Shiva Noorchashm, President & CEO
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught the world minimalism among several other things. But this crisis has also popped an important question: what is the biggest asset that humanity has?
There is just one answer: ‘the healthcare infrastructure.’ This is a learning that the world needs to hold on to and embrace even after the pandemic is over. And, this realization brings the onus on organizations that assist pharmaceutical companies in formulating drugs and devices for efficient care delivery. One company that has been working diligently in this direction is Medica Communications, a full-service medical marketing, communications, and regulatory strategy firm that helps validate strategic and tactical concepts of pharma and biotechnology companies. Based out of Philadelphia, PA with satellite offices globally, the company specializes in leading quality strategic initiatives in more than 35 therapeutic areas. It also offers result-oriented national and global (live and virtual) programs and educational materials as per clients’ needs.
"Many companies in this industry use a template-based approach to address customers’ requirements, but we refrain from doing that. We hold vast experience that we have gathered by working on numerous projects over the years. It has helped us attain immense growth"
Medica, a WBENC certified company, embarked on this journey two decades ago to enable pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies to develop superior strategic initiatives, such as Key Opinion Leader (KOL) development/ management, advisory board development and management, product launches, strategic planning (commercial, regulatory, and clinical), competitive market analysis, and strategic regulatory support. The company also offers high-quality medical writing, high-end custom-designed graphics, and technology capabilities. Since then, the company has grown significantly, having worked with healthcare organizations to launch and even re-launch products that were not successful earlier. Ultimately, all of this results in positioning and strengthening the company’s strategic plans for their product.
Leading the Strategic Initiatives for Medical Entities
‘Strategy’ even in drug delivery and medical device development remains a crucial element to be taken care of. Shiva Noorchashm, the president and CEO of Medica, realized this two decades back and started focusing on strengthening her prospective clients’ strategies. Since then, her company has been partnering with pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotechnology firms to help them develop robust and innovative strategies for various projects, including communications, competitive market analysis, commercial strategy, regulatory strategy, and fostering fruitful long-term relationships with global key experts. In each of its projects, the team at Medica identifies strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and gaps, and thereafter performs an analysis of what the clients need in order to develop powerful strategies, enabling more effective implementation. The company also conducts a competitive analysis enabling the clients to determine what they lack in order to position their products/therapeutic areas better.
The team at Medica identifies strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and gaps, and thereafter performs an analysis of what the clients need in order to make their strategies and their implementation more effective
This becomes possible with the support of an all-encompassing team of strategic medical experts, commercial, medical and regulatory writers, key global thought leaders, global regulatory experts, and experienced project managers. These professionals bring first-hand knowledge and experience of working with healthcare professionals, patients, caregivers, and healthcare entities all across the world, which empowers them to lead the clients’ initiatives in the right direction. “Clients come to us to launch and market their products, and we ensure that we help them strategically think about the areas, target markets, and consumers they need to tap into,” remarks Shiva.
Medica caters to all of its customers’ needs, considering the current industry environment to launch in different therapeutic areas. As soon as a client is brought on board, the company assigns them a team member who has extensive knowledge in the specific therapeutic area. And since every product has its formulation process, the firm develops a customized process for each project. Unlike other companies, Medica creates a new process to fulfill every product’s or project’s requirements, which makes them a preferred partner for its customers.
With its team’s consistent support and expertise, Medica has been able to focus not only on the marketing communications but also on all the clinical phases associated with bringing a product to market. The firm’s staff assists clients, right from the pre-clinical phase to the execution and launch. Medica’s regulatory expertise also plays a major role in this process. The company brings significant experience in FDA product approval and emergency use application submissions. Over the years, the firm has helped several clients prepare briefing materials and slide decks for advisory committee meetings at FDA, which proves critical in obtaining approvals. Medica also works with expanded indication products that are already approved to get them validated for additional indications later on. “In the past, we have even worked on numerous products that were originally prescriptionbased, and we switched them to over the counter products, a process identified as an Rx-to-OTC Switch,” adds Shiva. It’s the firm’s experience in providing support to develop a strategy and prepare for FDA advisory committee meetings and FDA documents with thorough data analysis and accurate messaging that sets them apart.
Another key offering in Medica’s portfolio is Key Opinion Leader (KOL) Development. With an indepth understanding of how critical KOL and advocacy development are to commercializing a product, the company identifies important KOLs for its clients while strengthening existing KOL relationships. It also develops true KOL advocacy and support for its customers’ products. “KOL development is about building relationships with key external experts to help validate and strengthen strategy and tactics for our clients. That’s a big part of our business,” says Shiva. In fact, Medica’s objective is to target the appropriate KOLs and maintain strong, lasting relationships with them for their clients.
The company obtains comprehensive and frequent feedback from these KOLs, which is critical to pharma and biotechnology companies’ success in developing their products and ensuring that they are received well among the customers.
Additionally, the company assists its customers with other processes such as medical writing and content development, advocacy and professional relations, publication planning, developing creative designs, exhibiting booth design and management, and event management. With such a wide variety of services in its arsenal, Medica positions itself as the right partner for medical entities seeking to bring products to the market.
An Innovative Effort Backed by a Robust Network
While leading its clients’ strategic plans, the team at Medica swears by one key element—innovation. In Shiva’s opinion, innovation drives her and the team in each of their projects and overall as a company, which proves significant at a time when the industry is changing rapidly. “Technologies such as AI are critical, and we need to consider how we can leverage it to educate not only our healthcare professionals but also the consumers and the caregivers. Hence, innovation is the biggest priority for us,” adds Shiva. In a market where businesses are more focused on just the healthcare providers, Medica stands apart by focusing on the healthcare sector as a whole. Such initiatives are powered by the continuous efforts of the network of experts employed by Medica, who bring extensive knowledge and experience to obtain the desired outcomes.
“Medica has been able to focus not only on the marketing communications but also on all the clinical phases associated with bringing a product to market”
Another factor that differentiates Medica is the ability to keep its team motivated and fulfilled. No wonder the company has been able to retain every single person right from day one. With such an experienced staff, the company has been catering to the customers’ needs efficiently. In partnering with pharma or biotech companies, Medica’s staff becomes part of the team and fully invested in the project.
A Team of Forward-Thinkers
Apart from its ability to consistently be innovative, the team at Medica accredits its success to its forward-thinking approach. Right from keeping up with technology at a time when it hadn’t dominated the market as such to the present times of COVID-19 when operations need to be run remotely, the company has been doing it all right. “We always want to be ahead of everybody else in the industry. Even before this pandemic hit the world, we had our virtual platforms set up because we work globally. We always want to be on top of our game,” says Shiva. Thanks to the team’s ability to keep up with the changing dynamics, the company didn’t have to bear any loss and continued catering to its clients’ needs. To ensure the same in the future, the firm partners with technology companies to build apps using emerging technologies. This is one of the key elements of its roadmap. Further, Medica envisions keeping up the growing needs of its clients by customizing its process for each project. “Many companies in this industry use a template-based approach to address customers’ requirements, but we refrain from doing that. We hold vast experience that we have gathered by working on numerous projects over the years. It has helped us attain immense growth,” concludes Shiva.