Ahead of the 6th annual LSX World Congress, Steve Mather, CEO of Cello Health Consulting reflects on supporting an evolving Life Science sector, and the challenges facing companies developing and commercialising late-stage assets.

Who are you and tell us a bit more about Cello Health Consulting 

I am Steve Mather, CEO of Cello Health Consulting, strategic marketing consulting company dedicated to healthcare, with offices in the US and Europe.  We have built a unique blend of senior client-side commercial experience, consulting specialists and therapy area expertise to guide healthcare companies through complex challenges in order to make confident commercial decisions across the product lifecycle.  We are part of a broader organisation, Cello Health, with >1,000 employees based in Europe and the US, providing business insights and analytics, strategic and scientific consulting, and scientific and creative communications.  

What most excites you about the Life Science sector right now? 

Firstly, a fresh dynamic in the nature of companies bringing products to market, and secondly transformative solutions.  An increasing proportion of assets are being brought to market by “first-launch” companies.  It brings a very different perspective to the nature of companies bringing assets through development, commercialisation and launch.  It is exciting to draw on our experience and consulting process that has helped shape the commercialisation strategy for big pharma brands to guide and deliver success for these first-launch companies.  The technology leaps our industry is making are hugely impressive, bringing new solutions to improve and extend people’s lives.  Beyond the life-changing application of biologics and speciality medicine; advances in gene and cell therapy technology are delivering phenomenal, sometimes curative results.  The cutting edge of our industry feels very sharp these days.  The opportunity we have to help advise on, shape, and support commercialisation of these cutting edge technologies is very rewarding. 

How have you seen the Life Science landscape evolve over the last few years? 

Adding to the increasing number of first-launch companies, and rapid advances in transformative technologies, I would add the following trends.  Increased competitive intensity – many players rapidly entering similar space demanding sharper thinking in differentiation, bold well-informed decision making, and excellence in commercialisation. The increased focus of attention on rare diseases - posing opportunities to radically improve lives and at the same time challenging healthcare systems in balancing resources to enable access for deserving patients to costly solutions to so many different diseases.  

What activities are Cello Health Consulting undertaking to support an evolving Life Science sector? 

A great blend of seasoned biopharma professionals and consulting expertise allows us to bring real-world commercial experience and the rigour of the consulting process to help our clients navigate through the complexities of developing and commercialising assets.  Robust analytics, strategic planning, scenario learning, competitive strategy and launch excellence help our clients explore options and make sound decisions in early commercialisation planning, through launch and in later lifecycle stages. 

What would success look like for Cello Health Consulting in 5 years time? 

We are growing rapidly and establishing a significant presence in the US and EU.  The group expects to double in size over the next three years through organic growth and acquisition.  Driving that will be our reputation for the quality of thinking, innovation in our service offering, partnership-working, constructive challenge and delivery in helping our clients navigate complex commercial challenges. We will continue to nurture a culture that attracts and enables our people to thrive; developing their careers by working on exciting challenges and cutting edge science, supporting them as they apply themselves, ultimately towards healthier, longer lives for patients.  

What do you see as the biggest challenges for companies in developing and commercialising late-stage assets? 

The biggest challenge is to bring an asset to market that delivers incremental value to the healthcare system.  An asset that cannot demonstrate incremental clinical and/ or economic value is really going to struggle in a context of increasing competitive intensity and ongoing budget constraints.  Time and again we see situations where critical commercial questions have not been addresseearly enough in the development process, leading to missed opportunities to optimise the ultimate value of those assets for the company.  Too often, the innovation and the science drive development decisions, are made without enough early reference to the emerging commercial realities that influence how an asset will demonstrate valueEarlier and more in-depth consideration enables better informed clinical and commercial strategy and ultimately delivers greater value for the company, healthcare systems and patients. 

Turning to your own challenges and concerns, what is keeping you awake at the moment? 

I expect much the same as any CEO with growth ambitions - balancing revenue growth aspirations with investment in resources and capability development necessary to drive a successful business in which people are thriving and growing.  All of that towards enabling our clients to make sound decisions and achieve great results in developing and commercialising their assets in pursuit of better/ longer life for patients.