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The growth of specialty pharmacy is a major strategic shift in life sciences. Specialty pharmacy focuses on high cost, high touch medication therapy for patients with complex disease states. Medications in specialty pharmacy range from oral to cutting edge injectable and biologic products. The disease states treated include cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and rare genetic conditions. Handling special pharmacy channels involves numerous distinct requirements and some retailers and distributors specialize in it, but by 2014 CVS Caremark, Express Scripts and Walgreens represented more than 50% of the specialty drug market in the United States.
Specialty pharmacy is projected to grow from 32% in 2014 to 70% of all pharmaceutical sales in dollar terms by 2020, though its a very small percentage of actual prescriptions.
To better serve this market, Philadelphia-based IntegriChain, which tracks pharmaceuticals through the distribution channels to consumers, last month entered into a strategic partnership with King of Prussia-based ProMetrics, a leader in longitudinal patient-level data aggregation, to deliver the industry’s first guided analytics solution for specialty channel management, patient service model design, and patient access optimization.
The data can be used to understand the patient journey from receiving the prescription to having the therapy in hand. For example:
- How long it takes for the specialty pharmaceutical therapy to get in the patient's hands?
- Specifically, how long does it take for each step of the benefit verification, financial counseling, and prior authorization process and where are patients getting lost along that process?
- Are patients staying on therapy (i.e., are they refilling their prescriptions)?
- What are the reasons for patients forgoing therapy (difficulty with insurance, cost, trouble filling prescription, etc.)?
"The new guided analytics offering for specialty pharmacy delivers a single view from factory to patient, dramatically improving the actionability of longitudinal Anonymized Patient-Level Data (APLD) for account managers, brand directors, and patient access leadership," the two companies said in announcing the partnership.
Kevin Leininger, CEO of IntegriChain, said in the announcement: “Most specialty manufacturers have product portfolios that are distributed through multiple channels. Patients access many of their individual products through diverse pharmacy settings and sites of care. Never before have specialty pharma manufacturers had a single analytics platform that encompasses all of their channels – specialty pharmacy, specialty distribution, full-line wholesale, and retail.”
Marc Duey, President and CEO, founded ProMetrics in 1994. ProMetrics aggregates, integrates, analyzes, and reports data across the specialty brand’s distribution network including Specialty Pharmacies, Specialty Distributors, 3PLs, Hubs, GPOs and more. Its core services include data acquisition strategy, contracting recommendation and execution, as well as data aggregation, integration, analysis and reporting.
Josh Halpern, Executive Vice President and co-founder of IntegriChain, told me in a phone interview that specialty pharmacy is a rapidly growing portion of its business, though he declined to say how much it accounts for, but with the industry's direction and the ProMetrics partnership he expected it to continue to grow significantly. Halpern also said that this was IntegriChain's first strategic partnership in the life sciences industry, and he expects others in the future.
IntegriChain, founded in November 2006, is just celebrating its 10th anniversary. In March of this year, it announced a substantial investment from Silicon Valley-based growth equity investor Accel-KKR, buying out all preexisting outside investors. IntegriChain also completed relocating its headquarters from Princeton to Philadelphia, at Penn Center on JFK Boulevard. It is nearing 100 employees.
IntegriChain serves an important niche within the rapidly growing market for cloud-based life sciences applications and data.
“For ten years, IntegriChain has been the data and analytics foundation underpinning life sciences manufacturer efforts to create more efficient and service-oriented channel models to maximize patient access to critical and often life-changing medical products,” said CEO Leininger in a statement. “We are immensely proud of the company we have built through continuous collaboration with our customers to improve and expand our data and guided analytics offerings. Our close bonds within the Greater Philadelphia tech and academic communities and the incredible healthcare tech team that we have developed will advance IntegriChain to our next stage of growth and evolution.”