Top 10 most notable expert requests for October 2020

Written by Maddie Gouldstone, Associate Project Manager, 3 November 2020

Youd think that as the year is winding down, our customers would be doing the same but it’s the complete opposite. In fact, October was a record-breaking month for customer and expert connections! From a consultancy engaging with orphan drugs market access experts to penetrate the Balkans and Latin American markets to a  communications agency using primary insights from infectious disease specialists to enhance their marketing strategy, discover the top 10 most notable expert requests for October 2020 below. 

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1. Biotechnology company’s product investigation boosted with payers’ expertise 

A biotechnology company investigating the treatment of Rett syndrome asked us to connect them with US payers to gain a better understanding of the landscape. Rett syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that affects brain development and causes severe physical and mental disability from early childhood, mainly girls. 

The payers needed to: 

  • Hold a senior position such as Pharmacy/Medical Director at a managed care organization. 
  • Cover 5+ million lives in their organization.
  • Be part of the formulary decision process within their plan/organization.
  • Be able to speak on how new products within neurology may be accessed and incorporated in their organization's formulary in the future. 

Propelled by precision, speed, and volume, our AI search technology scoured the web for the relevant experts, qualified them, and connected them with the customer. 

The payers who could illuminate on our customer’s topic included a: 

  • Pharmacy Director at a leading provider of health insurance covering 10+ million lives who has over 16 years of experience, and is a voting member on formulary decisions. 
  • Regional Medical Director at a prominent health plan provider covering 5 million lives, who is a consulting member on formulary decisions, and has 10 years of experience. 


2. Orphan drugs market access specialists break down barriers to entry across the Balkans and Latin America 

A healthcare strategy consultancy creating a market access plan for orphan drugs in various countries in the Balkans (countries across Southeastern Europe) and Latin America needed to understand the barriers to entry in these regions to support their end client with a successful launch.  

As such, the consultancy asked us to connect them with orphan drugs market access specialists in 15 countries, including Uruguay, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, and Ecuador. From Albania to Argentina, we connected the customer with the exact subject matter experts they needed from the 15 requested countries. This was made possible by our Crawler. 

Developed by our tech team, the Crawler is a computer program that scans the far corners of the web, reading and indexing everything it finds to produce high-quality, data-backed expert profiles.  

Interestingly, for the 10 projects included in this blog post, we connected our customers with experts from 22 countries. Since the beginning of the year, that number increases to 62 countries! An map of the globe with countries highlighted in blue

This map highlights the range of countries our AI-sourced and connected our customers with since the beginning of 2020. 


The orphan drugs market access specialists our Crawler sourced for the customer to engage with included a: 

  • Head of Regulatory Affairs and Market Access who has worked at some of the world’s biggest pharma companies, and whose therapeutic areas include hematology, oncology, hemophilia, and immunology.
  • Market Access and Public Affairs Manager with over 10 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry who is also an Assistant Professor, and author of 22 papers (two focusing on orphan drugs in their region). 


3. Glioblastoma KOLs supplement market research 

 A life sciences consulting firm doing market research on glioblastoma needed to connect with key opinion leaders (KOLs) experienced in treating the condition to help further their strategy. Glioblastoma, also known as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), is an aggressive type of cancer that can occur in the brain or spinal cord. 

The customer needed to conduct qualitative interviews with KOLs based in the US and EU5 (Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and the UK) who: 

  • Have a high patient volume. 
  • Spend 25-75% of their time in direct patient care and at least 10% performing academic functions.
  • Do at least three of the below KOL activities 
    • Led, chaired, or spoken at a national conference within the last three years.  
    • Published peer-reviewed research. 
    • Currently, advise on national procedures or guidelines.   
    • Current officer or director of an organization related to GBM.  
    • Prior or current head of or principal investigator in GBM clinical research teams or studies.   

 Most panel vendors who rely on preassembled lists of experts struggle with this kind of specificity but our AI relishes it. Fuelled by machine learning, it’s trained to search for subject matter experts who match a customer’s requirements with pinpoint precision.  

