Glaxo Wellcome, Inc.
Injecting Commercial Participation and Focus into Product Development

Glaxo made it a priority to emphasize a more rigorous new product market planning function for NCEs — a new concept at the time since marketing participation in product development was still an emerging idea in the pharmaceutical industry. Leisa Dennehy, currently a principal of BioPharma Consultants, Ltd., was assigned to develop this role for respiratory products in a newly created department called New Product Market Planning.

Establishing a Process and Set of Expectations Transcending Divisions
Setting norms for a commercial development plan took top priority. Leisa led the department’s efforts to develop a template, to create a team-based process for operationalizing it and to implement the new approach with an important NCE called Fluticasone Propionate (FP).

Market Focused Approach Requires Clarity and Persistence
The plan template went through multiple iterations and intense debate throughout the organization. The template that was finally endorsed by the highest level of management, merged all aspects of new product planning including opportunity analysis, commercial requirement (including p.i. claims), clinical development, regulatory strategy, pharmacy development, brand development, marketing positioning, trade name and trade dress development, communications plans, market research plans and more. The end goal? The plan galvanized all key functional areas toward a common goal of building a brand profile that would launch with competitive advantages.

Turning Radical New Processes into Action
Alongside her clinical development counterpart, who led the clinical development team, Leisa co-led a commercial strategy team consisting of clinical, regulatory, sales management, managed markets, market research, and other functional areas whose strategic view would help crystallize the development program. The process resulted in major strategic decisions being well analyzed and bought-in by all areas.

The process had its pain and false starts. Debates about practicality vs. need of pushing the envelope on development hurdles demanded diplomacy, patience, persuasiveness and persistence. These challenges did little to thwart the highly committed team who worked at peak performance over many months to achieve high hurdles. Risky, but deeply thought-through clinical plans resulted. The pharmacy development objectives were both complex and unique.

How Sweet is Hard Earned Success
The team successfully executed the development plan as envisioned by the new product planning team. The result? Within two years of launch, Fluticasone Propionate (Flovent©) became the biggest selling Inhaled Corticosteroid in the USA and globally and continues to grow today despite competitor launches.