ADVANCED SEMANTICS, Blog, Life Science & Pharma

Expert Identification for Pharma – Who is Who?

Expert System recently hosted a Roundtable at the Pharma CI conference in Prague for pharmaceutical and biotech competitive intelligence leaders on the challenges and opportunities of expert identification. In this multi part series, Biopharma Navigator founder Archna Bhandari and John Paty, VP Health and Sciences, report on the results from the proceedings.

Expert Identification for Pharma – Who is Who?

In our dialogue with CI team leaders, several strategies were revealed that CI analysts use to identify key opinion leaders (KOLs) and just as important – to discover rising stars. All participants seemed to have a favorite way to identify experts and there was general agreement that conference/congress presentations are a primary factor. Most participants agreed that “name placement” in publications and other research documents can be an important “hidden factor” that must be taken into account. In some cases, participants noted that this could be the best way to judge who is a rising star.

But where did they go to find new KOLs, or rising stars if a potential expert is not active in the conference world? Many discussed hiring research firms to find the right experts; but noted the high expense; meanwhile, others struggled to find the right fit on their own, wasting many hours toggling among various information sources. Many noted that it might take days, possibly several weeks, to track down the right KOL who does not have a conflict AND has standing among his/her peers, AND is available.

Participants confirmed that one of the biggest challenges with any expert identification system is “name identity”, as there are many authors with similar names. Exact identification becomes even more challenging when disparate data sources are integrated and names are listed in different formats (e.g. with or without middle initials). This confusion is compounded when factoring in nicknames, Asian names, similar sounding last names, etc. One participant recalled the embarrassing moment when he realized that he had actually called the wrong KOL who had a similar name and an active researcher in the same therapeutic area. Many found that loading KOL information into CRM-like tool time consuming and by the time the information is up-loaded it may be already out of date.   While several government, or foundation research institutes now require a diversity review – -making sure that minority and female researchers are discovered as part of the engagement pool – both major pharma and biotech startups seemed to discount these societal goals when finding KOLs and rising stars.

Expert System showed how Biopharma Navigator performs sophisticated heuristics in-order-to unify different variants of the expert’s name to derive a clean list. We demonstrated also how Biopharma Navigator identifies the rising stars using “name placement” feature. To request a demonstration of Biopharma Navigator  or more information please click here.


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