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How Indegene's digitalisation drive helped the life sciences companies

21 June 2023

In the ever-evolving life sciences industry, a trailblazing company is revolutionising the commercialisation landscape. Indegene is a ‘digital-first’ commercialisation firm and has set its sights exclusively on the global life sciences sector, empowering biopharmaceutical, emerging biotech, and medical devices companies to develop and launch products with unparalleled efficiency and efficacy.

Leveraging over two decades of healthcare domain expertise and fit-for-purpose technology, the company’s comprehensive suite of solutions addresses every facet of the life sciences ecosystem, from commercial, medical, and regulatory operations to R&D initiatives. As a testament to its expertise and market dominance in the life sciences industry, this industry frontrunner has consistently generated over 70 per cent of its total revenue from continuing operations through its top-tier clients since 2020. With an impressive roster of clients, including 20 of the 20 largest biopharmaceutical companies in the world by revenue during FY21, Indegene’s story is an example of the power of innovation and deep domain.

Indegene’s founding members, including CEO Manish Gupta, played a pivotal role in shaping the company’s trajectory. They shared a vision to create a unique institution, combining healthcare expertise and technology to make a significant impact in the life sciences industry. “We created Indegene with a vision to be a truly differentiated institution, trusted by healthcare companies across the world. Right from the company’s inception more than two decades ago, we have stayed true to the founding principle – of transforming the life sciences industry with modern technology. Using our robust technology portfolio, we have helped many of our clients modernise how they bring drugs to the market, in a faster, more effective and efficient way, so they achieve peak sales faster,” says Gupta.

The team’s collective background in healthcare and technology was instrumental in shaping this innovative journey. Hailing from middle-class backgrounds, Gupta and team were driven to establish an organisation that was not only respected on a global stage but also stood apart from the competition. Their focus on creating something unique led them to explore the untapped potential in the healthcare sector, and the rest, as they say, to borrow a cliché, is history.

Amidst growing demand for digital innovation and enterprise-wide transformation, life sciences companies face several hurdles, including a scarcity of talent with in-depth domain expertise and the ever-present challenge of margin pressures; drug pricing caps being one example. No surprise then, large multinational pharma companies are turning to specialised service providers like Indegene to reimagine their commercialisation processes.

Revitalising the life sciences industry

Indegene plays a key role in helping life sciences companies accelerate digital transformation. The life sciences industry has long been considered a laggard when it comes to technology adoption, consistently trailing behind other sectors in embracing digital innovation. However, recent years have seen a tectonic shift in mindset, as these companies acknowledge the immense potential of digital transformation in elevating operational efficiencies and driving business growth. Amid this digital renaissance, Indegene emerges as a game-changer, offering its expertise in marrying cutting-edge technology with deep domain knowledge.

As life sciences companies embark on their digital journeys, they are on the lookout for strategic partners who can provide tailored, domain-centric solutions. Indegene has positioned itself as the go-to provider for industry-specific digital tools and services, assisting businesses in navigating the complexities of the rapidly evolving technological landscape.

Life sciences companies are increasingly seeking the support of specialised service providers like Indegene to harness digital technologies, streamline drug development, and reduce operational costs. The trend is being driven by a scarcity of in-house talent and the need for domain expertise in navigating the complex commercialisation journey.

‘Large biopharmaceutical companies typically have multiple functions including drug discovery and clinical trials, regulatory and medical affairs, marketing and sales, pharmacovigilance or complaints management, and manufacturing, supply chain and distribution,’ states the Everest Group Industry Report dated 5 December, 2022 prepared by Everest Business Advisory India Private Limited on the growth of outsourcing in the life sciences industry.

Outsourcing service providers help bridge the required services by offering a pool of skilled professionals with the technical know-how and flexibility to scale resources based on business needs. Additionally, the heavily regulated life sciences landscape necessitates compliance with ever-changing global and regional regulations, leading to possible delays in product approvals. Outsourcing service providers can optimise regulatory and medical affairs operations by effectively navigating these complexities, facilitating timely access to markets, and utilising digital tools to improve efficiencies.

