Blue Matter Blog

Oncology Outlook 2021: Scientific breakthroughs and competitive breakouts
February 24, 2021

2020 was a memorable year for some less-than-positive reasons, but even in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic there were numerous oncology advancements well worth celebrating. In addition to the specific research and clinical developments described below, there was also the recent announcement by the American Cancer Society that cancer death rates have continued to …

Go with the (Product) Flow: Establishing an Efficient and Effective Supply Chain in Europe
February 17, 2021

The most effective, groundbreaking, and revolutionary therapy in the world will not do much good if it can’t be effectively delivered to patients.  That fact should be highly self-evident.  However, establishing an effective supply chain is easier said than done and there are a lot of potential pitfalls, especially when dealing with the diverse and …

Why Blue Matter is Different from Other Consulting Firms
February 12, 2021

If you’re a consultant who’s looking for your next big career move—or if you’re thinking about a career in consulting—then you’re probably doing a lot of research about what it’s like to work at Consulting Firm A vs. Consulting Firm B, C, and so on.  We’d like to make that process a bit easier for …

Blue Matter Again Ranked as One of the 25 Best Consulting Firms to Work for in Europe; Ranked #1 in 5 Categories
January 19, 2021

Last week, we reported that Blue Matter was ranked as one of the Top 50 consulting firms to work for in North America (#19).  Today, Vault released its rankings for Europe.  We’re thrilled to announce that we were ranked #11 among the best firms to work for in Europe, improving our position over last year! …

Blue Matter Consulting - DNA Strand and Cancer Cell - Oncology Cell Therapy
2021 Outlook for Cell-Based Therapies in Oncology: CAR-T Expansion and Beyond
January 14, 2021

One year ago when we published an in-depth review of the cell-based immunotherapy landscape, no one could have predicted the global COVID-19 pandemic and its associated disruptions. But researchers, drug developers, regulatory agencies, clinicians, and patients all worked hard to ensure that the cell therapy field continued to advance and deliver promising new treatments in …

Blue Matter Ranked for 2nd Year as One of the 50 Best Consulting Firms to Work for in North America
January 13, 2021

For the second time, Blue Matter has earned a spot in the annual Vault Consulting 50 list!  We’re excited to be ranked as one of the 50 best consulting firms to work for in North America.  Among all consulting firms surveyed, Blue Matter ranked #19, up from the #30 position last year.  Among boutique firms, …

Central Nervous System Therapies: Outlook for 2021 & Beyond
January 5, 2021

So far in this series, we’ve spent a great deal of time looking backward.  In part 1, we discussed the “quiet revolution” that has been taking place in CNS over the past several years.  Interesting advances are being made in a range of CNS therapies while other areas, such as oncology, tend to get more …

Central Nervous System Therapies: A Look at Rising Investment Activity
December 15, 2020

In Part 1 of this series, we said that a “quiet revolution” has been taking place in central nervous system (CNS) therapies.  While much attention has been focused on the dramatic advancements in oncology, companies large and small have been focusing more resources on CNS research, and the pace of advancement is accelerating.  In that …

Success in Rare Diseases, Part IV: Successfully Implementing Clinical Programs in the Rare Disease Ecosystem
December 8, 2020

In the first three parts of our series, we introduced the rare disease (RD) ecosystem and its interconnected stakeholders. We also discussed the challenges and key considerations for RD clinical trial design – both (pre)registrational as well as ongoing evidence generation after the first approval. Here, we examine the practical considerations of successful clinical trial …

Central Nervous System Therapies: Where We’ve Been and the Road Ahead
November 16, 2020

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Some readers might recognize that as a memorable line from the ‘80’s classic movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  Those same readers might also ask what it has to do with central nervous system (CNS) therapies. In …

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Core to Our “People First” Culture
October 30, 2020

If you’ve been reading the various articles in our “People First” series, you’ve no doubt learned that fostering an open, inclusive, and diverse environment is ingrained in our culture.  It’s one of our core values and we hold ourselves accountable by including it in our regular Values Survey, which you can learn more about here. …

Success in Rare Diseases, Part III: Continuous Evidence Generation in the Rare Disease Ecosystem
October 26, 2020

In Parts 1 and 2 of our series, we introduced the rare disease (RD) ecosystem as a uniquely interrelated set of stakeholders and discussed the key challenges and considerations for successful RD clinical trials. We focused on (pre)registrational clinical trial design, but of course regulatory approval does not mark the end of evidence generation. Here …

Success in Rare Diseases, Part II: Optimizing Clinical Trial Design for the Rare Disease Ecosystem
September 24, 2020

In Part 1 of our series we introduced the rare disease (RD) ecosystem, which is defined by a small patient population with often heartbreakingly high unmet need. Here, in Part 2 of our series, we will discuss in more detail the overarching design requirements and key considerations for RD clinical trials. The entrance of a …

