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Darren Spevick of Eventum Partners and Pierre van Weperen of Ashfield full interview

By 25 January 2019

Darren Spevick of Eventum Partners interviews Pierre van Weperen from Ashfield discussing how Digital Health companies can use contract clinical / commercial services to scale up in the UK

Eventum – Hi. I am Darren Spevick, Managing Partner of Eventum Partners, we’re a leading executive recruitment company who specialise in the digital health and life science sector. We are here today with Pierre Van Weperen, Managing Director of Ashfield Commercial and Patient Solutions. Welcome Pierre.

Pierre – Thank you Darren

Eventum – So Pierre, over the last few years we have seen a rise in the number of digital health companies bringing new products and services to the market.

Once they have proved the concept in one or two CCG’s, their biggest challenges is how to roll out nationally. How could Ashfield help digital companies to achieve this?

Pierre – That’s a very interesting challenge. We have done some of these things with smaller pharma companies and animal health pharma companies. The question always is you don’t necessarily want to dress up the whole big organisation. If you are starting from small you have access in one or two CCGS, and that’s where we come in. Because we can build exactly what you need towards those one or two CCGs, build from there and look at what the flexibility is and have the agility that you need in there to build exactly what you need.

Eventum – What are the benefits of partnering with a CSO organization like Ashfield, rather than recruiting directly or partnering with a pharma or med tech company?

Pierre – One of the things you see, the NHS changes quickly, the NHS moves quickly. Formulary access, non-formulary access, you need two things – you need potentially hot spots for coaches where you just go where you actually have access and build from there. But you also need flexibility, you also need speed, you also need agility, and that is where we come in. We can do that very much better than the traditional or even if you would hire the people through your own headcount where you have limitations around that. We can do that, and that’s the benefit of working with us.

Eventum – What type of people and skills would Ashfield be able to provide to such companies? Don’t you mainly provide contract pharmaceutical sales representatives?

Pierre – We did start as mainly pharmaceutical representatives and that is still our core business but over the last 5, 6, 7 years we have build lots of different capability. We have a remote contact center we also have nurses. So we have reps, we have nurses, we have MSLs, medical science liaisons. And what we do we have a conversation with the client to look at what it is they need and if it is promotion then that’s that, if patients or healthcare providers need to be educated, we bring in the nurses, or the MSLs, so it’s a variety and the spectre of services we offer.

Eventum – As many of these companies might be early stage or have limited funds compared to big pharma, are Ashfield able to offer solutions to support these companies particularly in their early days?

Pierre – Funding is an important point and again that goes back to you don’t want to have a big organization from the start because that involves a lot of money. If you start targeted with the organisation that you need, it suddenly also becomes a lot cheaper. So by building that
bespoke solution we can also limit your expenses .

Eventum – If a digital health company was considering partnering with a CSO like Ashfield, which they may not have done before, what would be the one thing they should really consider in order to get the most out of the relationship?

Pierre – The word I would probably use is openness. The better we understand what it is you need, what you are trying to do, what the 3, 4, 5 year plan is, the better we can build and challenge each other in that conversation to make sure that you get exactly what you need and deliver on that.

Thank you Pierre, for sharing your insights on why a digital health company should consider a CSO like Ashfield as commercial partner.

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