement compared to 2008 and a 140 percent improvement compared to 2000.

"Without proper insight into the effects of these novel therapies and the potential future survival outcomes, the multiple myeloma community can significantly underestimate the opportunity to address both the short-term and long-term needs of its patients," said Gilra.

ZS's novel approach to estimate future survival outcomes analyzes data from a wide range of sources, including patient demographics, clinical trials, cancer registries and expert physician opinion.

"Errors in market forecasting for these remarkable, yet narrowly focused therapies can have a significant, detrimental trickledown effect on the decisions that follow – from the viability of additional clinical trials, to go-to-market strategy, to patient support programs," said ZS Managing Principal Pratap Khedkar, leader of the firm's global pharmaceuticals practice. "Pharmaceutical executives must fundamentally rethink the analytics that support the decisions behind therapies that turn terminal illnesses into chronic conditions."

To read more on ZS's multiple myeloma study, view the abstract as featured at the 2015 ASCO Annual Meeting or the poster, "Impact of Novel Therapies on Multiple Myeloma Survival – Current and Future Outcomes," as published at the 20th Congress of the European Hematology Association.

About ZS

ZS is the world's largest firm focused exclusively on improving business performance through sales and marketing solutions, from customer insights and strategy to analytics, operations and technology. More than 4,000 ZS professionals in 21 offices worldwide draw on deep industry and domain expertise to deliver impact where it matters for clients across multiple industries. To learn more, visit or follow us on Twitter (@ZSAssociates) and LinkedIn.