What is pharmaceutical consulting?
SummaryPharmaceutical consulting is a broad field of professionals primarily providing support to pharma and biotech organizations who are developing and commercializing drugs. This specialty area provides opportunities to experienced individuals with specialized skills across a variety of disciplines including strategy and commercialization, product development and business development.
- Author Company: Alacrita Consulting
- Author Name: C. Hepler
- Author Website: https://www.alacrita.com/our-services
What is pharmaceutical consulting?
Pharmaceutical consulting is a broad field primarily providing support to pharma and biotech organizations who are developing and commercializing drugs. This specialty arena provides opportunities to experienced individuals with specialized skills across a variety of disciplines including strategy and commercialization, product development and business development. This article looks at the typical job requirements for pharmaceutical consultants and the type of work often performed, including example projects.
Pharmaceutical consulting general job requirements
Many pharmaceutical consultants have an advanced degree in a scientific discipline such as chemistry, biology, microbiology, or medicine, with top consultants in the field typically having a PhD and/or significant industry job experience to go along with it. Depending on the particular area you wish to specialize in, the requisites may vary. Below we broadly review the general requirements for each main area of specialization and provide a snapshot of the typical work performed.
Strategy & commercialization consultants
Pharmaceutical consultants who provide strategy and commercialization support, often have a business background built upon undergraduate studies in science, combined with industry experience and frequently a master’s degree such as an MBA. Common activities include opportunity mapping, which involves quantifying the realistic commercial potential of pharmaceutical assets and companies, mapping out go-to-market pathways and their associated key risks and sensitivities, and developing target product profiles (TPPs). Other key strategy and commercialization consulting areas are business planning, fundraising support, and new product planning.
- Mapping an oncology project opportunity to support fundraising
- Creating an accelerated commercial readiness strategy and launch plan
- Business planning for a cancer immunotherapy start-up
Product development consultants
Specialists in product development frequently consult in areas such as regulatory affairs or clinical development, and generally a PhD or an MD, as the work typically requires a deep understanding of the science behind drug development. Many consultants in this area also have substantial on-the-job experience working for large pharma companies. In the case of regulatory affairs, consultants often have had responsibilities involving submitting NDAs and INDs, and bring a vast knowledge of the FDA and its drug approval process. Clinical development professionals typically have substantial experience developing clinical trial plans and overseeing clinical trial programs. Outside of the above, consultants in this area consulting also has many specialized consultants such as chemists, biostatisticians, biophysicists, geneticists, clinical operations professionals, and CMC experts, to name a few, who have deep expertise in a particular aspect of product development.
- Providing clinical and medical support in immuno-oncology
- Developing clinical strategies for a novel cancer vaccine
- Developing a regulatory plan for a biotech with proprietary nanotechnology
- Conducting a documentation gap analysis in preparation for FDA scientific advice meeting
Business Development Consultants
Those wishing to work in business development, performing tasks such as licensing and deal-making, asset scouting, valuations or due diligence, will commonly need a combination of advanced business and science acumen. This is to be able to effectively evaluate pharmaceutical assets and opportunities, including their likelihood of clinical success, as well as a drug or company’s future competitive landscape and commercial potential. Many who consult in these areas have PhDs along with the ability to efficiently review and assimilate information from medical journals and databases and other public sources that may contain medical advances and early-stage therapeutic prospects. These are critical sources of information that can help provide additional insight for IP evaluations, asset valuations and due diligence assignments. Licensing and asset scouting consultants, also use these sources to search for potential in-licensing targets that fit the criteria their clients have defined.
- Investor due diligence on clinical stage oncology therapeutic company
- Providing scientific and immunological mechanism of action due diligence for a big pharma client
- Scouting in-licensing targets in inflammation and fibrosis
- Acquisition & licensing landscape for technologies in fertility & women’s health
- Valuation of drug discovery company with Monte Carlo simulation
Pharmaceutical consulting is a broad field with many opportunities for those with advanced backgrounds and experience in the specialized aspects of drug development and drug commercialization. To view real case studies to gain a further understanding of the type of support consultants typically perform, please click here.