Author Archives: Lauren Alleyne

Exploring the professional networks of Nobel Prize winners

Since 1901 the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine has been awarded to 216 Laureates. In total, 122 different discoveries have been endowed; 36 of which directly or indirectly related to cancer development and treatment [source: Team Analysis].

We are excited that the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute recognizes the very significant progress that has been made in the area of targeted cancer therapies and awards the 2018 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine to Drs. James P. Allison of the United States and Tasuku Honjo of Japan for “their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation”.

A sincere congratulations to Drs. Allison and Honjo for this prestigious achievement!

Targeting and individualization in cancer management is occurring at many levels: diagnosis, treatment, and continuous care. This has implications for the commercialization of new and existing therapies, especially including identifying the right physicians relevant to the disease state of the affected patients and understanding them deeply.

MDoutlook offers a range of targeting and profiling offerings mapping the most relevant physicians and HCPs for our customers. To put this to the test, following last week’s Nobel Prize announcement we constructed the professional networks of Drs. Allison and Honjo across different cancers and different domains using our proprietary platform and data, merged with desk research of publicly available information.

This research endeavor was conducted globally and over several domains such as scientific publications, clinical trials, institutions and leadership. Any connection that is shown as an orange circle means that there is collaboration across multiple domains. The thickness of the line connecting 2 physicians indicates the strength of their collaboration (see images below).

Lead data scientist Dag Holmboe and VP of Research, Dr. Robert Stephan led the MDoutlook analysis team to several interesting conclusions:

  • Dr. Allison collaborates across multiple domains, including association and editorial leadership, whereas Dr. Honjo’s network focuses on publications
  • Specific clusters of collaboration appear as additional filters are applied. For instance, by requiring a minimum of 3 collaborations, Dr. Allison shows a strong collaborative network at MD Anderson across multiple cancers (melanoma, gynecological, gastrointestinal) as highlighted by the grey shape. And in onco-immunology, Dr. Allison collaborates across leadership roles such as editorial (Cancer Immunology Research, Oncoimmunology) and associations (AACR) as highlighted by the yellow shape
  • These connections transcend borders and are truly international

MDoutlook’s cloud-based applications offer interactive mapping and real-time updating, providing users with the ability to supplement our research with their own, to pivot and explore meaningful or intriguing collaborations. Through our work, we encourage our clients to dive deeper into the analysis and create competitive advantages with a more profound understanding of the space.

Figure 1. Professional network of Dr. Allison across multiple cancers and domains. Connections with two or more collaborations are shown.

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Figure 2. Professional network of Dr. Honjo across multiple cancers and domains. Connections with two or more collaborations are shown.

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Figure 3. Professional network of Dr. Allison across multiple cancers and domains. Connections with three or more collaborations are shown.

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For more information on this research and to learn more about how working with us will enhance your decision-making, please connect with us here.

Who Treats the Patients in GI Oncology

Two very common questions we are often asked by our clients are “What is a typical patient volume for this disease?” and “Who are the high-volume treaters?” Recently, we performed an analysis of nearly 1300 U.S. physician-reported recent patient volumes in selected GI tumor types, leading to interesting insights.

In line with overall incidence reporting, the patient volumes for colorectal cancer (CRC) are much larger than the other GI cancer types researched: hepatocellular, gastric and pancreatic cancer (Figure 1). Separating by typical practice setting, academics treat more patients in the smaller GI cancers by approximately 30% over average patient volumes. Yet for CRC, the community oncologists actually treat more patients than their academic counterparts, by 10%. Similar to our experience in other major cancers – such as breast, lung, and prostate – community oncologists see enough of these patients that they are sufficiently experienced to keep the patients under their care into later lines and with greater complexities, instead of having them referred to an academic center.

Figure 1: U.S. Physician reported patient volumes in GI oncology – Academic vs. Community settings


As in our previous post, Knowing is Half the Battle, there is a deeper story behind the numbers. Our research team identified other characteristics to separate out high-volume treaters. One aspect our clients often ask us about is the patient-facing role of key leaders in the field, so-called ThoughtLeaders.