Building a Better Team: Blue Matter Academy
September 22, 2020

A key part of building a People First Culture is making sure team members have the tools, training, and support they need to do their jobs.  But it doesn’t stop there.  At Blue Matter, People Development is essential to the success of our employees and our company.  We want to  help team members continually develop …

They’re In! – The Results of Our Latest Values Survey
September 1, 2020

In an earlier article, we introduced readers to our quarterly Values Survey.  Our “People First” culture is incredibly important to all of our team members, and we work hard to maintain and continuously improve it.  That means staying true to our core values, which are based on a deep-seated desire to foster a happy, productive …

Success in Rare Diseases, Part I: Understanding the Rare Disease Ecosystem
August 31, 2020

It’s a safe bet that anyone reading this article is familiar with the concept of an ecosystem. When we think of an ecosystem, we most often imagine how one exists in nature: a complex web of living organisms and non-living components (such as water, air, soil, rocks, and so on), all interacting with one another …

A Happy Team: Direct Result of a “People First” Culture
August 25, 2020

If you’ve been following along in this series of articles on Blue Matter’s People First culture, then you probably know by now that building a happy and motivated team is super important to us.  In fact, it’s in our core values.  After all, taking every reasonable step to ensure a happy team is the right …

Living Our “People First” Culture: The Blue Matter Values Survey
August 11, 2020

In a previous article, Emily Hua described our People First culture and why It’s so important to us.  Today, I want to add a little more to the story by telling you about our Values Survey. Lots of companies out there will talk about their values.  However, not many are willing to truly measure whether …

Our Foundation: A “People First” Culture
July 30, 2020

If you’ve followed our blog for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed that we like to create high-value content on some of the leading topics in the biopharma industry.  Today, I want to shift gears and write a bit about Blue Matter as a company and its culture. We’re growing rapidly, always engaging with …

Blue Matter “Breakfast Club” Meeting #5: Practical Implications of the COVID-19 Crisis for Biopharma
July 28, 2020

The Blue Matter Breakfast Club is an ongoing series of discussion forums (now virtual due to COVID-19), hosted by our team in Europe.  These forums are by invitation, bringing together leading executives from biopharma companies and other organizations to discuss critical business issues. The fifth Breakfast Club meeting took place on 8th July 2020.  The …

T Cell-Based Therapies in Oncology: Landscape Evolution After a Turbulent 1H2020
July 7, 2020

Six months ago, we published an in-depth review of the cell-based immunotherapy landscape, including forward-facing declarations of 2020 data releases, filings, etc. that would address key outstanding questions, namely: Six months later, despite the unprecedented and unanticipated impact of COVID-19 on corporate operations, clinical trial functions, and regulatory body decision-making, there have been multiple key …

And Now for Something Completely Different: Basketball in India
June 5, 2020

It may come as no surprise that most of the charitable work Blue Matter does is in some way related to healthcare. Our focus as a company is, after all, on the life sciences.  However, sometimes we like to put our consulting skills to use outside of the healthcare space, in areas that speak to …

Blue Matter Statement on Racial Equality
June 4, 2020

We are deeply outraged and shattered by the death of George Floyd, yet another death among too many horrific killings driven by racism and hatred.  We stand together with Black Americans and all those who are affected by systemic and learned racism. Our Blue Matter team—which is made up of talented people from more than …

Blue Matter “Breakfast Club” Meeting #4: A Conversation with Dr. Thomas Lönngren, Former Exec. Dir. of the EMA
May 20, 2020

The Blue Matter Breakfast Club is an ongoing series of two-hour breakfast forums, hosted by our team in Europe.  These forums are by invitation, bringing together thought leaders and executives from biopharma companies and other organizations to discuss critical business issues. The fourth Breakfast Club meeting was a virtual event on 13th May 2020.  The guest …

Continuing the Fight Against Lung Cancer with the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer
May 18, 2020

Last year, we wrote about our charitable work with a great non-profit organization, the Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF).  We’re proud to say that our work has continued with this organization.  However, things have changed over the past year, as the ALCF has merged with the Lung Cancer Alliance to form the GO2 Foundation for …

The Science Won’t Sell Itself
May 12, 2020

“Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.” That well-known quote comes from Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th president of the United States and former Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe.  It’s a pithy quote—though perhaps a little overstated—that highlights the critical importance of planning for any serious undertaking. For a biopharmaceutical company, the …

The Rarest of Them All: Why Neglected Rare Diseases Require a Very Different Mindset
April 1, 2020