Some of the KOLs our AI identified for the customer, enabling them to get the GBM insights they needed included: 

  • A Clinical Director of a Neuro-Oncology Program who is also an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Oncology Division, author of 16 scientific publications on GBM, and been Principal Investigator in four GBM clinical trials. 
  • An Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics who is also a Medical Director of a Centre for Neuro-Oncology, been the principal investigator in five GBM clinical trials, and authored 22 scientific publications on GBM. 


4. Gene therapies project spurred on with specialist insights 

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a genetic disorder that causes muscle weakness and wasting that primarily affects boys. In recent years, gene therapies have shown great promise in treating the disease. As such, pharma companies are vying to get their gene therapy approved and on the market.   

A consultancy supporting their end client on a quick turnaround project on gene therapies for DMD treatment needed to gain deeper insights on the topic. So, they asked us to connect them with neurologists based in the UK, US, France, and Germany who could share their expertise on the treatment.  

Our tech team has developed a Knowledge Graph that provides an overview of the global knowledge landscape, enabling us to rapidly identify thought leaders in any field. Using the Knowledge Graph, we successfully connected the customer with the neurologists they needed, thus broadening their understanding of gene therapies for DMD treatment and meeting their pressing deadlineOctober 2020 expert requests blog_knowledge graph’s proprietary Knowledge Graph records the relationships between various stakeholders within knowledge exchange, providing a global, real-time overview of the landscape. 


Some of the subject matter experts the customer conducted qualitative interviews with were a: 

  • Director of a Paediatric Neuromuscular Program who also holds the position of Associate Professor of Paediatrics and Neurology, is an investigator on two current DMD clinical trials and has authored 40 papers (7 on DMD). 
  • Professor in a Department of Paediatric Neurology who also leads a research foundation unit that explores treatments on rare genetic diseases has authored over 100 papers (5 on DMD), and is listed as an investigator on four clinical trials. 


5. Marketing strategy elevated with infectious disease specialists’ expertise 

A global healthcare communications agency preparing a marketing strategy for their end client asked us to connect them with infectious disease specialists in Spain and Mexico to supplement their pitch. They particularly needed to engage with experts who could shed light on certain multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs), these are bacteria and other microorganisms that have developed resistance to several antibiotics. 

Harnessing our tech, we connected the customer with the relevant, precision-matched experts they needed, including a: 

  • Critical care specialist who serves as an infection control officer at their institution regularly treats patients who present with multi-drug resistant infections and is an author of a paper investigating the comparison of certain treatments for multi-drug resistant infections. 
  • Chief of a hospital’s Department of Infectious Diseases with 25 years of experience, who has authored over 150 scientific publications on infectious diseases (25 focus on  MDROs and infections), and has been the Principal Investigator for different studies. 


6. CAR-T therapy project strengthened by subject matter experts’ know-how 

A management consulting firm working on a CAR-T therapy project asked us to source them subject matter experts from US hospitals and the US Veterans Affairs (VA) to understand how VA or other federally covered patients are treated and paid for when receiving CAR-T therapy. 

Additionally, the experts had to have hands-on knowledge on topics such as VA CAR-T patient journey and referral patterns, CAR-T product flow, or the journey around shipping, handling, distribution, and treatment reimbursement for VA or other federally covered patients. 

As we mentioned previously, our search technology thrives on precision and accurately sourced experts experienced in VA and CAR-T therapy for the customer to gain insights from. These included a: 

  • Chief Strategy Officer in the US Department of Veterans Affairs, armed with a Master’s degree in Health Care Administration and Management, who is also the VP of Planning and Development for a federal, university-affiliated health system. 
  • Chief Executive Officer at a company that provides interim hospital and health system executive management services who is also a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. 


7. KOLs shed light on treatment of sickle cell disease 

A life sciences consulting firm conducting market research on the treatment of sickle cell disease (SCD) – a group of inherited health conditions that affect the red blood cells – needed to engage with US-based hematologists experienced in the area to supplement their project. The specialists also had to work at an academic center or SCD center of excellence and have authored publications within the last two years on SCD.  


October 2020 expert requests blog_semantic search engine 

The Semantic Search Engine uses criteria from a customer’s project request, such as location, specialization, and affiliation, to find relevant subject matter experts with pinpoint precision. 


