Innovators 2014: Companies

The Harvard Business Review recently interviewed 58 CEOs in the healthcare sector, and the words they most used to describe the keys to their organizations’ futures: Change and innovation. What else could it be? As the healthcare system continues evolving and becomes more focused on delivering value, companies need to find new ways to improve patient outcomes while reducing costs. Innovation may be more important to this industry’s success than ever before—and marketers are not exempt from this challenge. Not only should they help find ways to provide more value to customers, but they must also continue to adapt to the ever-changing means by which people communicate. This requires new solutions, offerings and thinking that can solve the problems life science companies currently face—as well as problems they are sure to face right
around the corner.

We highlight these forward-thinkers in our third annual Innovations in Pharma Marketing special issue and provide a guide to the Companies, Divisions, Products, People, Services and Strategies that can help create success in the New Year. Once again, our call for innovation did not go unheard. We were bombarded with remarkable submissions from across the industry. The following represent a select collection of today’s best industry innovations and innovators. These range from exciting new ways to speed up drug discovery and development to a platform that can revolutionize rare disease marketing. That’s just a taste! Between the 62 innovations/innovators in this issue and the directory of some of today’s most innovative companies, we believe you’ll find plenty of ideas to help make 2015
a great year.

Here are our picks for companies. Pioneering organizations that are just starting to make their mark on the industry—all have been in operation for five years or less or underwent a strategic re-launch during that same period.



In today’s healthscape, maximizing engagement is all about achieving the highest levels of empathy. It’s no longer enough to know that your audience has disorder A, treats disease B, uses app C, visits website D or scans journal E. It’s now vital to understand the underlying psychological and emotional forces that are so critical in driving behavior. Knowing what customers do is important; but knowing why they do it is arguably even more important.

Calcium goes beyond sending a sophisticated and targeted message through a well-frequented channel. Instead, the agency discovers the “persuasion levers:” along the healthcare journey that spur real action. High prescribers don’t spend all day thinking about what to prescribe! That is why it is so important to identify those critical moments when they do think about it, and when they are receptive to a brand message. It is these decisive moments that Calcium seeks to own.

Calcium’s approach to content development bears this out. At the heart of every impression, there is an exchange—a transaction. The agency offers compelling content in exchange for a few critical moments of a viewer’s or reader’s attention. Such content can be entertaining, educational, practical, emotional or—ideally—all of the above. It can take the form of practice management tools, video, apps—even print! Great content brings value to a carefully targeted audience at a point in time. And that’s the secret to success: Engage with empathy, feed the need, deliver value.



Catavolt Inc.’s enterprise application mobility platform helps companies out-mobilize their competitors by creating mobile apps quickly that are personalized for users, secure and deliver meaningful business outcomes in 60 days or less.

The Catavolt platform is used by a wide range of industries, particularly those that rely on information for their value chain to manage supply or demand. Catavolt has extensive experience in the pharmaceutical industry and earlier this year announced it had implemented an innovative solution to solve a complex and challenging mobile workflow issue for UCB, Inc.

UCB is a global manufacturer of medicines for people with severe diseases of the immune and central nervous systems. UCB uses Catavolt to connect its U.S. mobile field force through the cloud with multiple back end systems, and create workflow applications to improve collaboration. This new workflow application, created in days, enables the field force to communicate and transfer information to the right corporate office-based group—saving time and increasing productivity.

According to UCB officials, the Catavolt solution has enabled the company’s field staff to access the right information, at the right time, to meet its customer’s needs in a rapidly changing healthcare industry.



CoheroHealth brings an innovative and integrated platform solution to the respiratory market (affecting 50 million Americans), introducing comprehensive state-of-the-art mobile lung function and adherence devices to transform care management and clinical decision-making.

