Size Doesn’t Matter: A Small Biotech Plays Big with Payer Engagement

This blog post is sponsored by Xcenda, A part of AmerisourceBergen.

Last month, Dr. Patti Peeples, CEO of HealthEconomics.Com, interviewed Allen Lising on how Xcenda’s FormularyDecisions™ is used early in drug development for contactless payer engagement to facilitate market access.

This blog continues the conversation with Laurie Fazio, Head of FormularyDecisions’ Market Access & Growth Strategies,  and explores how a small biotechnology company used the platform to make crucial decisions early in drug development, while simultaneously creating important payer relationships as they prepared for launch.

FormularyDecisions is a secure, online platform that facilitates the bi-directional exchange of information between life sciences companies and over 2,400 qualified, active payers in a decision-making role. The virtual platform is used from pre-approval through post-launch, providing subscribers with exclusive insights into what payers think of their product. Manufacturers can maximize brand visibility and utilize feedback to better inform market access strategies.

The complex, costly, and continuously evolving arena of biopharmaceutical product development demands a constant eye on commercialization potential.  The most progressive manufacturers are laser-focused on payer market access and optimized formulary status. However, barriers like constrained payer access, highly competitive markets, or limited corporate resources all play a role in curbing product success.

They do not need to. 

How can manufacturers connect with payers early in drug development and gain their insights to develop an evidence package that is both competitive and persuasive? 

Xcenda’s FormularyDecisions virtual platform provides an innovative, accessible tool that enables life sciences professionals to better understand payer needs and shape the product commercialization story.


Dr. Peeples: FormularyDecisions has been used by a variety of companies, both large and small.  With many small biotechs having promising agents in development, how could one of these companies use FormularyDecisions to improve their market access success?

Laurie Fazio:  We have seen a wide range of companies benefit from FormularyDecisions, from Fortune-listed pharma enterprises using it for detailed competitive intelligence that supplements their established payer relationships, to mid-sized biopharma using a FormularyDecisions subscription when developing a product for a new therapeutic area. 

Our most recent case study examines how a small biotechnology enterprise, with sales of <$10M, used their premier FormularyDecisions subscription to establish critical communication channels with payers even though they were a relatively unknown entity. Their product was going to be launched in a highly developed, competitive market.  Being a small biotech, they were further challenged by a comparatively small managed markets department, with little to no payer-facing field support. 

The company used FormularyDecisions to:

  • Increase payer engagement, thereby building a stronger level of awareness with these critical decision makers;
  • Gain unparalleled insights into how their product compared with direct competitors; and,
  • Leverage payer feedback to refine their value propositions and overall market access strategy

Dr. Peeples: What features of FormularyDecisions were used to address the small biotech company’s goals to engage payer stakeholders and to formulate launch plans?

Laurie Fazio: For stakeholder identification and subsequent relationship development, the company utilized Landscape Insights, a highly flexible and real-time dashboard, which provides metrics on payer activity and insights of how their product profile was perceived. They were able to identify key categories and/or types of payers with greater interest in the product profile,  and adjust information accordingly.

Landscape Insights was also used to improve clinical trial design, particularly in Phase 2/3, and launch plans. Specifically, the company was able to compare the payer perception of their product with the perception of competitors’ products, giving them actionable insights on product development and strategic marketing.  

The Manufacturer Resource Center (MRC) was used to provide supporting documents to the entire FormularyDecisions community of active payers. The MRC allowed the biotech company to provide continual, impactful updates and product information relevant to payers, improving visibility and helping with product evaluation.

The company then uploaded their digitized AMCP eDossier, another key component of their FormularyDecisions subscription. Payers were able to easily peruse the document and provide feedback. Platform analytics were used to gain insight on how long payers spent on various sections of the eDossier and offer feedback on the strength of their value story.

“No other tool or platform allows a manufacturer the robust access to a community of 2,400 active payers, regardless of the size of that company’s payer-facing field team or managed markets department. FormularyDecisions gives every organization an opportunity at early, in-depth payer engagement, driving better drug development and more successful market access.”


Laurie Fazio, Head of Market Access, FormularyDecisions

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Dr. Peeples: What insights can a manufacturer get from FormularyDecisions at pre-approval to enhance product value story development and payer engagement?

Laurie Fazio: The “magic” of FormularyDecisions at pre-approval is that manufacturers can share information at a time when payers are asking for it and get feedback to help refine the value story and market access strategy. The platform allows a manufacturer to obtain information earlier and more easily, and this directly improves decision-making and competitiveness.

Pre-approval, payers are looking for information on the expected PDUFA date, proposed indication, incidence/prevalence, clinical and safety data, unmet needs, and expected price. Manufacturers are seeking insights on unmet need, competitors to include in clinical trial design, and views on formulary access and evidence needed.

Looking at actual results is probably the best way to demonstrate what FormularyDecisions can provide at various stages of drug development, including pre-approval.  Using one case study as an example, after a manufacturer added specific product information, activity increased by 28% over the previous 30 days and payers reported spending 50% more time on that respective product compared with major competitors.  Manufacturers can gain insights into what information is more or less interesting to payers, as well as what competitors are garnering share of voice. 

Another type of insight is qualitative feedback directly from the payer. As you can see in the quotes below from actual payers, the manufacturers can gain insights into therapeutic gaps, perspectives on alternative therapies, attitudes toward the value story, and more.

Click to view a larger image.

Dr. Peeples: Back to the case study, let’s discuss the bi-directional communication. One of the exciting components of FormularyDecisions is the ability to continually deliver product information, value storylines, or clinical data to payers, and receive feedback. Data analytics from the platform are available in real-time, and payer responses are constantly updated.  It’s more efficient than waiting for an annual Advisory Board to be scheduled or attempting to get high-quality information from a virtual payer advisory session. What kind of payer engagement metrics have you seen with clients who subscribe to FormularyDecisions?

Laurie Fazio:  FormularyDecisions provides a wide variety of metrics that product teams can use to drive strategic decision-making and assist with tactical implementation.  For example, the company referenced earlier was able to realize a very high level of interactivity with payers. They saw a 300% improvement in payer feedback on their product, compared with other companies who did not have a full FormularyDecisions subscription. Payers spent 83% more time studying the company’s eDossier and submitted 62% more requests to the biotech company. They realized 31% more payers following their product.  Through the combination of usage data and specific payer reactions, the company refined the product profile and was able to deliver the specific information to payers based on their requests.

In summary, this case study highlights these FormularyDecisions benefits:

  1. Size doesn’t matter. Regardless of the size of the company, managed markets team, or product, any company can use FormularyDecisions to harness payer feedback and increase brand visibility to make informed decisions, ensuring that they continuously provide sought-after and timely information to key payers.
  1. The virtual platform allows for:
    1. Early engagement with payers during the crucial stages of product development;
    2. Continual communications with payers;
    3. The largest community of active online US payers gaining access to your information;
    4. Unparalleled feedback on your product; and,
    5. Exclusive views of how your product is perceived by payers vs. competitors.

For more insights and other use cases, download the full case study.

Dr. Peeples: How can a manufacturer learn more about FormularyDecisions?

Laurie Fazio: We invite you to visit the FormularyDecisions web page or sign up for a product demo. You may also contact us directly here.

Patti Peeples, R.Ph., Ph.D.

Dr. Patti Peeples is a respected health economist, pharmacist, and entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience in the pharma and healthcare communications industries. She writes. A lot. And she likes to start new things. The author of over 200 publications and creator of two successful business, Dr. Peeples was at the forefront of the health outcomes and market access movement in the United States. She is considered a pioneer in using the internet and digital media for communication and marketing in the health economics field.

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