A lack of in-house digital talent can limit a company’s ability to capitalise on the wealth of data generated by these advancements. Service providers empower life sciences companies by leveraging AI, machine learning, and natural language processing to analyse and integrate data, providing valuable insights to drive innovation.

This is where Indegene steps in for its clients, bringing innovative solutions and domain expertise to the forefront of the life sciences industry. As companies grapple with challenges such as patent losses, regulatory hurdles, and increasing competition, Indegene’s comprehensive suite of services and strategic approach enables them to adapt and thrive in this dynamic environment.

Take, for example, a client facing declining revenues due to a patent loss. The client needed to reduce the size of its field force while working to minimise the revenue impact in an increasingly competitive market. Indegene’s targeted approach involved identifying healthcare professional (HCP) cohorts with the highest affinity for the product messaging relevant to the client’s offering.

By implementing the digital rep equivalence model and supplementing sales force efforts with omnichannel marketing, Indegene was able to effectively target these HCP cohorts and provide much-needed support to the client.

Bright prospects

Growth prospects remain bright, with the life sciences industry expected to continue outsourcing a significant chunk of their business to specialised service providers like Indegene. The life sciences industry primarily comprises biopharmaceutical companies and medical devices companies, whose combined sales were estimated at Rs 132.5 lakh crore ($1.7 trillion) in 2021, with biopharmaceutical companies constituting 69 per cent or Rs 91.4 lakh crore ($1.2 trillion) of such sales. Combined sales of biopharmaceutical companies and medical devices companies are estimated to reach Rs 165.7 lakh crore ($2.1 trillion) by 2025, driven by a rise in the aging population, increasing prevalence of chronic diseases and discovery of new diseases, among other factors. Biopharmaceutical companies, as mentioned in the Everest Group Industry Report, are expected to account for approximately 69 per cent or Rs 114.6 lakh crore ($1.5 trillion) of these sales.

As the life sciences industry continues to evolve, the prospects for growth look promising. Fuelled by advancements in technology, regulatory changes, and the increasing demand for personalised medicine, the sector is poised for significant expansion. Outsourcing service providers will undoubtedly play a crucial role in facilitating this growth by supporting life sciences companies in navigating the intricate landscape and optimising operations.

According to a recent Everest Report, life sciences operations expenditure was estimated at Rs 11.3 lakh crore ($146 billion) in 2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.3 per cent to reach Rs 14.4 lakh crore ($187 billion) in 2025 in line with growth in industry sales. Globally, with large life sciences companies striving to innovate and bring new drugs and medical devices to market, they are confronted with a myriad of obstacles.

Amidst these difficulties, technology has emerged as a crucial driving force, inspiring life sciences companies to prioritise digital innovation and adopt comprehensive transformation strategies.

As Gupta explains: “The life sciences industry consists of companies engaged in research, development, manufacturing, and marketing of drugs and medical devices. The industry is highly regulated. These companies are required to adhere to complex domestic, global, and region-specific processes and regulations to bring a drug or device to the market.”

Since the last decade or so, many life sciences companies have faced a number of challenges, including a deficit of specialised in-house talent, rising R&D expenses, more stringent drug approval processes, pricing pressures, increasing product recalls, and surging marketing and sales pressures.

With the advent of technology, life sciences companies started placing a higher emphasis on digital innovation and enterprise-wide transformation initiatives. In a market where most service providers and agencies associated with the industry were providing standard, unbundled services, life sciences organisations started looking for partners with domain-centric digital expertise.

Indegene walks the talk when it comes to delivering cutting edge solutions to the life sciences industry. For instance, its enterprise commercial solutions business unit plays a crucial role in assisting life sciences companies with their digital marketing operations.

