Product Launch Excellence: Perspective from Industry Leaders

By Eduardo Schur and Justin Zamirowski

For biotechnology and emerging pharmaceutical companies, the transition from research and development to commercialization represents an organization’s most disruptive event. 

To shed light on the complexity involved for a company to bring its first product to market,five industry experts participated in a panel to provide guidance on launch best practices: Dan Brennan, chief commercial officer for Catalyst Pharmaceuticals; Thomas Gibbs, SVP and Chief Commercial Officer for Sunovion; Eduardo Schur, Life Sciences practice lead for Guidehouse; Riley Smith, former J&J Global Strategy and Business Transformation Leader; and, Justin Zamirowski, Launch Excellence Practice lead for Life Sciences at Guidehouse.

In this forum, the panelists discussed a range of topics, digging deep into the “critical success factors” for achieving launch objectives, how to best prepare for launch as a company moves from a development to a commercial orientation, and the organizational intricacies involved in navigating this important inflection point for biotechs and emerging pharmas. Panelists included lessons learned from past launches, and shared results from a Guidehouse analysis of the market fates of products launched between 2011-2018.

Approximately 30% of approved products exceeded forecasted expectations, but 60% underperformed to some degree in their initial years post-launch, according to Guidehouse analysis of 104 U.S. Launch Products from 2011-2015. Retail products fared worse than specialty and hospital ones. Of these, a majority of the therapies that achieved similarly to or exceeded expectations were in oncology, whereas a large portion of the underperformers were in cardiovascular or immunology.

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