The annual Veeva Commercial & Medical Summit brings together leading life sciences professionals and experts to learn, network, and see the latest cloud innovations advancing the industry’s digital transformation. This year’s event drew nearly 1,500 attendees from the world’s most innovative companies, including Alkermes, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Insmed, Merck, Novo Nordisk, Otsuka, Roche, and Spark Therapeutics with one of the highest attended sessions featuring Pfizer and Aktana’s presentation on how to optimize go-to-market strategy with artificial intelligence.

Veeva Showcases Next-Generation Cloud Technology

Veeva’s founder and CEO, Peter Gassner, delivered an opening keynote on the company’s vision to help life sciences companies drive intelligent engagement with healthcare professionals (HCPs).

Gassner announced that Veeva is committed to paving the way for advanced customer engagement models. “Technology should be an enabler to competitive advantage and innovation,” he said.

With that, Gassner introduced Veeva Nitro, a next-generation commercial data warehouse for life sciences that is artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics-ready. He explained that AI needs data in order to build intelligence and for that data to be useful, it needs to be accessed in an organized way.

Founder and CEO of Veeva Systems, Peter Gassner, says AI will reinvent the commercial model to get the right products to the right patients at the right time.

Today, companies build and maintain their own custom data warehouses that are not quickly adaptable to changing data. This delays insights from reaching the business and leaves organizations unprepared to support AI.

Summit attendees expressed excitement about the potential of Veeva Nitro. “Custom data warehouses are inherently inflexible, so it can take weeks to get answers to important questions every time a new data source is added or systems change,” said Dan Utzinger, Vice President and CIO at Intra-Cellular Therapies, and former VP of IT at Eisai. “An industry-specific commercial data warehouse in the cloud provides a significant opportunity to accelerate speed to value by delivering actionable insights for better decision-making.”

Commercial and Patient Impact of Scientific Breakthroughs

Two visionary leaders, Dr. William H. Carson, President and CEO of Otsuka, and Jeffrey D. Marrazzo, CEO and Co-founder of Spark Therapeutics, are blazing trails with first-of-their-kind scientific advancements in digital medicine and gene therapy.

Otsuka’s digital medicine system is the first ever to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Individuals with mental illness and members of their care teams can now use a prescription pill with an embedded sensor to track whether the medication is taken as prescribed. Spark Therapeutics’ product is the first gene therapy approved by the FDA to target a genetic disease and provide a one-time treatment for people with a rare, inherited retinal disease.

Dr. Carson and Marrazzo joined Veeva Co-Founder and President, Matt Wallach, onstage for a conversation on the impact of novel therapies on traditional commercial models, including how to better engage with payers, providers, and patients.

“It’s important for organizations to prepare for the data that comes along with digital medicine,” Dr. Carson said. “The challenge with moving into these spaces with each individual patient is taking all of that data and making sure that you can turn those insights into action.”

Marrazzo expressed his hope that the industry will continue to develop curative therapies.

“We feel that the industry is entering a new age of one-time treatments that aspire to produce better health, not more healthcare,” explained Marrazzo. “We have a saying at Spark—we don’t follow footsteps, we create the path. It begins in the lab but it does not end there. There is as much innovation required and needed to bring these types of new medicines to patients.”

Powering Intelligence-Driven Customer Engagement

Paul Shawah, Senior Vice President of Commercial Cloud Strategy at Veeva, talked about the need to bring data together and derive insights to help field reps understand which channel is best and who is the right customer to talk to.

“The old commercial model can no longer support the rapid pace of innovation in life sciences. The industry needs to be able to make better sense of data and enable field reps to deliver the right message at the right time,” said Shawah.

Veeva’s Senior Vice President of Commercial Cloud Strategy, Paul Shawah, says new mobile CRM innovation will help the field be more agile and productive.

New mobile innovations in Veeva CRM, including a real-time architecture combined with the Sunrise user interface (UI), are meant to provide the right information when and where field teams need it. Shawah showed the technology in action, receiving a notification on his iPhone that gave him immediate visibility into important customer information and next best action to take.

Early adopters already have thousands of field reps using Veeva CRM’s new Sunrise UI on their iPhones, capturing more than 60,000 calls in real time.

Using Augmented Reality to Create Empathy, Understanding of Disease

Augmented Reality (AR) is moving beyond early experimentation as life sciences companies are developing compelling ways to use AR to enhance customer engagement, improve education of complex topics, and create powerful brand differentiation.

Veeva wowed Summit attendees with a demonstration of AR capabilities built with partner, Pixacore. With AR in Veeva CRM, a field rep can combine the virtual and physical worlds to develop patient empathy and better understanding of a disease state. The demonstration let the audience experience what it was like for a patient when their vision starts to fail because of macular degeneration, an incurable disease.

Looking Ahead

As evidenced at the 2018 Veeva Commercial & Medical Summit, the life sciences industry has made progress but continues its digital evolution toward agile, intelligence-drive customer engagement. The cloud is helping companies make sense of their data, deliver the right information to customers, and drive the right interactions. With sophisticated new technologies, expect the industry to make significant progress toward reinventing their commercial models to help get treatments to patients, faster.

  • Arno Sosna

    Arno Sosna is General Manager, CRM at Veeva Systems. Arno is responsible for the strategic direction of all Veeva CRM products. Arno and his team ensure that Veeva delivers best-in-class products for managing customer engagement across all online and offline channels, with a focus on streamlined usability, rich functionality, and end-to-end customer success. 


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