As sales and marketing constituted the largest segment of life sciences operations expenditure in 2021, according to the Everest Report, service providers help create customised marketing plans and campaigns by generating promotional content based on approved clinical trial data. Indegene’s enterprise commercial solutions enable life sciences companies to efficiently scale their engagement strategies for healthcare professionals and patients while leveraging technology and analytics for enhanced personalisation. As a result, life sciences companies can transform their commercial operations for a digital-first world.

On the other hand, the company has also developed omnichannel activation solutions which provide life sciences companies with a ‘digital-first’ approach to optimising last-mile promotion of biopharmaceutical products and medical devices to healthcare professionals across multiple channels. This approach supplements traditional face-to-face interactions between medical representatives and HCPs with digital technologies and proprietary analytics to achieve higher efficiencies and reduced costs.

The company’s NEXT HCP Journey Optimisation platform plays a vital role in delivering ‘Digital Rep Equivalence’ by assisting with customer segmentation, channel optimisation, and more effective deployment of medical representatives.

Further, under the umbrella of Enterprise Medical Solutions, the company establishes Centres of Excellence (CoEs) to consolidate large-scale regulatory and medical operations for clients. These multidisciplinary teams work on client engagements, offering services such as medical content writing, regulatory submissions, product labelling, and more.

The service also reviews medical communications to ensure compliance with regulatory guidelines and ethical practices, besides, providing pharmacovigilance services, and conducting real-world evidence (RWE) based medical research to support market access and pricing strategies.

Indegene also leverages proprietary natural language processing (NLP)-based tools to automate and customise medical information handling and ensure regulatory compliance and quality. In drug discovery and clinical data, Indegene provides Enterprise Clinical Solutions and consultancy services offering digitally-enabled patient recruitment, clinical data management, and assistance with regulatory submissions.

Indegene harnesses real-world data (RWD) to identify suitable sites for clinical trials, relevant patient cohorts, and streamline site selection and patient recruitment. Furthermore, the company’s expertise in data management and analytics helps biopharmaceutical firms seamlessly handle and analyse multiple data sources during clinical trials and build a robust case for regulatory approvals.

Through their subsidiary, DT Associates Limited, the company offers consultancy services under the ‘DT Consulting’ brand, helping life sciences companies take charge of their digital transformation efforts for continued customer experience success. With its comprehensive suite, Indegene is well-positioned to make a lasting impact on the life sciences industry and play a pivotal role in the ongoing digital revolution.

Indegene harnesses real-world data (RWD) to identify suitable sites for clinical trials, relevant patient cohorts, and streamline site selection and patient recruitment

Global delivery model

With 52 active clients as of 30 June, 2022, Indegene delivers solutions from operation hubs across North America, Europe, and Asia. Utilising internally developed artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)-based proprietary platforms, the company offers solutions at scale worldwide. Indegene’s delivery model enables them to operate in close proximity to their clients. As of 30 June, 2022, the firm employed 5,245 full-time employees across nine countries.

The company’s technical expertise lies in converting unstructured clinical data and information into structured content and analytics-ready datasets. These datasets facilitate the creation of scientific, medical, and promotional content, accelerate patient recruitment for clinical trials, and deliver personalised omnichannel experiences to physicians and patients.

With Indegene, clients are able to hyper-personalise their engagement with healthcare professionals and patients with an omnichannel approach. Indegene does this across geographies and categories – from small to large players operating in the pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical devices space, using a digital-first approach.

In addition, the company has developed their own tools and platforms to be integrated with well-established third-party technology platforms used in the life sciences industry. The company’s understanding of the healthcare domain enables the firm to efficiently modernise and digitise the key functions involved in the life sciences commercialisation process.

Achieving this requires in-depth domain expertise of the journey of a drug or medical device from the research lab to the market, in order to organize and analyse scientific and clinical data, navigate the regulatory landscape and the ethical guidelines within which the industry operates, and develop medical content for healthcare professionals, patients, and payers, according to the Everest Report. Therefore, this is not a business that everybody can excel in.

