Orphan Diseases and Biogen’s Success Story Through Market Intelligence

Market intelligence is a crucial aspect of any industry, but it holds even more importance in the healthcare sector. With the constant changes and advancements in medicine and science, healthcare companies must stay up-to-date with the latest trends, advancements, and market shifts to remain competitive. Healthcare companies use market intelligence to develop a clear understanding of the market and their customers to make informed business decisions.

Orphan Diseases: An Overlooked Opportunity for Healthcare Investors

One area of healthcare where market intelligence is particularly important is in orphan diseases. Orphan diseases, also known as rare diseases, affect a small percentage of the global population and are often overlooked by the healthcare industry. Due to their rarity, these diseases often receive less attention than common diseases. However, despite their small market size, orphan diseases represent a significant opportunity for pharmaceutical companies and other healthcare players.

Market intelligence plays a critical role in bringing to light the potential for orphan diseases. By identifying potential patient populations, assessing the market size and competition, and understanding reimbursement policies, healthcare companies can determine the feasibility of investment in researching and developing treatments for orphan diseases. This intelligence helps companies to make informed and strategic decisions about their investments, reducing the risks associated with such ventures.

How Market Intelligence Supported Biogen’s Success Story  

One clear illustration of the importance of market intelligence in the orphan disease space is demonstrated by the drug Spinraza. Spinraza is a medication developed by Biogen for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a rare genetic disorder that primarily affects children. The drug was approved by the FDA in 2016, making it the first-ever treatment for SMA. Spinraza has since become a significant success for Biogen, with global sales of almost $2 billion annually.

Biogen's success in developing Spinraza is due in part to their market intelligence efforts. Market intelligence was crucial in supporting the go-to-market strategy in an untapped environment and in accessing risk mitigation, especially during the early stages of drug development. Biogen, analyzed the potential market, identified the unmet needs of patients, and conducted extensive market research. This market data helped Biogen gain an understanding of SMA from all angles, including the clinical background, the perspectives of caregivers, and the reimbursement landscape. By doing so, Biogen developed a deep understanding of the market, the competition, and the patient's needs, which ultimately translated into a successful drug launch.

Biogen's brilliant move was based on the conclusion that despite the small size of the market (number of patients), the value of the market was worth investing in. Spinraza entered the market costing $750.000 and then $375.000 per dose in the years after. In addition, the low competition in the market and the high need for treatment made it even more attractive. Only 3 years after Spinraza was launched, a competing drug with similar properties was introduced.

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In conclusion, market intelligence plays a vital role in the healthcare industry, especially in orphan disease research and development. By investing in market intelligence, healthcare companies can make informed decisions, mitigate risks, and improve their chances of success. Biogen's success story with Spinraza illustrates the importance of market intelligence and how it can lead to a successful product launch and a significant impact on patient health.

Hammer Market Intelligence has 30+ years of market research experience, 40+ clients across Europe, and a portfolio of projects in a wide array of industries. Curious to know more? Get in touch!  

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