The company’s form flexible wireless sensor-based technology bolts onto existing Rx equipment and interfaces with a game-based mobile application, AsthmaHero, to motivate and track compliance, generate customized engagement data and reward improved user behavior. For care managers, the HIPAA-compliant server integrates with existing EMR systems (e.g., EPIC) to automatically integrate lung function, environmental and between-visit, patient-specific adherence data directly into a patient’s e-files. Further, the company’s next-generation device, the SmartSpacer, combines two embedded sensors with an inhaler spacer to improve metered dose inhaler medication delivery and track lung function. Additionally, a motion sensor is used to track medication compliance and capture quality of administration.

Cohero not only provides patients with progressive tools and technology to self-manage their respiratory condition, but they also offer:

Pharma real-time product consumption/engagement data, an understanding of product use and ability to drive improved adherence and persistence.
Physicians with a complete inter-visit picture of adherence and lung function.
Payers/Providers with improved treatment and reduced costs through optimal reduction of avoidable clinical encounters.
Relatives/Caregivers with the power to monitor and improve care.

Cohero’s connected health services sit squarely at the intersection of patient engagement and revolutionary respiratory tracking devices, enabling sustained improved health outcomes and a strong ROI for all stakeholders.

Create NYC


Gone are the days of big budgets and big teams. Create NYC is an innovative model agency uniquely conceived to serve the rapidly changing healthcare industry. This advertising agency is dedicated exclusively to efficiency as measured by client timelines and budgets in addition to creating quality tactics. Create NYC has set out to redefine efficiency for today’s industry through its unique on-demand model and flat-fee approach, which sets it apart from traditional agencies.

To achieve this efficiency, Create NYC has built their Creator Hub, a hand-selected database of over 100 experienced creative talents of all disciplines in the business. Working with these seasoned professionals on a flat fee ensures that each project is accomplished with incredible speed and accuracy the first time, always with short timelines.

Create NYC also provides unparalleled cost-effectiveness. This is achieved via a flat-fee model of risk sharing, which incentivizes Create NYC to deliver excellent work that is not only on time but also within budget.

Create NYC currently supports a range of pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sanofi. At Pfizer alone in 2014, Create NYC supported more than 30 brands as sole agency to a brand, AOR partner agency to a brand, or agency partner to a portfolio of brands. In less than five years, Create NYC has achieved annual sales that will exceed $10 million.

Decisive Health


Decisive Health has a patient-centric platform that helps physicians and patients better collaborate together to make shared medical decisions. The company enables patients to voice their concerns, goals and preferences as it relates to all the treatment outcomes and risks.

For example, in oncology each type of cancer has multiple treatment options that are influenced by the patient’s medical situation as well as the patient’s personal priorities. Decisive Health allows doctors to fully customize the medical information that patients view and enables patients to evaluate their concerns relating to the outcomes and risks involved with each available treatment option, enabling more efficient consultations that leave the patient engaged and satisfied with their care.

Decisive Health also ensured that their platform is not only patient-centric but also physician friendly. With the help of medical advisors, the company designed a platform that is easy for patients to understand and allows physicians full control of the patient education and treatment option offerings. This helps to reduce the amount of consultation time needed to educate the patient about their medical condition and treatment options. The work is accomplished before the patient and physician meet—enabling a more personalized and structured discussion.



Feedback is a leading digital and social media firm specializing in ethnographic research, strategy development and innovative digital communications, delivering significantly stronger results from better-informed creative executions. Pharmaceutical companies often employ general, temperature-taking dashboard tools that ignore the actual chatter of patients and families and instead focus on channels in which the least amount of sentiment resides, inaccurately portrayed by algorithms.

Feedback provides a unique global service employing actual human beings to understand the context, behaviors, influence and content of target audiences. For pharmaceutical clients this could mean everything from understanding the broad context of a brand versus its competitors to something far more succinct such as the answer to a very specific question (e.g., “What is the physician relationship like with the mothers of teenage daughters with mild to severe asthma?”).

