Case study

Seeing is believing — Bodylogical® helps a global pharmaceutical company identify the missing millions

Client: Global pharmaceutical company

Our Role: Use simulation technology, our Bodylogical digital twin, to help the organization approach the problem differently.

Industry: Pharmaceutical and life sciences

Services: Data and analytics, Technology, Benchmarking

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Client Challenge:

A large, untapped population

The science was solid. The evidence was strong. The company’s solution was effective and approved. Millions of patients could benefit from the drug, Where were they? The condition isn’t uncommon -- by some estimates millions of people in the US suffer from this fairly prevalent disorder. But what’s all too common is under-diagnosis. Only a small percentage of people with the disorder are diagnosed. Many people assume that it’s simply uncomfortable, not a recognized health condition; and, like many disorders, the symptoms are frequently confused with those of other syndromes and diseases. The company wanted to find better ways to identify patients and create awareness of the condition among physicians. It was time to identify the missing millions.

“We have embraced simulation modeling as a low-risk way to analyze how a particular therapy may impact patients. Digital technologies are transforming the way we do business, helping us get the right drug to the right patient at the right time.”

Executive, Global pharmaceutical company


A digital twin creates a whole new body of knowledge

PwC’s professionals in healthcare operations and management had built a rewarding relationship with the company over a number of years. When we learned about the challenge around the drug, we were excited to share a completely novel approach to the issue. We didn’t want to tell them about the approach -- we wanted to show them. The solution was a virtual representation of the human body, a “digital twin,” the type of tool used by engineers to model an object or a system in real-time. More of an “experience” than a meeting, PwC’s industry specialists, scientists, and biomedical engineers came together with the company’s President and its Head of Corporate Strategy and Innovation to take a look at the possibilities. How could simulation technology, our Bodylogical digital twin, help the organization approach the problem differently?

Company leaders had an ambitious goal for the project, something that hadn’t been done in the industry quite like this before: to “see” individual health of a patient with the disorder, while defining a whole population (the vast number of undiagnosed patients “at risk” for the condition). “Big data” analyses are commonly used in pharma, but from those statistical analysis, you can't tell the "why". Simulation modeling, on the other hand, can explain the "why" to complement other analysis and enables us to explore new scenarios and ask questions whose answers have real-world application. So Bodylogical was an ideal fit for this challenge and our team of scientists, biomedical engineers and applied mathematicians got right to work.

We began to integrate demographic data, available claims data and data from the scientific literature the results surprised even our own experts. Bodylogical revealed an entire ecosystem of chronic conditions and diseases associated with the one we were looking at. These strong associations would make it possible to identify, with considerable precision, a target population with the disorder and a profile for a likely patient. What’s more, company executives could see the value in engaging a broad range of physicians beyond just specialists in the disorder in the conversation around the condition, including primary care physicians.

“It’s been exciting for the company’s teams and PwC teams to come together and to watch Bodylogical come to life for them. They have embraced simulation modeling as a platform to help achieve the twin goals of economic health and improved outcomes for patients.”

Joe Albian, Principal, Client Services, PwC


A model for the future

The company has a brand new view of its product’s potential with the direct line of sight provided by Bodylogical to a large portion of the undiagnosed population. But that’s only the beginning. Through an interface of the simulation model, they can use their “virtual patient” to simulate lifestyle treatment outcomes (how diet or exercise may affect the patient’s symptoms, for example) and create patient engagement materials to help them better manage the condition. They can look holistically at a whole host of factors to assess how they may interact to affect the severity of the condition. They can also further refine and quantify the patient population.

Having experienced the impact simulation modeling can create, the organization is keen on augmenting its internal modeling capabilities. Company leaders are considering a variety of ways to employ the simulation modeling solution for products in other markets, including the application of knowledge about patient experience to improve the design of clinical trials for the development of drugs and the prediction of individual health outcomes based on specific physiological or lifestyle factors.

With a powerful new platform for prediction, a global pharmaceutical leader has healthy insight for today and for the future.

Bodylogical® is a registered trademark owned by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

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Paul D'Alessandro

Principal, Health Industries, PwC US

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