The Challenge of Finding KOLs For Innovative Therapies
You have a truly innovative medicine with a unique proposition in an area with a clear unmet need – in other words, a perfect recipe for advancing patient well-being and achieving brand leadership.
And your medical strategy requires you to find and engage with KOLs and experts who will be able to present and communicate all the different components of your scientific story to HCPs and other important stakeholders. Such KOLs will also help you guide the clinical development of your therapy, and provide valuable insight to help you develop and implement your strategic plan. They will also be in key tactics right across the spectrum, from advisory boards) to congresses.
But there is a challenge – the more innovative your medicine and the more unique your therapy area is, the greater the chance that there will be no significant papers, presentations, or other activity around the key issues that you must address and bring into the limelight. Because everything is “new”.
And so, if you are relying on traditional quant data and metrics alone to identify and map the KOL landscape for your innovative medicine, the answer you’ll get is “well, there doesn’t seem to be any KOLs and experts in the topics of interest to you”!
So how do you find the KOLs and experts that are going to impact the success of your strategy, medicine, and everything else going forwards? The key here is to find KOLs who may not necessarily have significant activity in the key topics that interest you (because there hasn’t been much activity on those topics to-date), but KOLs who have the skills necessary to bring about change in an area that’s thus far not been exposed to innovation or new approaches to management – what your medicine aims to do.
You can’t find such KOLs simply by looking at someone’s publication, speaking, or clinical trial activity – those data points will not tell you whether this is the KOL that others listen to (and want to listen to) when it comes to introducing innovations that are new to them, may require a fresh way of thinking, and can ultimately enhance their patient’s lives.
Finding such KOLs, mapping their connections, gauging their influence, and deciding what activity they are most suited for requires a specific type of research – speaking with frontline HCPs, engaging with other KOLs in the therapy area, getting the views of decision-makers, and even incorporating the experience of your local affiliates to get a feel for the “on the ground” view of experts with the power to step up to a global stage and fly the flag for innovation.
By incorporating such insights combined with more traditional quantitative metrics, you can identify the KOLs that have the power to truly take your innovation forward. And you are not alone in this challenge, because we see this not just with our clients but also from other stakeholders (patient organisations, advocacy groups, etc) who need to engage with KOLs to advance their cause in the therapy area.
In summary, the more innovative and groundbreaking your therapy is, potentially the greater the challenge of identifying the right KOLs to make it a success. Only by researching and analyzing multiple datapoints and insights together can you truly identify the KOLs that can do justice to your innovation and ensure strategic and tactical success.
Keywords: KOL identification, KOL mapping, innovative therapies