Pharma CI Europe 2019 Post-Conference Recap

Between March 5-6, 2019, Pharma CI Europe 2019 took place in Basel, Switzerland. Many leading executives from the pharmaceutical competitive intelligence community attended this meeting.  Over the course of the show, a broad range of learning opportunities were shared by some of the leading thinkers, consultants, and practitioners from the pharmaceutical industry.

Keynotes to start the event covered common themes including:

  • How AI will evolve and the challenges we will need to tackle as it evolves
  • How Pharma CI executives and agencies can work together
  • How the collection of CI for generics companies varies from branded companies

During the opening presentation, Dr. Sebastian Schegk, CEO of IBM Watson Health, shared an example of how IBM had inadvertently misset expectations by overpromising the capability of artificial intelligence to solve many of the big data challenges of the pharma industry. Dr. Scheqk believes AI is on a journey.

  • His vision is that AI platforms and cognitive systems will become increasingly better over time. First, they need to tackle the challenge of understanding and reasoning prior to tackling the ongoing challenges of learning. After those steps are achieved, the platforms will aim for the higher goal of truly interacting with human intelligence.

Daniel Moraes, Head of Business Analytics at Lonza, gave a detailed presentation about the use of stochastic simulation in the drug development process.

  • The stochastic process is based on uncertainty. It is a sequence of steps regulated by observed historic behavior patterns. At Lonza, drug development is modeled as a stochastic simulation process in recognition of three uncertainties: a) rate of replenishment b) time spent in stage and c) success rate. This improvement helps achieve greater accuracy of forecasting in terms of the future. The improved level of accuracy helps the quality and breadth of decision making across the business.

Dennis Engelke, Director of Business Insight at Jazz Pharmaceuticals, shared his insight into the future where there will be less government control in electronic health records.

  • Health records will become more available for commercialization and lead to a world of digital therapeutics. This will enable better disease management through personalised prediction. He shared his views that organisations will need to reduce their % market losses to generics with increased investments in strategies that drive greater brand loyalty to the end consumer.

Jorge Tavares, Commercial Excellence Manager at Tesaro, raised some valuable points about the forecasting imperative.

  • He encourages forecasters to avoid working in isolation. Forecasters need to be detached from their internal sales hype. They need to be encouraged to take a holistic view and constantly monitor their external environment in order to minimize the chances of surprise. Forecasters need to be encouraged to scan the broad horizons of their traditional market sectors. They also need to keep a close radar on their non traditional competitive landscapes for anomalies that can create high impact in both the short and long term.

Liana Lubel, Global Head of Insights, Abbott Pharmaceuticals, made an interesting presentation on “Decoding Signals and Development and Disruption.”

  • In this interactive session, she discussed how teams can spot real trends that lead to disruption and not lose track of/derail your strategy. Using a wide range of innovations that have occurred over the last ten years, the audience needed to decide whether the example was disruptive innovation, which is defined and solves a problem, or whether the innovation comes from the uncharted territory, a game changer and the customer doesn’t see it coming.
  • She believes healthcare is ripe for disruption given the system consists of siloed stakeholders, uncoordinated care, suboptimal service, and overall lack of trust. The question is which company will resolve these issues and who will own the future digital healthcare space?

Several breakout sessions allowed for interactive discussions ranging from a wide variety of topics including:

  • CI on Generics, lead by Sandoz. The discussion focused on the differences between the originator and the generics and what questions need to be addressed by each sector.
  • Competitive Intelligence in Pharma Emerging Markets: Challenges and Opportunities, lead by Acino International. This session discussed the lack of reliable competitive data in some emergency markets and how this lack of data may lead to wrong decisions.

There were several other interesting presentations and round-table breakouts that occurred over the course of the show. Fletcher/CSI has participated in both the European and US Pharma CI conference for the last seventeen years, and believes these conferences are an excellent vehicle for both the new and highly experienced CI executives to network and learn from others. Please reach out to for more information.

We look forward to seeing you at the next US Pharma CI conference in September.