Thought Leader Select Provides Superior Counsel for Key Opinion Leader Identification—Groundbreaking Study Results

April 6, 2010 (Chapel Hill, NC)— A new, more robust alternative to influence mapping for sophisticated key opinion leader (KOL) identification and deployment solutions throughout a drug therapy’s life cycle is the rigorous methodology employed by North Carolina firm, Thought Leader Select. Known as “deep profiling,” Thought Leader Select’s objective, validated methods identified 75% of the chosen physicians over influence mapping in a recent comparison commissioned by a top-10 pharmaceutical concern.

The study, which spanned the last two quarters of 2009, compared the custom research, technology and counsel of Thought Leader Select to the more widespread method of influence mapping, which identifies and profiles potential KOLs using more subjective social networking data and physician surveys. For the comparison project, the commissioning pharmaceutical company asked Thought Leader Select to identify 40 key opinion leaders in internal medicine, public health, and infectious disease—doctors who will serve in critical roles in the development of new influenza vaccines.

Thought Leader Select’s methods favor objective research that can be validated by both Thought Leader Select and its clients.  While subjective social survey methods have some documented success in identifying leading physicians for drug development work, Thought Leader Select’s more tightly focused results enable pharmaceutical companies to engage the right KOLs for the right tasks at the right time.

The results were remarkable, as the company chose a significantly higher number of Thought Leader Select’s identified key opinion leaders over the doctors identified by the competitor organization. “It was interesting leading this project, because it was very revealing, in terms of exactly where our research and technology paints a more accurate picture of the skills and experiences of the doctors we profile,” according to Dr. Maher Noureddine, chief scientific officer at Thought Leader Select, “At the completion of the identification phase, in which we normally search and weight a limited number of categories for our clients, 38 of our 40 key opinion leaders matched those of our competitor. However, at the completion of the deep profiling phase—at which time we execute the research and analytics, customized to the therapeutic area with tight focus on the actual areas of deployment for the KOLs—the gap widened significantly. Based on our findings, our customer chose 30 of Thought Leader Select’s identified physicians and 10 from the competitor.”

According to Neil Mellor, Thought Leader Select’s principal agent for North America and a 20-year veteran of the pharmaceutical industry, with stints in marketing, product management, and brand management, this study is a game-changer. “Influence mapping is a solid tool—I used it for KOL engagement when I worked in pharma business development—and it’s done a lot of good for the pharmaceutical industry and the physicians who assist in drug development.  But deep profiling allows for such sophisticated levels of KOL deployment, enabling you to build a customized all-star team for your product. It ensures that you’re selecting the right people for the right tasks—like clinical trials, advisory boards, and media work—and for the right reasons—their documented skills and experiences. It’s great for the pharmaceutical companies, the physicians, and most importantly, the patients who benefit from the great products that result from these collaborations.”

About Thought Leader Select

Thought Leader Select is a specialty firm focused on providing solutions—research, technology tools and focused advice/consulting—for more effective KOL engagement and deployment in the healthcare industry. Thought Leader Select’s groundbreaking work bridges the areas of research, communications and technology. With more than 70 years of combined experience working in and with the pharmaceutical industry, Thought Leader Select is addressing needs for better engagement and more sophisticated deployment of KOLs during drug development and the life cycle of the brand.

Media Contact:

Kristen Smithwick

Vice President of Global Sales, Marketing & Strategic Planning


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