Feedback was founded to support leading brands, healthcare organizations, creative agencies and marketing organizations that needed additional firepower in the research, strategy and digital implementation space.  Their focus is on discovering key truths about clients’ brands and their customers through the use of real-time, qualitative research techniques. The company’s unique HumanFilter system, allows their sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists and hand-trained researchers to provide deep-dive research services that incorporate word-of-mouth analysis, message board reviews, online alerts, distinct geographic and demographic study, influencer studies and other human analysis that delivers useful, actionable insights that pharma clients can’t find elsewhere.



While the industry moves towards a consumer-centric model, agencies find themselves scrambling to grow and adapt accordingly. Hypertonic, on the other hand, was forged from this model and is now poised to flourish in the rapidly evolving consumer-centric health landscape. Hypertonic’s process starts and ends with the consumer. Whether that consumer is a doctor, patient or advocacy group, real-time insights inform better strategies and allow for a perpetual loop of optimization. Hypertonic’s proprietary tool Beacon, parses through millions of social conversations to hone in on those that are relevant, while generating actionable insights.

The greatest challenges faced in introducing truly engaging social health strategies and tactics are the demand for time-relevant content in a regulated environment and bilateral dialogue. For years, agencies grappled with challenges like this. Now as the demand for social executions in health has reached critical mass, Hypertonic—already trusted for quantifiable data and strategy—can seamlessly execute social tactics. The agency is consistently able to deliver on the promise of social health by showing clients that their brand narrative, amidst a consumer-centric environment, must take into account the unique needs of the audience. This means informing the patient journey, identifying key segments to target or retarget, trial recruitment and content creation. The industry is undergoing a complete paradigm shift and needs agencies that have been built on consumer-centricity rather than conform to it.

Liquid Grids


Liquid Grids was founded in 2010 with the objective of simplifying the complexity of online disease dialogue and making it strategically actionable. Their mission: Become the leader of Social Health Intelligence by providing the most advanced and predictive intelligence about healthcare consumers available. And to enable the healthcare industry to target consumers online, motivate them to adopt healthier lifestyles and more effectively manage chronic illnesses, resulting in better health outcomes and significant cost savings to the system.

In order to help accomplish these goals, Liquid Grids recently introduced its unique Direct to Persona marketing platform. This revolutionary marketing solution directly connects the healthcare personas identified by the company’s Social Health Intelligence platform with highly relevant information and clear calls to action that drive predictable returns on investment.

In case you were wondering, the Social Health Intelligence platform finds and classifies the primary personas for a given disease, yielding deep insights on their attributes, characteristics, demographics and the specific topics of discussion. These insights drive the development of hyper-targeted content and ads using keywords and imagery that appeal to the exact target personas.

This platform addresses the pain points of finding relevant disease dialogue online, primarily from the social networks, and making this information strategically actionable in the form of highly scalable digital advertising campaigns that deliver measurable and repeatable return on investment. Liquid Grids offers either managed services or access to its self-serve platform.



To truly understand complex diseases, researchers have to analyze molecular events across genes, proteins and cells—along with other contextual information. Since the market doesn’t offer a start-to-finish platform that is both accurate and affordable for drug discovery and development, this process takes time and can cost millions or even billions of dollars.

Miroculus might just change all of that with its new easy-to-use and affordable microRNA detection platform. Since they were first discovered in 1993, microRNAs have been used as biomarkers to detect the presence of diseases. Even better, unique combinations of microRNAs released in the bloodstream can give insight on the exact type of the disease and its severity as well as be used to monitor the success of a treatment and watch out for recurrence.

microRNA detection, however, is often associated with high costs and slow turnaround times. But Miroculus’ platform works in three easy steps. 1) The total RNA is extracted from a sample of the patient’s blood, combined with the company’s master mix  and pipetted into a 96-well plate coated with a chemical reagent that acts like a trap for the potential discovery of each microRNA. 2) The plate is loaded into Miroculus’ device, which takes about 60 minutes to run the reaction. 3) Users log-in to the company’s data analysis platform to visualize the results. There is no need for a specialized technician or expensive lab machinery. With just a sample of blood, you can not only gain insight into how a disease works but also the effectiveness of your treatment.



