Brands that innovate have some of the greatest but most complex stories to tell.
Take Interpace Diagnostics, which develops and commercializes molecular diagnostic tests with the goal of improving the full patient experience, often in cases of life-threatening diseases.
Two successful offerings, ThyGenX and ThyraMIR, which were launched in 2014 and 2015, respectively, help physicians differentiate between malignant and benign thyroid nodules. Recently, Interpace debuted ThyGeNEXT, a next-generation product that now also predicts tumors’ aggressiveness.
These tests help inform treatment protocols, including whether or not to remove the thyroid surgically.
Message for everyone
A challenge facing Interpace is telling its story to both doctors and patients, distinct audiences with differing levels of understanding.
"Trade shows are very effective to educate physicians," explains chief commercial officer Greg Richard. "Increasingly, though, we work with key opinion leaders and other third parties. Moreover, electronic outreach to doctors and digital marketing have become more important than ever." He emphasizes data’s growing role in supporting and shaping those e-marketing messages.
For patients, Richard highlights Interpace’s support of advocacy groups, which not only reach patients directly, but also supply platforms – websites and educational materials – that simplify the complex nature of molecular testing. And through its support of organizations such as the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Interpace boosts patient awareness even further, while raising funds for additional research. Its website also includes patient-specific sections to provide education and support.
Molecular diagnostic tests are relatively expensive, so "we spend a lot of time talking to patients about our financial assistance programs and payment options," he notes. Additionally, Interpace works to ensure its tests are covered by Medicare and other insurance companies to limit out-of-pocket expenses.
"We’ve made tremendous strides recently in securing coverage with numerous payers," reports Richard.
Patient sentiment is welcome. "Interpace fosters the spirit of Six Sigma in how we approach product development," says Richard about the set of management principles intended to improve the way products are launched. "We always seek the voice of the customer before configuring or launching any product or service."
Investors are an equally crucial audience for Interpace, which works with Edison Investment Research to craft those strategies.
Maxim Jacobs, Edison’s director of healthcare research for North America, notes the unique nature of investing in a diagnostic company, which is "very different than even biotech." The burden of proof is higher.
"In diagnostics," he explains, "investors are more interested in the commercialization. Yes, they want to know if the offering will work, but they also need to know if it will change clinical practice and if people will pay for it."
The latter two are harder to validate, but "with our published clinical utility data, coupled with our extensive insurance coverage, we are generally successful compared to other molecular companies," notes Richard. About $30 million in raised capital in 2017, along with 21% year-on-year revenue growth, principally as a result of its thyroid franchise, indicate outreach efforts are helping set Interpace up for a healthy future.