Author: Maren Nordhoy

SAI MedPartners Expands Strategic Investments: Driving Growth and Elevating Consultancy Excellence

In the dynamic world of pharmaceutical services, strategic investments play a vital role in shaping the future of organizations. We are happy to announce that we have recently made headlines with our strategic acquisitions of Fulcrum Research Group (FRG) and Pharmaforce International (PFI). To shed light on the motivations behind these investments and the vision driving SAI MedPartners forward, we had the privilege of sitting down with the company’s CEO, Erik Nordhoy.

“This combination furthers our goal of building SAI into a premier global consultancy to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. We look forward to continuing to strategically invest in resources to accelerate SAI’s growth and expand our service capabilities.” – Erik Nordhoy, CEO

Why was it the right time for SAI to acquire companies like FRG and PFI?

By 2022, I began to feel that SAI had reached an inflection point in our journey toward becoming a top tier strategic consultancy and recognized thought partner for our global pharma and biotech clients. We had grown to nearly $30 million in annual revenues and built a leadership position in the competitive intelligence field with a terrific team of over 180 professionals worldwide. While we continue to see a lot of additional running room within the core CI business, I felt that the time was right to begin exploring our strategic options to add complementary services to strengthen our value proposition. The strategic investment in SAI by Northlane Capital in June of last year gave us, for the first time, the resources to really “think bigger” about investing in our company and accelerate the broadening of our client engagement model beyond the core CI business.  

What was the strategic driver for SAI to acquire Fulcrum Research Group and Pharmaforce International?

Fulcrum Research Group fits the mold of what we were looking for in a first acquisition. The FRG brand and reputation is well established as a high-quality thought partner in the field of primary market research. The leadership team is fantastic and the company has grown its business rapidly largely through “word of mouth” and referrals based on the superb quality of its work. The primary market research that FRG provides to its clients dovetails beautifully with SAI’s CI offering. The two organizations interact with a common set of customer touch-points and are now able to provide our clients best-in-class support to understand the full external environment (market and competitors). We feel the combined value proposition is pretty compelling and customer feedback has been great so far. Beyond that, we felt that SAI’s broader client base, established global footprint and internal marketing/BD capabilities can accelerate FRG’s already impressive growth.

Pharmaforce International is the “go-to” source and industry standard for commercial resource benchmarking within the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. For nearly 20 years, clients have turned to PFI to support critical decisions regarding brand and portfolio commercial resourcing as they compete in the marketplace or evaluate requirements to launch products. With a focus on key areas like oncology and immunology, PFI has built a tremendous dataset which we believe has the potential to be built out into a broader tool with enhanced capabilities to help clients navigate the emerging commercial model in pharma. These capabilities and the core PFI syndicated offerings are very complementary to many of our existing commercial CI monitoring engagements. Also, the resources of PFI’s terrific US and EU-based research teams have the potential to significantly augment our consulting delivery capability.

How is the integration of FRG and PFI going?

Fulcrum Research Group: The integration of FRG with SAI is proceeding well with really great collaboration between the two teams and real progress being made in integrating Finance, HR, IT and other operational elements. Our plan is to maintain the FRG brand for the foreseeable future and the team will continue to support its clients as they have always done. In parallel, we will carefully evaluate opportunities for operational leverage, cross training of teams, integrated offering development and cross-selling across the organizations.

Pharmaforce International: While we are in the early day post-transaction, we have made good progress right out of the gate in aligning our go-to-market processes. Similar to the FRG situation, we will maintain the PFI brand while exploring the operational and cross-selling synergies. We now have an integrated view of the pipeline of opportunities for the combined organizations and are increasingly coordinating our business development efforts to leverage the very broad PFI client base. We have also been very pleased at early examples of how the PFI research team has jumped in and provided valuable support on a number of important SAI client engagements.

How do these acquisitions drive value for SAI’s clients?

We believe that our clients are increasingly looking for deeper and more strategic relationships with a smaller number of trusted partners to support their clinical and commercial strategy development. Particularly among the biotech community, the ability to engage more broadly and answer a wider range of fundamental business questions has a strong appeal for our clients. The integration of FRG’s best-in-class primary market research and PFI’s industry-standard commercial benchmarking offerings with SAI’s leadership position in CI positions us well as a single-source partner for critical decision inputs along the lifecycle of a brand.

