What are Target Product Profiles & How can They Help Sell Pharmaceuticals?

The TPP concept isn’t a new one, but many in the pharmaceutical industry view them with distrust, preferring instead to wait for Phase III information. But TPPs can come in incredibly useful if used correctly and can certainly help to demonstrate the possible value of the product in question to the stakeholders involved.  Here, we take a look at how best to harness the benefits of a TPP in order to give potential stakeholders a better view of how valuable the new product will likely be.

TPPs explained

A good TPP is recognised as being a tool that contains relevant elements to demonstrate what value your new product could offer to the stakeholders, whether they be internal or external. It needs to ensure that all different elements of a product are clear and easy to recognise so that value can be determined, and it should be explicit in terms of forecasting the value, including net present value computations, market access strategies, and pricing too. In addition, the value story should be developed and strengthened in this manner, and the leverage points for payers, physicians and patients should be strategised. This should be done in a three-level format; firstly, the basic level of evidence that is required in order for the new product to get to market, then the realistic profile which should predict the most likely scenario in terms of positioning and forecasting of sales. Finally, the dreamer’s profile, the aspirational view of the best outcome possible – i.e; anyone who has completed market access courses aspires to.

The full picture of the product’s potential value has to have all these elements in place, as well as methods for testing externally. If it is tested in this manner, then it would likely be a useful tool in order to develop strategies to deal with any issues with the product profile assumptions having been proven to be incorrect.

When should the TPP be developed?

A robust, effective TPP should be developed right at the start of the clinical development – certainly before Phase III is engaged. This will give the product story some traction, and make it easier for drug developers to not only develop the Phase II or III plan, but also to assess the potential pricing and reimbursement too. Development of clinical trial tools, including PROs could also occur at this early stage.

Change and growth

An initial TPP is not set in stone and should be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect the actual development of the product and the effect on its value. Market changes also need to be reviewed regularly and the TPP should be updated to reflect these.

Being non-emotional

However much time, effort, and budget has been poured into the development of the product, it is vital that the TPP be objective. This is why it is important to ensure that everyone involved is part of the development of the TPP and it is regularly updated throughout. Of course, when development is going smoothly, it may be the case that the perspective of the product is a positive one, and that the product will provide results ‘worthy’ of the effort, time etc that has been put in. Similarly, if things are not going so well, it is very easy for those in the development of the product to hold a negative view of how well it will perform, which will again skew perspective.

A good TPP can make all the difference to the successful launch of any new product, ensuring that the developer understands fully the potential, the pitfalls and the way to ensure the strategy is aligned to the end goal.