Andrew Kris discusses with PharmaStars' Naomi Fried and Laura Gunn about the gap between Big Pharma and small digital health start-ups, and how that gap will be closed in the future.
I think in a recent article you wrote, you identified that a challenge for digital health startups, here they are, they're talking at each other very often not really understanding how each other works, perhaps - How do you how are you going to fill that gap? Because that's the gap I think PharmStars is bridging right now.Naomi Fried:
So, Andrew, throughout my career, I have been supporting digital health innovation on the provider side, and even on the payer side. And from my vantage point, the pharma industry has been a little bit behind the curve in terms of digital health adoption. We haven't seen a lot of great pharma-digital health startup partnerships to speak of, but there's great reasons, wonderful reasons for them to get together. I mean, the benefit is clear, as I mentioned before pharma can access these digital health innovations that will help them deliver drugs faster and bring more value to the patients if they partner with these innovative companies. And there's a lot the pharma has to offer to digital health startups. I think what startups are excited about are the tremendous access to the sales and marketing channels that pharma has the way that they can connect with patients and doctors. And pharma companies have an amazing and deep understanding of developing regulated products, and working in a regulated environment, obviously, dealing with the FDA. And they're very disciplined and focused on science and data. So partnering with pharma will provide startups with all sorts of benefits. And good I mentioned resources, pharma tend to have deeper pockets, you know. But despite these benefits, it's been really hard to get pharma and startups together. And I think there's a variety of reasons for this pharma-startup gap. I think there's differences in culture, language that you mentioned, and even different expectations and approaches to timelines and process where pharma is, well most of time, big and well-resourced, they're regulated, they're process driven and they're pretty risk averse. But startups, on the other hand, are sort of agile, they're focused on bringing something to market, they may make some mistakes, but they quickly pivot. So, think of startups like speedboats and pharmaceutical companies like aircraft carriers, very different. Even the way they look at timing for startups. Time is of the essence they think in terms of weeks or months versus years or even decades for pharma. And I think there can be a mismatch in expectations in terms of these timelines, these requirements, even deal structure, which is a pretty big one. And it's this mismatch in perspective and expectations that cause deals to fall apart or sometimes even fail to get off the ground in the first place.