Discovery and clinical teams do their best to develop new treatment options that address healthcare professional (HCP) and unmet patient needs in a meaningful way. It is the commercial team’s responsibility to then educate the market and ensure an understanding of the need, raise awareness of the product, and ensure patient access to the product. New product planning is the nexus point between development and commercial planning. The new product planning process is where you accurately define the opportunity and set the stage for marketing of the brand.

Four key elements go into successful new product planning:

New Product Planning Risks

Getting the market assessment wrong risks not only inaccurate forecasting, but inaccurate prioritization of assets and resources. Accurate patient population sizing and access to dynamic characterization are critical to defining the market. Teams that inflate opportunity size risk allocating precious company resources to asset development that can’t make it through market pressures.

Successful teams address the foundational elements of new product planning, building insights about their market situation and designing their strategic approach. There are pitfalls along the way to avoid, see sidebar. Great teams incorporate innovative approaches, piloting along the way. Read our digital health whitepapers for insights on the digital health landscape and how pharma companies are meeting the challenge of innovation.

Teams can often ‘drink their own Kool-Aid’ a little too much and believe an effective product will sell itself. Even such anticipated classes as weight loss and oncology drugs aren’t always able to sell themselves. Years after the introduction of PD-1's for melanoma and lung cancer, their penetration in community oncology lags forecast goals. In obesity, four launches were insufficient to drastically change the perception of weight management from will power to disease state

Delaying commercial planning until the year or two before launch risks missing a critical market-shaping window.