MDoutlook uses a range of expert activities, so called expert domains, to establish different tiers of ThoughtLeaders. Our team first analyzed how commonly applied domains, such as body of peer-reviewed publications on the subject and participation in clinical trials, would separate patient volumes. Considering how closely-related these GI cancer types are, we identified those who either publish or are a trial investigator in 1 of these or multiple cancer types (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Impact of ThoughtLeader Activities (Publication or Clinical Trial Participation) on GI Patient Volumes

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As expected, those engaged in these types of activities did have a higher average patient volume. However, two conclusions stuck out to us:

  1. Those with expert activity in 2 or more disease states did not appear to have higher patient volumes than those with activity in just 1 disease. So, while performing these activities in multiple areas may have synergistic benefits for the physicians (they know how to publish or perform clinical trials), drivers of patient volume are really focused on activity for that particular cancer (see below).
  2. Considering these expert activities alone has a similar predictive value to patient volume as the practice setting.

Because one of our specialties at MDoutlook is enhanced ThoughtLeader insight, our research team went a step further to assess the self-reported patient volumes for the true ThoughtLeaders in each area. MDoutlook considers multiple expert domains for such determination: Authorship, Trial Investigator activity, Physician Peer Nominations, and Leadership roles. As shown in Figure 3, identified ThoughtLeaders in a specific disease state have the highest patient volumes. This also settles an oft-asked question if they are too busy in their expert activities to actually see patients! And this enrichment in patient volumes is even stronger when separating the ThoughtLeaders to only those at academic centers.

Figure 3: Patient Volume Enrichment for GI Cancer ThoughtLeaders

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Further analysis performed by the MDoutlook team (internal data) implies that the higher patient volumes of ThoughtLeaders are mostly a result of their prominence as an expert and less the mechanism to which they become an expert. And these experts conclusively do find the time to treat many patients.

Finally, when thinking about the entire market, we encourage you to keep one more aspect in mind: while ThoughtLeaders have considerably higher patient volumes than others, the majority of patients are treated by non-ThoughtLeaders. In our research, ThoughtLeaders comprise only 8-15% of the treaters in any given therapy area and total patient volume managed by this group comprises about 20% of the market.

Of course, a key value of the ThoughtLeaders is their impact and influence with the non-ThoughtLeaders. So with an informed, comprehensive ThoughtLeader engagement strategy, you can achieve the ‘double-whammy’ of propelling high-volume treaters in their practice and their larger sphere of influence.

MDoutlook utilizes these advanced methodologies to provide real, actionable insights to our clients. Our newest offering ONCpulse™ offers this sophistication while having your business questions answered in record time.

Contact us to learn how we can help you drive success in today’s rapidly changing environment.





Knowing is Half the Battle!

For 10+ years, MDoutlook has been helping clients to fight the battle to better understand how new clinical data drives treatment decisions. Early this summer, we completed a study that exemplifies how a data presentation at major medical meeting impacts oncologists’ treatment decisions.

As shown in Figure 1, we project that the star of the new data presentation, “Product X,” will see major increases in its usage. These increases will come primarily at the expense of the 2 current leaders: Treatment A & Treatment B. Tx A and Tx B are the 1st and 2nd most used treatment approaches in the sample geography, except one. In fact, Product X will become the leader or 2nd most used treatment in this setting in 5 of the 6 major countries researched (Figure 2).

Knowing     Knowing

Certainly, those with Product X are pleased with these projections, and those with Tx A and B are worried and need to act immediately to prevent this loss of share. But what if Treatment C or D is your responsibility? In fact, their usage is going to be relatively unaffected by Product X. Granted, these treatments are used in smaller selected subsets of patients, but the treatment of these patients will continue as before (data not shown).

Before this data presentation, only a few physicians were using Product X in their practice, likely as an investigational approach or in an “off-label” decision. After the presentation, most physicians said they would be using it (Figure 3). However, notice the proportion who would continue using Tx A and B. By and by, there really won’t be wholesale losses in the number of physicians using these products. For the main three treatments, pretty much almost everyone will be using all three in their practice (with, of course, some country-specific variations, which are always important to understand!).


