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Reporting period: 2019-08-01 to 2020-01-31

The discovery and development of innovative drugs to fight old and new diseases has accelerated dramatically in recent years. Technology has become more accessible and studies can be run with fewer hurdles. This provides a great opportunity to meet the needs of patients and to tackle health challenges on a large scale. Although adoption rates for new drugs have risen, overall numbers are still rather low (<15%)1. This highlights the need for improving the way new treatments are promoted and brought into the market.

Communication between companies and health care professionals is crucial to facilitate the successful deployment of new drugs into the market. Prescribers must be aware of new treatments and companies must bear in mind the needs of the prescribers. Regrettably, pharmaceutical com- panies often interact with stakeholders and KOLs via out- dated channels which are not equipped to gather data effectively. Nowadays, when digital solutions are expected to take central stage, brochures and PowerPoint led congresses still play a major role in these exchanges. There is a pressing need to modernise the way the pharma industry disseminates and gathers information regarding their inno- vations. This affords a business opportunity for developing new platforms to help them reach a higher level of digital maturity. Ultimately, the question is: Can digital platforms be developed to help Medical Professionals and the Life Science (LSci) industry match the right patients to the right treatments?

The time is ripe for bringing the EU health sector into the digital economy and MedUniverse could play an important role in this transition. Our platform will provide new business insights for our customers in the EU pharmaceutical industry. And by collecting hitherto fragmented data in a more coherent manner it will foster communication across member states. The global scope of MedUniverse will also help reinforce European leadership in the world’s healthcare digital sector.

Our vision is in harmony with the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI): a public-private partnership between the European Union and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). The IMI is working to speed up development of, and patient access to, the next generation of medicines. The focus of IMI's strategic research agenda for the period 2014-2020 is on delivering ‘the right prevention and treatment for the right patient at the right time’2.

The Phase 1 study will develop a business plan to guide the technical upgrade and commercial expansion of MedUniverse. From the technical feasibility perspective, we will work on developing and testing the new functionalities of MedUniverse 4.0. We aim to release this version in Q1-Q2 2019. We will also explore the feasibility of exploiting the data generated by our platform to train machine learning (ML) models and develop a Predictive Analytics module for the next generations of MedUniverse. From the market feasibility perspective, we will delineate the strategy to expand our current base of subscribers to the top 50 global pharma companies with MedUniverse 4.0 (version 3.0 is used by 16 of them). We will also explore the market potential of MedUniverse beyond 4.0 with ML a Predictive analytics functionalities.
The overall results of this feasibility study show that the LSci industry is still immature when it comes to the adoption of novel technologies. This creates a strong market need for new solutions which will facilitate marketing, dissemination of knowledge about new guidelines, treatments and products, driving HCP engagement, and boosting the growth of the LSci industry. From this vantage point, MedUniverse offers a customized state-of-the-art platform which will enable the industry to overcome the existing bottlenecks. The feasibility study that we have conducted has led us to decide that we would add new features and value bringing modules (NextGen) to the existing platform and not migrate to a completely new technical environment. The next generation of the platform will be a unique and innovative solution, very likely to revolutionize the conventional of marketing, customer insights and business intelligence in the LSci industry.
Currently, LSci companies conduct their dissemination and information gathering activities in a fragmented manner. Furthermore, the mechanisms they use are not attuned to current technologi- cal advancement. The MedUniverse platform integrates and modernises these activities in a flexible, secure and engaging fashion. It also as well as captures aggregated interaction data that can be analysed and then serve as essential business intelligence for our customers.

Analog solutions such as brochures are still one of the pillars of new drug promotion. Companies resort to digitally oriented campaigns targeted to prescribers as well. These take the form of banners and e-mails linking to sponsored editorial patient case content. This is, however, a one-way communication channel and not particularly captivating for HCPs.

In order to collect information, online survey tools or audience interaction tools are used. These tools are designed for market research and are not tailored to the needs of the pharmaceutical industry. Although useful, they are not customized for patient cases which are more engaging to HCPs than simple surveys as they emulate real-life scenarios. Companies are aware of this and sometimes request their company’s web agency to create a one-off campaign based on patient cases. However, this approach is expensive and encourages the growth of a fragmented ecosystem.

MedUniverse, has the best features of these tools and goes far beyond:

Engaging HCPs: After completing MedUniverse’s pa- tient cases, 92% of HCPs said they would be inter- ested in receiving more patient cases within their field. Plug and play: The MedUniverse platform is built for ease-of-use and contains online help sections which are continuously updated. From our customer’s end, hardware and computer savviness requirements to run the platform are minimum. Cloud-based and secure: The MedUniverse platform is hosted on secure Amazon Web Service (AWS) virtual servers. Amazon is a proven, world-class Infrastructure-as-a-service provider. Access to the Customer Portal is protected in two ways. Firstly, through user accounts with one-way encrypted passwords, secondly through standard SSL encryption of all webpage communication.

Real-time analytics: As soon as respondents interact and answer questions in the patient cases, the MedUniverse platform starts aggregating the anonymous results into statistics to be analysed and possibly exported. In the Analytics section of the MedUniverse Portal, key values and live dashboards are presented. The platform also produces Engagement Reports, which summarize the most important data for business insights. Collaboration with external content providers/reviewers: MedUniverse customers can give secure access to a medical expert or another external or internal stakeholder to build, edit or review a patient case without needing to log in to the customer account in the Admin Portal. This will improve KOL engagement and allow to create rich case libraries which can be controlled from the Administrator’s deck