The international width that Opticom provides is very valuable for a company like Sobi, as we are working globally, offering products on some 50 markets worldwide. That is when you need a true global player to co-operate with, a local market research company present in just one or two markets have more difficulty providing us what we need” says Charlotte Ungerth, Global Brand Director at Sobi (Swedish Orphan Biovitrum).

Only in the past year SOBI has assigned Opticom with several different market research projects within their RA (rheumatoid arthritis) section and around the treatment with Kineret.

Charlotte Ungerth, Global Brand Director, Sobi

Kineret (anakinra) is an interleukin-1 receptor antagonist indicated for reduction in signs and symptoms and slowing the progression of structural damage in moderately to severely active RA and is a solution administrated by subcutaneous injection.

A variety of both quantitative and qualitative market research methodology has been used in the different projects of the past year; web surveys and telephone interviews, as well as focus groups and face-to-face interviews. All in all around 150 respondents; physicians, nurses and patients, from different clinics in 28 countries have participated, answering questions on subjects like treatments, prescription, usage, administration and desired improvements.

Charlotte Ungerth continues: “We have basically made two major decisions based on these latest research projects; as a result of the prescription study in USA we have expanded our staff there in order to better enhance the apparent potential on the American market, which was clearly illustrated in that study. That also led to the establishment of SOBI Inc., an affiliated company, so all in all that specific survey gave us a very strong foundation to build on that case.”

Furthermore SOBI achieved a good base for the further development of their repositioning strategy in their approved indication within RA. The survey conducted at the international EULAR conference in London 2011, where 60 rheumatologists from all around the world were interviewed face-to-face by Opticom staff, strengthened SOBI in their endeavour to develop their position within the RA segment and showed that there is a positive response to the chosen repositioning strategy.

The various market research results have been of great value in the company’s internal strategy work, of which not all has yet been communicated but some parts have been published in annual reports and presented in capital markets days, basically to illustrate the potential in the medication and how it meets the clinical demands in diseases with an unmet medical need and how SOBI there through is able to create added value with Kineret.

Answering on what has been the best with these projects, Charlotte declares: “That is to be able to objectively verify what one perhaps has a gut feeling of, that one is able to quantify and get stats on the usage of our product. That base is tremendously important when one does calculations on business cases and as a foundation for different investment decisions. In this way you are able to get raw data in a totally different way than if you would only ask KOL’s or if you would just buy sales statistics or use other such sources for your market information. So these kinds of surveys are really an invaluable part of that analysis.”

Concerning the value of regular market research, Charlotte is convinced that a continuous value measurement over time is vital in order to keep her updated on market changes. She sees a need for an initial, general baseline achieved in bigger projects and then further, specialised follow-up surveys when strategy changes have been initiated or taken decisions have been implemented.

Charlotte believes that there are clear benefits with having market research conducted by the same partner over time; for the experience and also so that the same parameters can be looked at from one survey to the next: “The continuous dialogue with Opticom’s competent staff has helped us in focusing and defining the scoop, which has lead to clearer projects and resulting in distinct deliveries” and she continues: “Opticom has a wide network and skilled staff and we have a long standing co-operation and an established relation with an open dialogue and that is internally very appreciated here at SOBI. So it has been very smooth and fast to carry through the projects in the way we work together”

She is convinced the investments made in market research has been money very well spent: “All the conducted surveys have proven to be positive business cases, so the investments made in Opticom market research have paid off multiple times” Charlotte Ungerth concludes.

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