Looking further into Tx C and D, only a relatively small group of physicians is using these treatments (Figure 3); these proportions do not change from the baseline measurement (data not shown). Moving forward, Product X does not appear to impact overall usage of Tx C and D, used selectively by a subset of physicians in a specific patient subgroup. Therefore, if you are managing Tx C or D, you should not really be concerned about the impact of the data announcement compared to those responsible for Tx A and B.

Taking everything together, what’s the real outcome of this data presentation? Well, Product X will have a major impact on treatment selection. And this impact is best understood as a patient segmentation event: the main group of patients will be split into those being treated with Product X and those remaining with Treatments A & B. Treatments C & D will remain the preferred option for the selected subsets of patients currently receiving them and not impacted by Product X.

Whether you are Product X, or Treatments A-D, shouldn’t you want to know what will happen to your product’s usage? Don’t you think it is critical for your success to understand which physicians and how many will be using your product, and in which subsets of their patients? Whether the new data is a presentation at a major meeting, a publication in a peer-reviewed journal, or an announcement of regulatory approval/label-expansion, knowing and understanding sooner rather than later is half the battle!

Contact us NOW to learn how we can help YOU drive success in today’s rapidly changing environment, for instance with data announcements at upcoming meetings such as ESMO and ASH.

ONCpulse: Value of Rapid Intelligence

The goal of ONCpulse™ is to provide rapid insights to your customized questions. We greatly appreciate recent feedback received from our clients:
“Thank you so much. That was a quick turnaround, which is great!” – VP, Healthcare Communications Agency
“Excellent turnaround, thanks!” – Chief Commercial Officer, Strategic Consultancy

Read below on how we have used our rapid turnaround to deliver valuable insight to one of our pharmaceutical clients. ONCpulse Methodology and Process

Client Need:

  • Obtain feedback on novel treatment for AML and messaging concepts from U.S. Hematologic Oncologists screened for AML patient volume and certain other criteria
  • Project managed via agencies of a top-5 Oncology Company

Project Delivered:

  • ONCpulse™ provided – within 48 hours(!) – specific insights from 50 qualified U.S. Hematologic Oncologists
  • The respondents manage on average 18 AML patients annually, in both community and academic settings

Results Achieved:

  • The client and its agencies were delivered an actionable roadmap to move forward with the commercialization of this novel AML treatment
  • The rapid market insights shortened the development of new messages and provided strong direction, reducing the number of concepts to be tested subsequently
  • This created both time and financial efficiencies, shortening concept development time by 2 weeks or more, and saving tens of thousands of dollars in fees

ONCpulse AML Insights

Are You Updating Your Thought Leader (TL) Ranking List Regularly?

In the 3rd quarter of 2017, MDoutlook undertook a global Thought Leader (TL) identification and ranking project in a rare cancer type. This activity used our standard approach with four domains – disease relevant publications, clinical trials, leadership roles (associations and journals), and peer nominations. We delivered detailed profiling of 221 TLs in this project. At the end of the 1st quarter of 2018, we performed a 6-month update to this TL list.

In this short time frame, our team made several interesting observations that highlight the importance to have an expanded identification of TLs with regular updates implemented to stay ahead of the changing TL landscape and to recognize new leaders to focus on.

• 20 “Rising Stars” were identified due to an increase in ≥15 ranking positions as indicated by the orange markers in figure 1. This represents nearly 10% of the total number of TLs originally profiled
• Most of these Rising Stars are currently positioned between the ranks of 50 and 100 as circled in figure 1. Although many may be considered 2nd tier TLs, they should be closely observed
• New leadership position(s) and clinical trial involvement were main drivers for the Rising Stars (figure 2). This is also considered as peer-recognition of their growing status within a clinical area
• The fact that these Rising Stars were originally contained in the lower TLs tiers shows how important it is to expand the initial identification efforts and have transparent criteria. While detailed profiling of these may or may not be needed (since one isn’t sure who will become the Rising Star), the Rising Stars will come from these levels
• The decline in ranking tended to be much more gradual than the increase, especially when compared to the initial Rising Stars
• As expected, there were hardly any shifts in the top 50 TL rankings, and those that did occur were relatively minor and shouldn’t really impact any working relationships
• Nearly 5% of all TLs changed institutions within this 6-month period. These were not represented within the Rising Stars or those who significantly dropped in the rankings

How confident are YOU in your ThoughtLeader rankings? Do they need updating? Expansion?