What do these acquisitions mean for the future of SAI, and how will SAI’s current growth strategy develop with each acquisition?

Each acquisition represents a significant step in building out our decision support capabilities and moves us closer to our goal of becoming a fully integrated, best-in-class thought partner that supports commercial strategy and analytics for our clients. Going forward, we will continue to seek out other complementary functionalities, such as market access and regulatory consulting, that fit well with our core competitive intelligence and primary market research services.

Contact us to learn more about these strategic acquisitions and the full extent of our decision support capabilities!

The Evolving World of Social & Digital Media Intelligence

It is no secret that social media is an essential channel for expressing opinions and sharing facts. Depicted through visual representations and the written word, the world works fundamentally through online channels, without which we would be thrown back into a rudimentary and non-progressive lifestyle.  

Social media has given the world a glimpse of the amazing accomplishments the healthcare industry has achieved, as well as what we can bring about in the future.  From various research on the selection of molecular candidates and all phases of clinical trials, to drug launches and promotional campaigns, the healthcare sector now heavily relies on insights from social media platforms. 

Information-sharing and peer support social media platforms have both directly and indirectly enabled the healthcare industry to improve the quality of medication and care, while aiding online communities and individuals dealing with various ailments.  PulseTraQ, a unique digital and social media intelligence, has been created to further advance the way pharmaceutical companies gather data and enhance efficiency. 

Through PulseTraQ we create topline social intelligence reports for our clients…

Here is an example of an intelligence report focused on Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Through the intelligence of PulseTraQ, our social media analysis revealed that within the last 5 years the treatment space for rheumatoid arthritis has evolved and seen improvements in terms of efficancy and reduced disease progression.  Additionally, we can conclude that although certain prescribed medications were observed in conjunction with rheumatoid arthritis, they also cater to other diseases such as Psoriatic Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis, various forms of cancer, as well as other common and rare indications.

The range of benefits PulseTraQ offers continues to expand as the need for more specific social and digital intelligence analyses grows.  Through PulseTraQ, we can look at search trends for different brands, share of voice for brands and biosimilars, monthly brand mentions, and top keywords.  The rich, unprompted sentiments expressed by the patient and medical community through social media platforms acts as an invaluable source of input, to better the healthcare field. 

PulseTraQ is an indispensable tool for pharmaceutical and healthcare companies that we are excited to offer throughout the industry. A full social intelligence report includes everything from brand mentions, SERP analysis, and geographic splits, to historical analysis, top reporters’ data, and so much more.

To see a full social intelligence report and how PulseTraQ can help your strategic initiatives, download the full report below!

Challenges in Hemoglobinopathies Projects and the Support of KOL Match

There are over 7,000 rare diseases described, affecting about 20-30 million people in the U.S. alone, according to the NIH. While each condition has its specificities, there are common challenges in the rare disease space, such as finding patients and leveraging centers of excellence and referral networks. This article discusses such challenges and how partnering with SAI’s subject matter experts can help overcome them.

Hemoglobinopathies are a family of rare diseases characterized by a defect in hemoglobin, the protein inside red blood cells that carries and delivers oxygen throughout the body. Although it is difficult to precisely determine the number of individuals affected by hemoglobinopathies, it is estimated that between 300,000 and 400,000 newborns every year have hemoglobin disorders.

While transient treatments have been the standard of care for most hemoglobinopathies, recently, gene therapy has strongly emerged as a potential curative treatment. In August 2022, the gene therapy beti-cel (Zynteglo, bluebird bio) has been approved by the FDA to treat adult and pediatric patients with transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia. In addition, gene editing approaches (e.g., CRISPR/Cas) are invading the hematological space and can change the paradigm of disease therapeutics.

Despite the common defining characteristic of hemoglobinopathies, each condition has a unique underlying cause (i.e., specific genetic alterations). Thus, each condition affects unique populations and is supported by specialized healthcare professionals. Such differences, as well as the treatment methodology (curative vs. transient), determine the choice of specialists and patient population involved in a clinical study.

Our rare disease experts thoroughly understand the geographic distribution of hemoglobinopathies and the challenges associated with finding specialized centers and experts worldwide. At SAI, we utilize a curated list of top KOLs to find the best specialists driving innovation and treatment paradigms in hemoglobinopathies and other rare diseases.

