What Matters: realizing value for innovation

Overcoming hurdles to market access is no small matter. Increasingly, cost-effectiveness and cost-containment are trumping safety and efficacy. What Matters is the place to examine and address the challenges facing biopharma in gaining market access.

If your passion is realizing value for innovation, welcome to the conversation.


4 Market Access Assumptions Misleading Biotechs

Biotechnology companies often do not have the market access resources comparable to large pharma. While this can pose a challenge, there is a considerable opportunity for biotechs to reduce this disadvantage by using health technology assessment (HTA) data in innovative ways to inform and drive their market access decision-making.

With our innovative technology platform and focus on data quality, we have been helping biotech companies understand the market access space for bellwether HTA agencies for the past seven years. Throughout our experience with biotechnology companies, we continually see four assumptions about the HTA process and market access:

Accelerating Immuno-Oncology Therapies to Market

In their 2015 industry report, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) estimated over 800 cancer therapies were in the industry pipeline—citing that approximately 80% of these drugs have the potential to be first-in-class medicines. One of the most groundbreaking areas in oncology today is checkpoint inhibitor immuno-oncology (I-O) treatments, with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) naming immunotherapy as its 2016 Advance of the Year. Checkpoint inhibitor I-O treatments unlock immune system cells, allowing the cells to recognize and fight cancer tumors, and have shown early efficacy gains that have given hope to many oncology researchers, physicians, and patients. An exciting breakthrough that raises the question—what is the fastest and safest way to get these new treatments to patients?

Implications and Use Cases for HTA Decision Predictive Models

Predictive modeling can be a powerful tool for understanding how multiple factors contribute to an event. As outlined in previous posts, Context Matters created a model that used variables from oncology assessments by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) to identify the most influential variables for a positive reimbursement decision by that agency and used the model to demonstrate the impact that economics (i.e., patient access schemes and ICERs) have in predicting positive SMC decisions for oncology drugs. However, as discussed in our previous post, Understanding Predictive Modeling, not all models are created equal. One measure of a predictive model’s quality is its ability to deliver actionable results and insights. If a model is not able to inform the initial hypothesis and provide a path forward, it is just an academic exercise. But what does it mean for a predictive model to be “useful” and to deliver “actionable results”? What are some of the implications and use cases for predictive models of Health Technology Assessment (HTA) agency decisions?

Key Drivers of HTA Decisions for "Life-Changing" Drugs

There are mechanisms in place to reward innovative and “life-changing” drugs. Most of these mechanisms exist in the regulatory process, but what about the reimbursement process? Are “life-changing” drugs rewarded by health technology assessment (HTA) agencies with positive reimbursement decisions? This original research applies a data-driven approach to evaluate the key drivers of HTA agency decisions for drugs that provided significant improvement in benefits over existing therapies.

Update on Recent Cancer Drugs Fund Changes

On March 16, 2016, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) approved some major changes to the UK’s Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF). The most significant of these changes is that NICE will now be evaluating all oncology drugs approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), including those previously funded through the CDF. Prior to this change, the CDF had independently conducted its own reviews. Now, the CDF will only serve as a funding source to be used at NICE’s discretion. This reorganization was precipitated by years of budget difficulties and numerous disagreements about the respective roles of NICE and the CDF.

NICE has started to release oncology reviews under its revised technology appraisal process, with many additional reviews in development and expected to be released in the next few months. In this post, we will discuss those reviews and what they may indicate about the future of oncology drug funding in the UK. 

Immunotherapies and the Race to Become the Standard of Care

A hot and promising new area of oncology treatment is immunotherapy, or IO drugs (which we discussed in a recent webinar). These therapies unlock immune system cells and help the immune system recognize and fight cancer tumors. To date, four IO drugs have been approved by the FDA: Yervoy (ipilimumab), Keytruda (pembrolizumab), Opdivo (nivolumab), and Tecentriq (atezolizumab).