Biopharmaceutical company works with Acorn AI to conduct real world cost of illness studies before product launch

About Customer:

A clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on improving the lives of cancer patients.

The Challenge:

An up-and-coming biopharmaceutical company focuses on developing novel therapeutics to improve the lives of cancer patients. The company will soon go to market with a second-line treatment for a rare type of solid tumor. In anticipation of the product launch, the company wanted to complete a cost of illness study to inform doctors and insurance companies about the economic burden of cancer treatment and the real world benefits of this new drug. This was challenging given the lack of clear treatment guidelines for the disease in its later stages.

While the company previously obtained medical pharmacy claims data, it wasn’t sure whether the data would be enough for a full study. As a small startup, it also didn’t have the internal resources to conduct the study on its own.

The Solution:

The company invited Acorn AI, a Medidata company, to an initial consulting engagement for its expertise in working with real world data. Acorn AI quickly explored the medical claims data and conducted a feasibility study to confirm the data could support the research objectives. The company then commissioned Acorn AI to conduct a full cost of illness study based on this medical pharmacy claims data.

Given the rarity of the tumor type, and lack of indicated therapeutic options, identifying later-line therapy patients was challenging. Incorporating both clinical expertise and data exploration, the team identified and refined different approaches to find and assess this population.

Partway through the study, company managers also wanted to understand the cost burden for Medicare patients. They had originally explored other options, but had challenges finding a partner that could access and deliver the results within their timelines for preparing payor-facing materials.

The decision was made to turn again to Acorn AI, asking analysts to conduct a second cost of illness study on Medicare data. While it normally takes months to get full Medicare data, Acorn AI arranged for fast purchase of a subset of Medicare FFS patient data through one of its strategic data partners.

The Results:

Through its initial strategic consulting engagement, Acorn AI used its expertise in understanding and interpreting real-time data to help the customer unlock the value of claims data that the company had already purchased.

In addition to expanding the study, the biopharmaceutical company asked Acorn AI if it could accelerate the deadline in order to meet the company’s launch materials timeline. Using its knowledge and business relationships with data providers, Acorn AI successfully met the deadline by delivering preliminary analysis in just five weeks for timely incorporation in payor-facing materials. These insights will serve as important data points for establishing disease burden during the company’s product launch.

“We wanted to work with expert analysts, but we weren’t entirely sure what data we were looking for,” says the Vice President of Market Access and HEOR. “We knew it was important to work with a company that was data agnostic and willing to look everywhere for the data we needed. Through Acorn AI, we found an expert partner who used its understanding of data to help us find the results that we needed before taking our treatment to market.”

The company has already commissioned further research and analysis from Acorn AI to compare academic versus non-academic treatment patterns, which will help to inform marketing and product planning.

As the biopharmaceutical company continues to collect data, Acorn AI plans to introduce the company to a broader set of solutions that will provide more convenient access to European registry data. Currently, due to regulations that prohibit registry data from leaving European countries, the biopharmaceutical company must fly employees to Europe to analyze data. Acorn AI will permit the company to analyze the data from anywhere while still complying with European regulations.


5 weeks
Tight deadline for completing analysis