Steering a steady evolution in the biotechnology arena and preparing it for tomorrow’s hurdles, the Bethlehem, PA-based company is passionate about helping the pharmaceutical industry make better therapeutics, faster, and for less money so that patients have affordable, safe, and effective therapeutic options in the future. In short–they want to improve biopharmaceutical R&D productivity.
Murt Abuwala, founder of Orbytel Group, mentions the significant communication and alignment challenges between commercial and research organizations that he experienced firsthand as a scientist at the start of his career. Deciphering, comparing, analyzing, and gaining actionable insights from complex scientific and clinical trial data is an arduous task. A principal difficulty is deciphering the density and complexity of the data which are mostly embedded in scientific publications. Comparing and analyzing data across publications and studies is even more challenging. Safety measures, efficacy results, patient populations, and more have to be carefully handled to ensure appropriate comparisons and effective communication. And this is often where there is a breakdown. Data are often not brought together comprehensively or appropriately for each audience which ultimately affects both clinical and commercial decision making.
"Orbytel creates and implements data structures and processes that improve the way in which scientific, clinical and financial data are visualized, managed, and communicated"
Having realized the necessity of bridging these gaps, Abuwala founded Abuwala & Co, a specialized management consulting firm that provided services in commercial and medical strategy in 2009. Its initial focus was in portfolio decision analytics, particularly as it pertained to M&A. As the business grew so did their scope and they got involved in medical affairs, R&D, product planning, and more. Abuwala saw that cross-functional teams faced a common, recurring set of challenges - some which could be addressed with better data standards, process, and technology. With the aim to more broadly amalgamate the business and scientific facets of biopharmaceutical R&D, Orbytel Group was formed in 2014.
To address the fundamental data complexity challenge, Orbytel first built its own technology platform named harmony that structures complex scientific and clinical data and ties it seamlessly to long-range financial forecasts. It also natively implements the complex data firewalls that exist in the industry in a way that ensures compliance while allowing teams to work with data in the way they want. And then Orbytel built several product modules on the platform.
Overcoming the challenges barricading R&D productivity with groundbreaking solutions is Orbytel Group
Striving to create meaningful difference in the pharmaceutical industry, Orbytel Group creates and implements common data structures and processes that drastically improve the way in which scientific, clinical, and financial data are visualized, managed, and communicated. The company assists its clients through several distinct, but fully integrated solutions: harmony Trials, harmony Sales, harmony Meeting Assistant, and harmony Forecasts.
Harmony Trials aids companies in identifying clinical data generation opportunities and emerging data risks. By organizing, structuring, and visualizing complex clinical trial data, it enables users to confidently compare and analyze data on a massive scale. harmony Trials helps clients direct R&D spending towards the areas of largest patient impact.
Orbytel Group also helps clients plan, manage, and summarize data coverage and related meetings at scientific conferences with Meeting Assistant. Used by four of the top ten pharmaceutical companies in the world, Meeting Assistant is a robust battle-tested tool trusted by discerning users at the largest and most important scientific conferences. It is comprised of two parts, Data Coverage and Meetings. The Data Coverage component helps teams find, prioritize, assign, summarize, and communicate scientific content. The application enables clients to cover more content per meeting, extract scientific insights faster, and deliver strategic implications easier. Moreover, the Meetings component of the application helps teams schedule meetings with essential physician-scientists to discuss the latest experimental data. The application helps schedule the meetings, manages the RSVP process, keeps participants updated, and allows users to take meeting notes and create follow-ups. The application saves clients time and money - one key client expects to save nearly $1M in its first year alone.
Harmony Forecasts replaces MS Excel as a more intuitive means to create, manage, and communicate product forecasts and valuations. The application standardizes forecast methodology across assets, countries, and teams. Moreover, it can track changes, generate charts, store files & comments, allow for drag-and-drop portfolio roll-ups, analyzes non-technical risks, and has an integrated market-research survey tool so businesses can solicit feedback on assumptions seamlessly, without leaving the application. With harmony Forecasts, teams manage assumptions and valuations of large portfolios easily, with greater transparency and control.
Their fourth product, harmony Sales, helps companies run their sales forces more efficiently and profitably. The solution simplifies sales operations & analytics, optimizes sales strategy on financial goals, and reduces dependency on multiple third-party systems and vendors. This unified, highly streamlined application essentially assists enterprises to deal with an increasingly tricky selling environment by lowering operational complexities and eliminating sales operations and analytics expenditure.
“The biggest challenge is finding individuals who are willing to lead change in their organization,” asserts Abuwala. Although the pharmaceutical domain continues to be notoriously sluggish regarding digital transformation, major companies have embraced Orbytel’s state-of-the-art solution.
Abuwala cites an instance of a large company with a marketed asset in oncology that faced significant potential competition. There was an overwhelming amount of clinical data from various global clinical programs to track and analyze to accurately assess the competition and determine how to respond. Furthermore, it was challenging to keep team members across nearly 50 countries up-to-date on the latest and greatest data so they could appropriately communicate to HCPs in their respective countries. Harmony Trials was used to structure the clinical data, make it entirely searchable, allow for drag and drop side-by-side comparisons of efficacy results, safety results, and patient sub-populations. Data became easier to analyze and understand, easy to maintain, and were always up-to-date. In the course of just one year, the company was able to expand its competitive tracking from 5 trial programs to nearly 50 and is expected to double it again in the next year. They have more confidence in their understanding of the clinical data generation and patient recruitment landscape. Moreover, most importantly, the tool allowed the company to more easily identify data gaps and focus its R&D efforts on the areas where it has the highest potential to provide patient benefits.
Being the Change
“Orbytel Group is currently the primary means through which I intend to make a meaningful difference in the pharmaceutical industry. I try to embody and reinforce the company’s core values: clarity, insight, craftsmanship, and impact,” informs Abuwala.
At present Orbytel Group is actively integrating machine learning algorithms into its products and sees it as a growing part of its solutions in the forthcoming years. “We are refining our ontology and increasingly applying machine learning algorithms to our set of solutions,” states Abuwala on the company’s roadmap. The mission of Orbytel Group has always been to usher in a significant change in biopharmaceutical R&D concerning scientific, clinical, and financial data. Today’s Orbytel Group is sternly poised to be the torch-bearer of this remarkable change.