Using our Semantic Search Engine, which finds experts based on a customer’s requirements, we sourced precision-matched hematologists who shared their expertise with the customer via tele-depth interviews. 

The specialists the customer gained insights from included: 

  • The Founding Director of a center of excellence in SCD who is also a Professor of Paediatrics and Medicine has been the Principal Investigator in 12 SCD clinical trials and authored 220 scientific publications on SCD. 
  • A Professor of Clinical Medicine and Paediatrics who also holds the position of Director of a Sickle Cell Centre for Adults is the Principal Investigator in four ongoing SCD clinical trials and has authored 100 scientific publications on SCD. 


8. Healthcare strategy enhanced by KOLs’ primary insights 

A healthcare strategy consultancy supporting their end client with a project on transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTR), a rare condition characterized by abnormal build-up of a protein called amyloid in the body's organs and tissues, needed to engage with subject matter experts to support their strategy. The KOLs needed to be: 

  • Based in France, Germany, and Italy. 
  • Neurologists managing ATTR-polyneuropathy (ATTR-PN), this affects the peripheral nervous system (nerves that branch out from the brain and spinal cord).   
  • Cardiologists managing ATTR-cardiomyopathy (ATTR-CM), this impacts the heart. 

And have comprehensive knowledge of the ATTR pipeline and involvement in ATTR-PN and ATTR-CM clinical studies, respectively.  

With precision, speed, and volume at its core, our AI search technology identified the KOLs the customer requested, enabling them to get the hands-on information they needed for their project. 

The customer conducted qualitative interviews with KOLs including a 

  • Cardiologist primarily involved in the diagnosis and treatment of ATTR at a regional amyloid center who has been involved in ATTR-CM clinical studies and co-authored more than 70 publications (13 on ATTR). 
  • Neurologist who divides their time between clinical practice and clinical research has participated in ATTR-PN clinical trials as the Principal Investigator or Sub-Investigator and authored several publications on ATTR. 


9. Consultancy unlocks insights on COVID-19 test billing via expert engagements 

A healthcare strategy consultancy exploring COVID-19 test billing needed to gain insights from US-based specialists who could share their expertise on the topic. The customer specifically wanted us to connect them with experts responsible for organizing or overseeing COVID testing in their organizations, whose organizations have a specific policy towards COVID testing, and who could share their knowledge about how COVID testing within their organization is covered/paid/reimbursed. 

Using the criteria supplied by the customer, our AI went on the hunt for the specified specialists and swiftly returned vetted profiles. By engaging with the experts identified by our AI, the customer was able to unlock the insights they needed on COVID-19 test billing. Some of the experts they connected with were a: 

  • Human Resources Manager at a world-class biomedical and genomic research center who plays a key role in their institution’s COVID task force which performs a range of activities, such as managing contact tracing, swabbing, and data. 
  • Director of Safety and Security at a global hospitality company who is responsible for organizing COVID testing, and whose role includes contact tracing, and the coordination of billing alongside the accounting team. 

10. Downstream processing experts support market research with hands-on insights 

Downstream processing (DSP) is an essential step in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics, hormones (for example, insulin), antibodiesand vaccines. It refers to the recovery and purification of biosynthetic products, particularly pharmaceuticals, from natural sources such as animal or plant tissue. 

A strategic consultancy conducting market research on DSP needed to engage with UK and US-based commercial pharma professionals who could share their expertise on the topic to help supplement their project. Furthermore, the experts needed to: 

  • Hold a role in Process Development or Clinical/Commercial Manufacturing. 
  • Oversee or perform downstream processing. 
  • Work at a company that manufactures specific biologics. 

Using our Semantic Search Engine mentioned above, we swiftly and accurately connected the customer with DSP specialists including a: 

  • Director of Downstream Processing at a global contract development and manufacturing provider for biologics manufacturing where they spearhead a team of over 50 scientists. 
  • Head of Bioengineering at a leading supplier of bioproduction services with almost 15 years experience as bioprocess engineer who has led clinical trials at world-class biopharmaceutical companies.  


If October is anything to go by, November is poised to be another busy month of connecting forward-thinking businesses with subject matter experts. Be sure to check out our next installment! 


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Topics: Success Stories