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inVibing the Drug Development and Commercialization Lifecycle

How game-changing voice-driven market research infuses critical audience insights at every key milestone

By Sunny Shah

Sat Jan 01 2022

Pharma’s Dual Dilemma

The average cost of bringing a new treatment to market is over $2.6 billion, according to Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. That challenge is compounded by a process that typically takes 10 to 15 years, with thousands of rejected candidates for every drug approved.

But the challenges don’t stop there, as McKinsey reveals that 40% of drug launches since 2008 have failed to meet expectations, costing the industry more than $10 billion. Kantar reveals that pharmaceutical marketing spend exceeded $6.5 billion in 2020, with disruptions mounting in our COVID era.

These pressures squeeze the industry from both the drug development and commercialization sides. That makes every milestone in the life cycle of a pharmaceutical brand problematic, introducing hurdles a viable treatment must overcome to remain competitive while advancing public health.

The exciting news is that each challenge across the drug development and commercialization trajectory presents a unique opportunity for pharma companies to leverage innovative technologies – including transformative approaches to market research.

A Singular Market Research Solution

Optimizing each milestone of the drug development and commercialization life cycle can help improve and expedite every phase from pre-launch clinical to post-launch marketing and support. The key is gaining insights to better understand health system stakeholders.

The healthcare industry already spends millions on market research for approved products, specifically aimed at the patients being treated, and the physicians who treat them. Quantitative methods offer speed and breadth of analysis, while qualitative techniques dive deeper with fewer test subjects and focused studies.

At their intersection is the unique and powerful voice-based solution from inVibe Labs. Used by pharmaceutical and biotech companies to augment and when appropriate supercharge their traditional approaches to market research, inVibe infuses the actual voices of patients and professionals throughout the pharmaceutical life cycle.

Mapping the Pharmaceutical Life Cycle

The drug development process is highly complex, but organized by the FDA into five discrete phases: 1) Drug discovery and development; 2) Pre-clinical research (lab and animal testing); 3) Clinical research (human clinical trials); 4) FDA review; and 5) Post-market safety monitoring.

As you can see from the infographic from Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturer of America, the conversion funnel across these development phases is strikingly narrow, making the value of the few drugs getting to market astronomically high. Such stakes put the onus on researchers and marketers to understand their end-users at every step.

Let’s take a look at each development and commercialization milestone, identify the distinct challenges, and demonstrate how “inVibing” the touchpoint can provide invaluable insights. The goal is to offer prescriptive recommendations for optimization that ultimately improve outcomes.

Where inVibing Your Brand Offers Unique Benefits, and Why

The best way to convey value across both development and commercialization phases is to consolidate the pharmaceutical life cycle into three parts, encompassing 1) Drug development; 2) Pre-launch commercialization; and 3) Post-launch management through to patent expiry.

Drug Development

Despite the industry spending more than $1.8 billion annually on clinical trial recruitment, recent data from Clinical Leader reveals 85% of clinical trials fail to retain enough patients, 80% fail to finish on time, 30% of patients dropout, and over 66% of sites fail to meet enrollment quotas.

Shortcomings in clinical trial design and drug development impact not only participant recruitment and retention but can have a cascading effect throughout the pharmaceutical life cycle. Without stakeholder input, viable drug candidates might be rejected, and problematic ones pursued.

So inVibe imagined clinical researchers being able to hear the actual voices of patients describing how they felt about trial designs, logistics, and support collateral. Inspired by the FDA’s Patient Focused Drug Development (PFDD) guidance, inVibe created TrialPulse.

Built on the backbone of inVibe's Voice Research platform already used by hundreds of commercial life science teams, TrialPulse empowers clinical researchers with vital audience insights across any disease state, readily scaled throughout their entire organization.

Six key development areas are explored, including recruitment, retention, and trial design optimization, the patient experience, disease burden, and unmet needs. The platform works by empowering patients with characteristics similar to the study’s inclusion/exclusion criteria to talk candidly about specific trial stimuli.

Voice recordings are collected and then analyzed using inVibe’s combination of human linguistic analysis and natural language processing technologies, including advanced AI and machine learning algorithms. Insights are reported in visual formats with highlighted recommendations for study optimization.

“By providing unprecedented transparency into the hearts and minds of patients,” smiles Fabio Gratton, CEO of inVibe. “TrialPulse is helping the pharmaceutical industry better listen to the true voices of patients, ultimately resulting in improved, more patient-centric therapeutics.”

