Sector spotlight: Data in pharma

Ever-improving data analytics are driving better patient outcomes according to Steve Kent, Chair of Pharmaspectra, a data business focused on medical affairs which Inflexion backed in 2019.

The amount of science that is being conducted has gone up hugely in the last 10 years as well as the understanding and identification of the people who are relevant to a particular compound or therapy because medicine is becoming ever more specialised.

When I started my career in the early 1980s there were around a dozen different known cancers; now there are more than 100. This is just one example of mankind’s greater medical knowledge and the increased level of specialisation of our medical practitioners that comes with it. Our knowledge will continue to grow as the increasing amount of incoming data is harnessed by machine learning and other techniques.

More data means more specialisation and so better patient outcomes. The use of big data can have a massive impact on the healthcare industry. In the UK at least, public attitude towards sharing of personal data with regards to health has changed dramatically following the COVID-19 pandemic. The increasing receptiveness around the sharing of data has resulted in a great opportunity for the outsourced pharma services industry. For example, the increasing prevalence of IoT means a large and growing number of people have technology collecting data in their homes and on their bodies.

All this helps create a large amount of data which is largely untouched and eventually this will create new medicines. The world is just getting to grips with how we access and use this data, which is at a quantum level of what it was previously. Firstly it’s access to the data, then it’s interpretation of that data, which is using sophisticated tools such as machine learning to spot patterns. Some companies combine machine-learning and AI with the data and this is giving us predictive analysis which can be used in studies as well as commercialisation strategies.

The landscape pharmaceutical companies navigate is becoming more complex. Pharmaspectra provides the data to help large pharma businesses navigate commercialisation with the deepest and longest-running dataset, utilising more than 100,000 data sources to continually update its database which has been compiled over 16 years. It enables the firm to curate expert identification, and provide strategic analytics, which are increasingly in demand. These tools are becoming increasingly sophisticated to cope with the amount of data and the increasing specialisation of medicine.

The industry wants analytics overlaid on the raw data. One example of this would be Share of Scientific Voice (SoSV). Medical Affairs teams use the information Pharmaspectra produces in order to drive their decision-making and actions. It is then important to measure the impact of those actions and they are able to do this through a feedback loop which is SoSV. SoSV measures the number of product mentions across scientific disseminations in a Therapy Area relative to alternatives. This analytics tool allows the Medical Affairs teams to measure, plan and communicate ways to increase their medical impact.

In 2021 we launched an update to the user interface called Pharmaspectra Experts after Inflexion supported investment into upgrading the technology and underlying data. The Experts platform provides our users with social media integration and a clear presentation of complex datasets.

SoSV is now hugely in demand from nearly all clients who increasingly want to measure the impact of their communications and actions.

Data hunger drives record year for Pharmaspectra


Pharmaspectra supports interactions between clinicians, doctors and the scientific community to educate them about the benefits of a compound or a particular way or approach of treating a condition. The business’s unique offering has helped it to have its most successful year in 2021 since inception 16 years ago, with 27 new clients across the pharma, medical devices and small biotechs making use of Pharmaspectra’s products, driving very strong revenue growth.


The industry’s hunger for Pharmaspectra’s data is reflected in usage metrics: engagement on the company’s data and platforms is at an all-time high. To cater to demand, management has worked with Inflexion to invest heavily in technology platforms, client services and the data science teams for the last 18 months. Since the 2019 Inflexion investment, Pharmaspectra has more than doubled in size to 270 people today – and is looking to grow further. The company is now recruiting for a number of business development and client services positions across the US and Europe for 2022.