KOL Match Rare Disease is SAI MedPartners’ subscription-based tool, which blends our extensive network of KOLs to our long-standing commitment to advancing rare disease research and development. This vetted KOL database supports our clients’ initiatives such as advisory board construction and clinical trial site selection, and it informs KOL interactions and engagement strategy.​

The unique challenges in the hemoglobinopathies space require rigorous, expert work such as our rare disease experts do every day, with the support of unique tools such as our KOL Match database. Whether you want to discuss our strategic consulting capabilities in the rare disease space or explore the breadth of KOL Match, please contact us today.



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Gil Bellis, Alain Parant. Beta-thalassemia in Mediterranean countries. Findings and outlook. Investigaciones Geográficas, Instituto Universitario de Geografía. Universidad de Alicante (Spain), 2021, pp.1-10. ff10.14198/INGEO.19079ff. ffhal-03447028f

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Conference coverage with SAI: from intelligence to insight, from insight into actionable business decisions

Medical conference coverage requires both knowledge of the therapeutic area and the ability to synthesize key points from several individual sessions into nuanced, meaningful intelligence. At SAI, we compile the pertinent data presented at the conference, provide key takeaways from relevant presentations, and include meaningful summaries coupled with insights from KOLs and prominent experts in the field.

SAI’s therapy area experts highlight the most valuable content specific to our client’s area of interest, including updates on the current and future landscape of specific disease areas. SAI bridges the gap from intelligence to insight and insights into actionable business decisions.

Here are 10 medical conferences routinely covered by SAI which are happening this fall:

At a glance:

  1. ESMO (European Society of Medical Oncology)
    When: September 9-13, 2022
    Where: Paris, France
    Highlights: advances in antibody-drug conjugates in metastatic breast cancer, targeted treatments in colorectal carcinoma, early cancer management, cell therapies for solid tumors.
  1. EASD (European Association for the Study of Diabetes)
    When: September 19-23, 2022
    Where: Stockholm, Sweden
    Highlights: challenges and best practices in type 2 diabetes treatment, effects of SGLT2 inhibitors on the kidney, cardiovascular system, and diabetes management.
  1. ASDS (American Society for Dermatologic Surgery)
    When: October 6-10, 2022
    Where: Denver, CO
    Highlights: safe and effective combination treatments, skin cancer, regenerative medicine.
  1. ESGCT (European Society of Gene & Cell Therapy)
    When: October 11-14, 2022
    Where: Edinburgh, Scotland
    Highlights: advances in safety and effectiveness of gene delivery vectors, manufacturing and scalability challenges of gene and cell therapy products.
  1. ID Week (Infectious Disease Week)
    When: October 19-23, 2022
    Where: Washington, DC
    Highlights: Clostridium difficile bacterial infection, challenges in treating HIV patients with limited options, pediatric COVID-19 vaccines, pipeline of new antimicrobials.
  1. Congress of Clinical Rheumatology
    When: October 20-23, 2022
    Where: San Diego, CA
    Highlights: new options for treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus, the roles of IL-6 and interferons in rheumatoid arthritis, regulatory pathways in pain management.
  1. AASLD (American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases) The Liver Meeting
    When: November 4-8, 2022
    Where: Washington, DC
    Highlights: latest research on various liver disease states, patient perspectives, new developments in the space.
  1. AHA (American Heart Association) Scientific Sessions 2022
    When: November 5-7, 2022
    Where: Chicago, IL
    Highlights: focus on “improving cardiovascular health” through global education, advocating scientific discoveries, and guiding clinical practice.
    Bonus: the special focus AHA Hypertension Scientific Session takes place September 7-10, 2022, in San Diego, CA.
  1. ACAAI (American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology)
    When: November 10-14, 2022
    Where: Louisville, KY
    Highlights: non-Th2 asthma management, new approvals in biologics treatments, immunodeficiency beyond immunoglobulin replacement.
    Bonus: the Food Allergy Symposium will be happening parallel to ACAAI meeting.
  1. ASH (American Society of Hematology) Annual Meeting
    When: December 10-13, 2022
    Where: New Orleans, LA
    Highlights: latest scientific developments, late-breaking drug approvals, precision medicine in the hematology space.

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