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Sue Nemetz: Smoothing the Biopharma Road to Market

Susan Nemetz founded The NemetzGroup, a commercialization consulting firm, almost 20 years ago and the group has worked with more than 130 companies in the life sciences arena, with a primary focus on biopharma.  

Based on her experience, Nemetz founded a second company, Corval, to provide biopharma companies with a strategic commercialization planning tool. Corval is a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) product that offers a simplified, customized approach to the complex commercialization process.

Biopharma is unique due to complex clinical trials, strict regulatory requirements, and the significant time and financial investment required to demonstrate a product’s safety and efficacy. The commercialization thinking needs to start early in the process, preferably 2-5 years before expected product launch. This ensures the needs of patients, healthcare providers, and payers are reflected in the clinical and regulatory plans. As a result, a biopharma leader is faced with laying out the full arc of the commercialization story – what is required, when, and how much it will cost – years before they know if their product will work. This is especially challenging for early- to mid-stage companies that often lack the teams and infrastructure necessary to build a successful plan.

Given this multi-year timeline, biopharma companies can change leadership and shift directions along the long path to market. As a consultant, Nemetz and her team often worked with a biopharma company to develop detailed long-range plans for commercialization that reflected a point in time. Later, they would return and discover a new client team, taking a new direction, and needing her team’s guidance to fulfill new requirements. Often the new leaders were not even aware of the previous work and more time and resources were invested to recreate a plan. Nemetz knew there had to be a better way and the idea for Corval was born.

Nemetz calls Corval “a single source of truth” in a complicated, fragmented process. It’s a collaborative platform that allows a company to capture insights at a point in time – when commercialization efforts are initiated – and then update a single source to reflect changing assumptions and objectives as they navigate toward the market.

The platform guides users through three simple steps to gather unique insights (strategies, assumptions, and timing) about a company’s product. It then takes those insights to layout or “map” the numerous activities required to bring that product to the market. In doing so, Corval frees executives to focus on innovation, strategy, and prioritizing the needs of the patient and the healthcare professionals who treat them. 

From a Consulting Model to a Product Business Model

The lessons she learned over her nearly two decades running The NemetzGroup inspired her to take her work a step further by launching Corval. “I think we’ve seen probably every example of good, bad, and challenging in the entrepreneurial nature of an early to mid-stage company trying to bring a drug to market,” Nemetz said. “My vision for ‘there’s got to be a better way,’ has really informed what is now Corval.” 

In this video, in addition to talking about commercialization, Nemetz talks about different business models and how people define entrepreneurship. She recognizes that consulting was directly reliant on a person’s time and didn’t offer the flexibility she wanted to offer her team members.

Editorial Note: This program introduces Ramani Varanasi, as our Biopharma/Life Sciences expert. Varanasi is a co-founder, President and CEO of X-Biotix Therapeutics, a company focused on the discovery and development of novel antibiotics to combat the ever-increasing global issue of multi-drug resistance caused by “Superbugs”. She is an accomplished business executive, with over 25 years of biopharmaceutical industry experience. Being attracted to mission-driven initiatives, Varanasi has operated with an entrepreneurial vision and passion for launching, building and being part of successful organizations by integrating research and business strategies focused on innovative medicines and solutions having a global impact.

About the author

Nicole DeSimone

Nicole DeSimone is a writer based in the Boston area. She earned a B.A. in English and Journalism from Simmons University. In addition to reading and writing, she loves dance, nature walks, and old movies. You can always email her at nicole.desimone4@gmail.com.

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