You are investing significant resources in initiatives focused on ThoughtLeaders. And you have to ask yourself the question, did you connect with the right ThoughtLeaders and influential cancer professionals in 2017, who can ultimately determine whether your therapy gains traction or loses steam?

You cannot afford a hit or miss approach to connecting with oncology’s most impactful clinicians and academics. MDoutlook’s ThoughtLeader Intelligence Platform is THE source to ensure you are targeting those who will have the biggest impact on your success in the marketplace. We monitor ThoughtLeaders’ changing influence on an ongoing basis and constantly update rankings, using transparent algorithms avoiding the black-box approach. And with our Attribute Dial™ we will deliver the key individuals to you, customized to your specific portfolio. For more information, check out our solutions and view this quick video about the MDoutlook’s Oncology ThoughtLeader Intelligence Platform.

For more information or to have a conversation, contact the MDoutlook team today.

Figure 1: Change in TL Ranking from September 2017 to March 2018 (6 Months)

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Figure 2: Change in Top 10 “Rising Stars” Domain Values from Sep 2017 to March 2018 

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MDoutlook ASCO Conference Research Analysis Resets Client’s Portfolio Commercialization Strategy

“We attend ASCO regularly and never knew we could get help in ensuring the presented clinical data was optimally received by oncologists or how competitive announcements could potentially have an adverse impact. MDoutlook gave us new insights into projected usage rates of our therapy and helped us recalibrate our market share targets in the major global markets we operate in.”

-Major Global Biopharma Organization with Growing Oncology Portfolio

MDoutlook assists pharma and life sciences organizations in maximizing results at major industry conferences, and achieved demonstrable success for one client at 2016 ASCO.

Client Need:
A major international pharma company with a growing oncology portfolio was ready to make a significant data announcement about a new treatment in dual checkpoint inhibitor antibodies in SCLC. They needed an impact assessment of current treatments as well as other data announcements scheduled for the category at the conference.

Project Delivered:
In only 4 weeks, MDoutlook turned around an integrated global research study of live panel discussions and a survey of pre-screened oncologists and physicians in multiple disciplines with high patient volumes, specialized knowledge and experience with SCLC treatments in the US, and key EU and international markets.

Results Achieved:
As a result, we provided immediate, actionable insights on how current treatments and new data developments at ASCO in the SCLC category would affect this company’s announcements about its new therapy entrant in the space. Based on our analysis and report, the company was able to project future physician usage of its treatment around the world and better calibrate market share growth globally of its treatment versus competitor treatments over time.

Give us the opportunity to deliver the same results for you before your next cancer conference by contacting the team at MDoutlook today.
We offer custom and syndicated programs for ASCO, EHA, ESMO and ASH, and custom research at many other cancer conferences.

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Oncology Conference Insights and the IMPACT of Data Announcements

Are you getting the most out of industry events?

MDoutlook leverages its client-acclaimed oncology insights and intelligence to drive our clients’ commercialization success.

We work with our clients to understand the impact of data announcements made at global conferences and assess the awareness and impact of these announcements on treatment utilization. We focus on important aspects, including meeting attendance and knowledge of the presented data to provide actionable and relevant insights for the market. Our response targeting allows us to create subgroup insights to maximize findings and project the impact at these conferences, such as ASCO, ESMO, ASH, and SABCS.

Examples of MDoutlook’s Oncology Conference Insights include, but are not limited to:

•Immediate clinical impact of data announcements in the form of robust and projectable quantitative market share analysis and insights into future treatment decisions
•Stratifying channel impact of announcements between attendees and non-attendees (i.e. significance of learning about new data at the meeting vs. via the news media)
•Pre-/onsite-/post- conference polling that includes providing a very quick read-out; identifying and vetting the right respondents; and querying robust sample sizes
•Focusing on disease-specific coverage and regional impact assessment

Take the guesswork out of your oncologist insights research and contact the team at MDoutlook today.

ASCO 2018