Introduction In previous articles, we explored several important aspects of rare diseases (RDs).  First, we showed how different authorities define the term “rare disease” (or “orphan disease”).  We also established a spectrum of rarity, ranging from those diseases that are considered common—with well-established treatment paradigms—to those that are “hyper-orphan,” affecting perhaps a couple of people …

The COVID-19 Challenge: How Pharma Can Adapt and Succeed in the Face of an Uncertain Future
March 31, 2020

Current Scenario: Challenges, Opportunities, and Critical Success Factors The current situation regarding COVID-19 is alarming.  At the time of publication, infection and death rates are continuing to rise rapidly in the United States, Spain, Switzerland, and many other European countries. In other countries like China, Italy, and Germany the situation appears to be resolving, but …

How Rare Is Rare? Making Sense of Rare Disease Definitions, Nomenclature, and Patient Numbers
March 20, 2020

Many people working in and around the health care system and the biopharmaceutical industry use the terms “rare disease” and “orphan disease” on a fairly regular basis.  Obviously, they refer to any disease that’s uncommon, often with few treatment options (or no treatment options).  But what do these terms really mean? What’s the actual definition …

Location, Location, Location: Why You Need a Systematic Approach to Locating Your European HQ
March 17, 2020

Location, Location, Location:  Most regard that as the first rule of real estate.  Simply put, it refers to the fact that a home’s value can vary dramatically based solely on its location.  Nice neighborhood with good schools, low crime, and beautiful tree-lined streets? In a place like that, a home will command a much higher …

Cell-Based Therapies: Navigating Challenges Through 2020 and Beyond
March 10, 2020

In Part 1 of this series, we reviewed recent developments and upcoming milestones that are shaping the cell-based therapy landscape. Here in Part 2, we explore the various factors and challenges that will influence how each cell-based therapy—and the class as whole—will perform in the marketplace over the next few years. Some of these factors …

Europe’s Got Talent II: Deciding Who to Hire and When
March 3, 2020

When a non-EU-based biopharmaceutical company decides to establish a presence in Europe, there are seemingly countless items that need to be managed, ranging from the highly strategic to the mundane.  One of the most important items is building the European team.  In the previous article, we outlined five ways in which hiring and recruiting differ …

Europe’s Got Talent I: Five Ways Recruiting a Team in Europe Differs from the US
March 2, 2020

“Our people are our greatest asset.” That statement is a time-honored cliché in the business world.  However, clichés typically come about for a reason: They’re usually true.  No biopharmaceutical company can move into Europe without recruiting and hiring talent there.  Obviously, those are essential steps to building a local presence anywhere.  In this installment of …

How are Rare Diseases Different from Rare Oncology and Specialty Diseases and What are the Implications for Companies?
February 26, 2020

Rare vs. Specialty Diseases: Are They the Same? We’ve often been asked what the differences are between rare diseases and “specialty diseases” and/or rare cancers.  After all, these three types of disease share some similar characteristics.  For example, they’re often complex, require higher-cost and “higher touch” treatments, and a high degree of knowledge and specialization.  …

Show Me the Value: Understanding the Payer Landscape and Engaging with Payers in Europe
February 24, 2020

Basic and Essential For any biopharma company planning an initial move into Europe, there are myriad issues to address, as this series outlines.  One of the most important is ensuring that a company’s product(s) will be reimbursed by the various national payers that exist throughout European markets.  It’s a basic truth:  Payers are vital to …

Europe is Not a Country: Defining the launch sequence and market-specific strategies for a diverse Europe
February 19, 2020

Why a Europe-Tailored Strategy is Important When a biopharmaceutical company decides to enter the “European market,” it’s important to recognize that Europe is not really a single market.  Aside from having the European Medicines Agency (EMA) as common regulatory body, the European Union (EU) is actually a combination of 27 markets, each with a differentiated …

File and Don’t Forget: Securing Intellectual Property Protection and Completing Regulatory Filings
January 20, 2020

When entering European markets, a biopharma company must do a range of important things, many of which we will address throughout this series. In this installment, we cover two foundational elements of any European market entry that can set the commercial playing field for years to come.  They are 1.) Securing intellectual property (IP) protection …

Cell-Based Therapies: 2019 Year in Review and Upcoming Milestones
January 14, 2020

Last year we examined cell-based therapies through both scientific and commercial lenses. Over the last year, the field has dramatically advanced beyond the recently approved CD-19 CAR-T therapies (KYMRIAH and YESCARTA) into novel cell types and designs with potential across tumor types. In this first part of a two-part series, we will review recent and …

Blue Matter Breakfast Club Meeting #3 – A Discussion with Theresa Heggie of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
November 8, 2019

The Blue Matter Breakfast Club is an ongoing series of quarterly two-hour breakfast forums, hosted by our Rare Diseases Team.  These forums bring together leaders from companies that develop and commercialize rare disease therapies to discuss critical business issues. The third Breakfast Club meeting was on 5th November 2019 at Skylounge restaurant in Zug, Switzerland.  …

