Design Launch Strategy for Oncology Treatment with Companion Diagnostic


An oncology-focused biopharma brought us in prior to the launch of its first-in-class targeted therapy for a rare cancer to provide strategic guidance, help organize the launch plan and budget, and integrate the individual tactical plans from its agencies and other external partners into a cohesive marketing communications system. In addition to a tight timeframe and a 2-person brand team, the launch had the added complexity of partnering with the company that developed and marketed the companion diagnostic (CDx) that identified the gene mutation targeted by our client’s therapy.


At Health Accelerators we flex to support the unique needs of each client. In this case we quickly digested existing clinical, customer and competitive research to identify opportunities for positioning, differentiation, messaging, customer experience and serving unmet needs. Being first in class also enabled our client to set up the treatment paradigm and lexicon for this new category of targeted therapies across academic and community practice settings. We initially organized and ran an all-agency kickoff session to ensure alignment on goals, KPIs and strategies, and drove an accelerated annual planning process to ensure that the client met her internal milestones for planning, budgeting and executive reviews and approvals.

Once the integrated launch plan was approved, we shifted gears to help our client align tactical deliverables and hold internal and external partners accountable. We divided the calendar year into three phases: Launch Readiness that consisted primarily of external disease education, CDx testing education, clinical data dissemination and internal launch content and infrastructure development; Product Launch with no in-class competitors that included rolling out an integrated branded promotional ecosystem; and Competitive Launch that systematically blunted other in-class treatments as they received FDA approvals. This phased approach enabled the small launch team to focus on manageable goals, communications alignment and key deliverables for 3-4 months at a time without becoming overwhelmed.


As the practice of medicine — particularly in Oncology —  continues to pivot toward more targeted treatments that rely on companion diagnostic tests, new product launches require a higher level of thinking, planning, alignment, integration and execution. And while the scale of the teams, budgets and programs may be low, the impact of these therapies on a small but important number of patients can be literally life-changing.

With so much at stake for a biopharma product launch, our client wisely collaborated with seasoned experts from Health Accelerators who were able to immediately start to organize and tame the inherent chaos that launches can induce, particularly in small to mid-sized biopharmas that may not have the institutional knowledge or infrastructure required. Each external partner our client hired was skilled at a particular task, however we provided an overall vision and proven approach to help her achieve her company’s financial goals and realize her brand’s potential using an integrated marketing system.