Indegene has a large roster of highly skilled professionals. In fact, 21.88 per cent of the company’s delivery employees possess healthcare-related educational backgrounds, including MD, MBBS, PhD, BDS, MPharm, and BPharm degrees.

This domain expertise enables them to effectively contextualise the use of technology to optimise sales and marketing costs, drive omnichannel activation at scale, enable faster recruitment of patients for clinical trials, and accelerate the time taken to make regulatory submissions.

All this is driving Indegene to become one of the leading specialist service providers looking to capitalise on the outsourcing opportunity in life sciences. In 2016, the Organization of Pharmaceutical Producers of India presented the company with its ‘Special Recognition Award for Innovation in Health’ for their contribution in delivering solutions that enable global healthcare organisations to address complex challenges and improve patient outcomes.

The company was also recognised at the MM+M Awards in 2022 for their use of integrated data platforms to enable rich patient insights and was categorised as a leader in Everest Group’s Life Sciences Commercial Services Specialists PEAK Matrix Assessment 2022.

Acquisitions ramp up

Indegene’s strategic acquisitions have played a crucial role in expanding its capabilities, tapping into new markets, and broadening its range of client solutions. The 2016 acquisition of Encima Group, a US-based marketing analytics and campaign execution company, strengthened Indegene’s Enterprise Commercial Solutions business with digital marketing expertise.

More recently, Indegene acquired a majority stake in UK-based DT Associates Limited, a digital transformation and client experience consulting firm that has experienced significant revenue growth since the partnership.

In October 2022, Indegene acquired CultHealth, a full-service healthcare marketing agency for numerous life sciences brands. With its impressive revenues and adjusted EBITDA figures, this acquisition is set to enrich Indegene’s commercialisation portfolio with brand strategy, marketing development, and patient engagement platforms.

Indegene employs a hybrid approach in charging its clients through two distinct models: the resource utilisation model and the fixed price/unitised billing model. This strategy allows the company to maximise profitability by leveraging strategic resource utilisation and efficient cost management.

The resource utilisation model involves charging clients based on the number of employees assigned per engagement or by the number of hours spent on the engagement. Rates are agreed upon at the time the work order is executed and vary depending on the project’s complexity and staffing mix.

The fixed price/unitised billing model, on the other hand, involves charging clients a fixed fee based on the company’s estimate of the total costs to be incurred on the project. Indegene also offers outcome-based models for certain omnichannel activation solutions, where fees are linked to factors such as an increase in prescriptions (revenue impact) rather than the costs incurred for the project.

Financially speaking, Indegene’s global revenue for the financial year ending 2021, accounting for 71.93 per cent of the company’s revenue from continuing operations in the financial year 2022. Over the last three years, Indegene’s total revenues grew phenomenally, from Rs 642.9 crore in FY20 to Rs 1,664.6 crore in FY22. In FY23, too, Indegene is growing at a rapid pace having seen its revenues cross Rs 520.9 crore in the three months ending June 2022.

Indegene has been extremely profitable. This illustrates Indegene’s strong growth trajectory and its ability to secure and maintain relationships with key players in the life sciences industry. While services to biopharmaceutical companies accounts for about 89.5 per cent of its revenues, its sales services for medical devices companies and research outsourcing services for emerging biotech companies accounts for about 9 per cent of its FY22 revenues, which increased from about 4.6 per cent in FY20.

With this remarkable growth phase of growth and the growing inclination towards outsourcing to specialised tech services firms like Indegene, the potential for growth is limitless. In a significant milestone that speaks volumes about the company’s prowess, Indegene is gearing up for an initial public offering (IPO) that is poised to be one of the most anticipated events in the industry.

This not only underlines the tremendous potential of Indegene but also casts a spotlight on the extraordinary contributions that India’s tech and scientific talents can make on the global stage. As Indegene embarks on this thrilling new chapter, its upward trajectory stands as an inspiring example of ‘Made in India for the world’.

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