Points of View

WNS Acquires Pharma Research Talent and Tools

Mar 14, 2016 Barbra McGann Reetika Fleming

With the high cost of bringing a new drug to market, pharmaceutical companies need to zero in quickly on which drugs show the best potential for medical results and growth. Therefore, companies are increasingly making the effort to identify these drugs earlier in the development process, by better understanding and targeting patient populations. This requires aggregating and analyzing data from a number of internal and external medical, economic, and social sources.

 

WNS has positioned itself for research and analytics expertise to support drug development and commercial services activities with a scope of services to understand and address a targeted patient population by therapeutic and geographic area, and the competitive positioning of the pharma company.  Its recent acquisition of Value Edge Services brings in complementary leadership, talent, and tools.

 

In our recent HfS Blueprint on Pharma BPO for R&D and Commercial Services, we noted that while WNS has a proven model for integrating with client research and analytics teams at pharmaceutical companies, it is in early stages of developing tools and a broader talent base. This acquisition addresses these areas by adding:

 

  1. Industry expertise and leadership: Value Edge Services brings in a leadership team and advisory board with expertise from life sciences companies including Pfizer and Novartis; and marketing and analytics companies.
  2. Integrate Edge platform: This SaaS-based platform integrates with client legacy information management systems, and aggregates data from additional external sources, adding a presentation layer with a dashboard for analysis. It’s also mobile-enabled for tablets and smartphones, which is of particular advantage for sales teams that want quick and easy access to competitive, marketing, and customer data and analysis. The question is, does this platform complement or replace the WNS Therapy Area Analyzer that is currently in pilot phase?
  3. Talent and IP: This acquisition brings in scarce analytics talent. Value Edge Services has automated internal and external data collection and then analysts apply relevant algorithms to determine market and competitive insights to share via the dashboard to market and sales activities. HfS believes that WNS has an opportunity to cull through these algorithms for ones that can be automated and/or re-used.

 

In our recent study, WNS received high marks for being collaborative, and integrating people and skills into client organizations. We did note, however, a lack of tools and use of its own technology to drive results. It’s also a model that can be difficult to scale, given the reliance on analytics and subject matter expertise to be effective. This $17.5 million acquisition shows WNS is focused on addressing these shortcomings. The acquired leadership, tools, and skills add depth and breadth to help WNS partner with life sciences companies better use their data to achieve the end goal—to help identify and manage “which drugs will be most applicable and relevant to the target population and will be bought.”

 

The challenge ahead is to invest in automation and talent development to ensure that it can scale the joint capability post acquisition. HfS believes WNS has an opportunity here to focus its model on a unique value proposition—a center of excellence that brokers capability across their own and client organizations, and works across the drug development and commercial services business units in client companies.