Pharma companies are struggling as payers are getting the upper hand due to rising healthcare costs. Worldwide markets are pricing and restricting therapeutic drugs based on value, and there is no single platform that monitors all of these changes.

Developing a successful lifecycle strategy for a pharma product is extremely challenging: The quantity of relevant input data is enormous, fragmented and has to be obtained and analyzed manually from hundreds of sources taking hundreds of hours.

RxData provides pharma companies with the most up-to-date and comprehensive database of drug costs and insurance coverage globally—with RxData, market access and pricing research can be performed in a matter of seconds.

RxData also provides real-time access to pricing, market access and regulatory information across more than 20 countries to inform strategic decisions from clinical trial development to commercialization and loss of exclusivity.

The company is currently developing predictive algorithms to provide insights into the potential success of a pharma product. Through innovation, RxData drives efficiency, cost savings and communication across teams. The company recently completed Blueprint Health, one of the most important healthcare accelerators, and the healthtech community has started to refer to them as the “Bloomberg of Pharma.”

TeVido BioDevices


Two emerging fields of science have brought new excitement to the healthcare industry. The combination of tissue engineering and 3D bio-printing has led to custom built bone, cartilage and skin. The hope is that someday, companies will even be able to produce whole organs needed for transplantation—removing the need for organ donors. While this is happening now to a certain extent, the science is still decades away due to the complex biological functions of a human’s liver or kidney.

However, within 5 to 10 years, TeVido BioDevices aims to solve some of the vexing challenges in breast reconstruction by creating custom 3D bio-printed implants from a woman’s own cells. The first product is targeted to improve nipple reconstruction and later fill lumpectomies and other fat grafting needs such as improvements in breast contouring during mound reconstruction. The long-term effect of removal of the breast can be crippling to a woman’s self-esteem, sense of femininity and her quality of life. Thirty-four years ago the five-year survival rate for women with breast cancer was 74%. Today, that number is 99%—due to earlier detection and better treatments. Long-term quality of life is therefore critical in care and treatment for the nearly one in eight women who will hear the words, “You have breast cancer.” With these bio-printed implants, TeVido is starting the journey to make life better for survivors.

TransCelerate BioPharma


TransCelerate BioPharma Inc. was launched in 2012 as a non-profit organization with a mission to collaborate across the biopharmaceutical research and development community to identify, prioritize, design and facilitate the implementation of solutions to drive efficient, effective and high-quality delivery of new medicines. Current membership includes 19 major pharmaceutical companies: AbbVie, Actavis, Allergan, AstraZeneca, Astellas, Biogen Idec, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cubist, EMD Serono, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Lilly, Medgenics, Pfizer, Roche, Sanofi, Shionogi and UCB Pharma—all with the vision of accelerating and enhancing the research and development of innovative new therapies.

Since inception, TransCelerate has innovated clinical operations by:

• Launching a framework for Mutually Recognized GCP Training and additional non-protocol specific forms for clinical trials.
• Establishing a method and approach to high-quality Risk-Based Monitoring.
• Supporting the development and launch of industry-wide Therapeutic Area Data Standards through a partnership with the Coalition for Accelerating Standards and Therapies (CFAST).
• Launching a Drug Comparator Network that allows member companies to purchase approved drugs directly from each other for clinical trials and thereby ensure a safe, secure and reliable supply of comparator drugs.

Next year, TransCelerate will launch the Shared Investigator Platform, a revolutionary portal that will provide a single sign-on capability for clinical investigators to access study-related information across multiple sponsors. With a multi-year strategic roadmap in mind, TransCelerate seeks to shift the clinical trials execution paradigm one step at a time.


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