At Thought Leader Select, we employ a proprietary research methodology to identify key opinion leaders (KOLs) for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. This methodology, known as deep profiling, enables biopharmaceutical firms to optimize teams of KOLs for different deployment areas throughout the development of new medicines and during the life cycles of their brands.
At the core of our methodology is a belief in the uniqueness of each key opinion leader, whether he or she is a physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, pharmacist, veterinarian, or other leader in the health care sector. According to Dr. Max Noureddine, Thought Leader Select’s chief scientific officer, we define key opinion leaders as “the people who leave a footprint in the field.”
“KOLs are the people who make noticeable contributions to the medical field, by advancing science and blazing new paths forward for other scientists in the field,” said Noureddine. “Their achievements in basic and clinical research, clinical investigation, and their treatment of patients have a remarkable impact on others in the field. Quite simply, key opinion leaders are the change agents within the field—they cause fundamental changes in how we look at different diseases and how we can possibly treat them, and others follow their work accordingly.”
KOLs change the course of pharmaceutical discovery and development in many ways, including publishing seminal papers on breakthrough findings, giving major speeches at scientific conferences within specific disease areas, and through their interactions with patients and other physicians. They also report critical findings to government agencies and third-party payers in the health care sphere, showing those key constituencies the most effective means of treating multitudes of diseases.
Noureddine added that Thought Leader Select’s methodology enables the firm to identify new key opinion leaders and “rising stars” in the medical community more quickly and more effectively than our competitors, “because we base our identification not upon sheer volume of activity but by the impact of the activity within the field.” Every year, new thought leaders emerge in researching complex diseases and making a significant difference in the management of these diseases. And it is these new “rising stars” that help guide new developments within the pharmaceutical industry to yield innovative compounds. Evaluating the potential of these “rising stars” is a core capability of Thought Leader Select.
“Because our front-line consultants have over 100 years of combined experience in the pharmaceutical industry, they work with our research team to customize each project to the client company’s needs for specific deployment areas within defined therapeutic areas and disease states—all of this customization fits neatly into our research methodology, since it’s tailored to optimize teams no matter the situation,” said Noureddine. “When we match our front-line consulting experience with the decades of medical research done by our research team members, we are able to achieve a superior level of understanding of pharmaceutical client needs that delivers superior KOL identification results.”
Given the complexity of discovering and developing innovative medicines to battle a myriad of diseases, pharmaceutical companies must rely heavily on the expertise and direction thought leaders provide to bring a new product to market. Finding the right balance of skills and experiences among the many key opinion leaders within a specific therapeutic area is not only important for pharmaceutical companies, it is critical to the timely development of these innovative medicines, according to Dr. Noureddine. “Because we do a deep dive across 15 key categories of pharmaceutical development, we don’t just uncover the key leaders in a general sense. We can put together customized teams within the overall pool of KOLs, so that their skills and experiences directly match with product development needs.