New Research Finds Phase 3 is the Most Popular Stage for Medical Affairs Teams to Begin Thought Leader Development Activities

Study finds 60% growth in pharmaceutical thought leader development activity between Phase 2 and Phase 3a

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwired - May 08, 2017) - Between both Phase 3a and 3b, 50% of surveyed teams begin their thought leader development activities, with the next most popular stage to begin these activities being registration and launch, according to new research published from pharmaceutical business intelligence provider Cutting Edge Information.

The data published in Thought Leader Management: Medical Affairs Product Launch Series show that most surveyed medical affairs teams start after Phase 2 -- only 25% of surveyed teams start their thought leader development activities before Phase 3. Many drug and device companies do not start major thought leader development activities before Phase 3 due to the much higher failure rate of drugs in the earlier phases of the lifecycle.

Data from the same study revealed that no surveyed medical affairs team began its key opinion leader (KOL) development after launch. "Thought leader development usually begins before or during launch to establish relationships with healthcare providers before the product is released," said Natalie DeMasi, research team leader at Cutting Edge Information. "Establishing a foundation with KOLs can increase the drug's success upon launch."

Surveyed medical affairs teams start thought leader development activities depending on whether they are supporting niche or blockbuster products. None of the surveyed teams that released niche products begin their thought leader development activities in Phase 1, and only 20% start by Phase 2. A sharp 60% growth occurs in Phase 3a, and by Phase 3b, all surveyed niche product teams begin their KOL development activities. Additional data gathered show that surveyed blockbuster products participating in thought leader development activities reach 60% during Phase 3a and 3b, and reach 100% after a 40% growth from Phase 3b to registration and launch.

Thought Leader Management, available at, showcases innovative insights, best practices and benchmarks surrounding thought leader development activity start times, budgets, staffing, key performance indicators, and resources that occur as part of medical affairs' contributions to product launch strategy. In developing this research, Cutting Edge Information's analysts collected surveys from and consulted with medical affairs leaders at top pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies.

Thought Leader Management is part of a 10-part series that Cutting Edge Information will be publishing throughout 2017. The Medical Affairs Product Launch Series, available at, investigates how medical affairs resources and key performance indicators (KPIs) shift between two years prior to launch, one year before launch, launch year and during the product's first year on market.

To learn more about medical affairs' involvement in thought leader development activity, please visit for more information.

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Contact Information:

Elio Evangelista
Senior Director of Commercialization
Cutting Edge Information

TL development activity, medical affairs thought leader management