The results are already turning the study teams’  dream of hearing patient and professional voices into a reality throughout the pre-launch phases of drug development. By providing a convenient, scalable, and inclusive solution, inVibing trial design and recruitment is making an impact.

Pre-Launch Commercialization

pharmaceutical brands and the agencies that support them have their plates full even before a drug hits the market. For starters, the efficacy, safety, and administration data from the trials need to be translated into effective and differentiating but fully compliant messaging for launch.

Mapping the patient and professional journeys are also key to understanding where and how treatment decisions will be made. Creating an accurate and compelling lexicon of disease education and treatment appropriate for each audience segment is equally important.

As the clinical data morphs into the brand, creative, and content strategy for a launch campaign, the need for concept testing becomes urgent. These and a host of additional tactics are all better informed by an in-depth understanding of all stakeholders, provided through market research.

Typical market research approaches are often slow, expensive, and cumbersome, involve focus groups and other forced settings, potentially introducing bias. Traditional quantitative and qualitative market research methodologies are the status quo, but opportunities abound for more nimble and innovative forms of research.

Imagine being able to rapidly supplement quantitative and qualitative initiatives with a market research technology that collects, analyzes, and reports back critical insights and actionable recommendations within days instead of weeks or months, with the actual patient voices heard.

By inVibing the pre-launch commercialization process, brands and their partners are given an unprecedented window into the hearts and minds of patients and professionals, accessed through recordings of their own voices as they candidly respond to questions and visual stimuli.

Using nothing more complex or cumbersome than their own smartphones, with no app downloads or other impediments, test subjects from diverse backgrounds often left out of the research process are empowered to have their voices heard and infused into the health system.

Based on such candid feedback, the result is an optimal translation of brand goals, clinical information, and strategy into targeted messaging and creative concepts demonstrated to best resonate with various audiences across their multichannel environment.

Post-Launch Communications and Support

As a pharmaceutical brand matures, needs and opportunities abound for optimizing messaging, creative, and content, along with the many tactics used to get attention and ultimately encourage behavioral change within an often crowded health and treatment landscape.

Imagine a market research capability that’s as agile and flexible as the market is volatile and chaotic. Imagine conducting a study to evaluate a patient support program, messaging for a new indication, or a campaign refresh that can launch in days and produce results in a week.

Whether seeking decision drivers, market trends, or customer stories, inVibing your post-launch communications strategy and content produces rapid and meaningful insights. Thanks to a collection technique no more complex than the user’s own smartphone, results happen quickly.

“We created inVibe to meet some of the most frustrating challenges the industry faced,” says Gratton. “Traditional quantitative and qualitative market research methods are often so prohibitive in terms of logistics, timing, and cost, that patient voices often remain unheard.”

Another ongoing challenge was inclusion. Disenfranchised communities feel marginalized within the market research process. By empowering them with a quick, easy, and accessible way to instantly participate, their voices are finally heard, positively impacting how they are treated.

Thanks to inVibe, brand teams and their partners have an agile market research capability to supplement their traditional approaches. Stored and analyzed voice recordings add dimension and depth to insights, revealing otherwise hidden emotional responses and behavioral triggers.

Cutting-edge natural language processing and proprietary GLP-3 technology enable semantic search and sophisticated AI-driven analytics. The result is a dynamic pool of data loaded with the candid thoughts and feelings of stakeholders eager to engage with their treatments.

“Clients rely on inVibe for quick and impactful audience insights throughout the life cycle of their brands,” beams Gratton. “Nothing is more natural nor more revealing than the human voice. By asking the right questions and listening intently, we provide audiences with what they need.”

Revolutionize Market Research Throughout the Life Cycle

Digital transformation has impacted every aspect of our lives, from our interactions with media to how we engage with products and services. Two-way real time communication, deep personalization, and customized experiences have become the norm.

The pharmaceutical industry has slowly taken advantage of these innovations, emulating the power of Big Tech while honoring the sensitivities around personal health information and privacy. The results have been astonishing, especially regarding market research.

As we’ve seen, every milestone along the drug development and commercialization life cycle has its own unique challenges – but ones that can be solved with the help of the same technologies already fueling other industries.

Here at inVibe Labs we take tremendous pride in providing deep insights throughout the pharma brand life cycle. To learn more about our capabilities and contextually discover their beneficial impact, ask for a demo. We can’t wait to infuse patient and HCP voices into all that you do.

Thanks for reading!

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  1. Why Voice
  2. Sociolinguistic Analysis
  3. Speech Emotion Recognition
  4. Actionable Insights
  5. Whitepapers
  6. The Patient Voice


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