Blue Matter Ranked as One of the 25 Best Consulting Firms to Work for in Europe; Ranked #1 in Overall Business Outlook
September 24, 2019

About a month ago, we reported that Blue Matter was ranked as one of the Top 50 consulting firms to work for in North America (#30).  Obviously, we were excited about that.  Today, Vault released its rankings for Europe.  We’re thrilled to announce that we were ranked #12 among the best firms to work for …

Oncology Trends Part III: Critical Capabilities For a Successful Future
September 5, 2019

Future Trends In Parts I and II of this series, we reviewed the dramatic diagnostic and pharmaceutical advances over the past 5 years that have rapidly enhanced the standard of care, leading to significant and essentially curative outcomes for some patients. In this article, we discuss the near-term future – the possibilities as well as …

They Did It! Blue Matter Team Completes the South Coast Challenge.
September 4, 2019

This past weekend (31 August – 1 September), a team from Blue Matter took part in the South Coast Challenge to help raise money for cancer research.  Zeren Kocak, Linah Richer, Anwen Brown, Nafees Masri, Mariah Peixoto, and Magda Palczynska put on their hiking shoes and hit the trail to raise funds for Cancer Research …

Seven Keys to Success in Europe
August 26, 2019

For US-based biopharmaceutical companies seeking to expand, establishing a presence in Europe is usually an obvious next step.  Investors typically expect that a company will avail itself of such a large market opportunity and unlock the full commercial value of its assets. Europe represents the second largest market in the world for prescription pharmaceuticals.  The …

Blue Matter Ranked as One of the 50 Best Consulting Firms to Work for in North America
August 20, 2019

We are very excited to report that Blue Matter has joined the Vault Consulting 50 for 2020, earning a ranking as one of the 50 best consulting firms to work for in North America.  This was our first year participating in Vault’s annual survey.  Among all consulting firms surveyed, Blue Matter ranked #30.  Among boutique …

Blue Matter Team Gets Ready to Walk the South Coast to Raise Money for Cancer Research
July 25, 2019

The weekend of 31 August – 1 September will be a busy one for Blue Matter team members Zeren Kocak, Linah Richer, Anwen Brown, Nafees Masri, Mariah Peixoto, and Magda Palczynska.  They’ll be putting on their hiking shoes and taking part in this year’s South Coast Challenge to help raise money for cancer research. The …

Oncology Trends: Is Past Performance Predictive of Future Returns? – Part II, Unmet Needs & Future Advancements
July 16, 2019

In Part I of this series, we identified and described four key trends in oncology: Novel Drug Targets and Classes of Therapy Novel Drug Designs Tumor Biology-Based Regimens Diagnostic-Driven, Adaptive Regimens: Precision Medicine Despite the significant advances these trends represent, much unmet need remains in oncology. In this installment, we outline some of those key …

Oncology Trends: Is Past Performance Predictive of Future Returns? – Part I, Trends Overview
July 8, 2019

Over the past 5 years, several ground-breaking advancements in oncology have dramatically advanced the standard of care. These new classes of drugs include the PD(L)1 checkpoint inhibitors, the PARP inhibitors, and the EGFR resistance targeted drugs.  Also included is a general trend towards more precise and targeted treatment decisions, driven by incorporating molecular tests and …

Blue Matter Breakfast Club 2, Nick Leschly, CEO of bluebird bio
Blue Matter Breakfast Club Meeting #2 – A Discussion with Nick Leschly, CEO of bluebird bio
July 1, 2019

The Blue Matter Breakfast Club is an ongoing series of quarterly two-hour breakfast forums, hosted by our Rare Diseases Team.  These forums bring together leaders from companies that develop and commercialize rare disease therapies to discuss critical business issues. The second Breakfast Club meeting was on 17th June 2019 at Skylounge restaurant in Zug, Switzerland.  The …

Precision Medicine Part III: Co-Evolution of Diagnostics and Pharma Development
April 23, 2019

Better integration of personalized cancer treatments into clinical practice will immensely improve outcomes for patients. But, to achieve the full potential of precision medicine, both pharma and diagnostics must accelerate and broaden their scope of precision medicine beyond their currently limited settings and ensure successful integration into clinical practice. In this installment, we will explore …

Precision Medicine Part II: Current Utility and Challenges in the Clinic
April 8, 2019

Over the past few decades in oncology, targeted therapies—and the tests that identify which tumors will be sensitive to them—have significantly advanced the standard of care in several key settings. However, precision medicine will not achieve its full potential in oncology without broader success in pharmaceutical and diagnostic development, and better integration of both into …