Medical Device and Healthcare

Chugai Pharma Germany: faster time-to-market for digital services through a streamlined innovation process

Together with Zühlke, Chugai Pharma Germany developed a comprehensive innovation strategy and accelerated the implementation of innovative ideas through efficient decision-making.

group of people in boardroom discussion business processes

Values at a glance 

  • The implementation of a fast and lean approach enables an early and cost-effective hypothesis validation and streamlined decision-making. 
  • Development of a comprehensive innovation management system, enhances Chugai Pharma Germany's strategic focus and positions them as an innovation leader. 
  • The establishment of a clear innovation strategy accelerates the time-to-market and strengthens collaboration with internal and external healthcare partners. 

Chugai Pharma Germany, a leading pharmaceutical company, is dedicated to offering digital products and services beyond its established drug portfolio. In line with this commitment, the company partnered with Zühlke aiming to accelerate its digital health solution development efforts. 

Initially, Zühlke took over a vital role in consolidating Chugai Pharma Germany’s product vision and developing strategic options for innovative digital services. After this initial phase, both partners defined and implemented a holistic system for digital innovation management. Subsequently, Zühlke supported Chugai Pharma Germany in leveraging this system to transform new ideas into validated concepts by executing a fast and lean approach for efficient decision-making. This collaboration has positioned the company at the forefront of digital healthcare advances. 

The start: Creating digital services “beyond the pill”

During the initial stages of their partnership, Zühlke supported Chugai Pharma Germany in rapidly strengthening its product vision by incorporating real and valuable user feedback and laying the foundations for new digital business models. Zühlke also developed a range of concrete strategic options, including opportunities and risks for designing digital services.  

The first phase resulted in the development of actionable options for boosting technology and business impact, based on insights generated from patient interviews and workshops. This joint effort led to the further elaboration of the business idea and its validation with potential customers, thereby accelerating Chugai's digital service offerings in Europe. 

digital services on mobile phone

Defining and operationalising a holistic innovation management system

To further accelerate their digital health innovation efforts, Chugai Pharma Germany wanted to enhance its strategic focus, goals, roles, and processes. To support the company in this transformation, Zühlke stepped in, providing expertise in defining and operationalising a holistic innovation management system. The journey began with a detailed assessment of the current state, evaluating the corporate strategy, therapy pipeline, and expectations of the innovation department. 

people in office talking behind glass walls

Developing the five core dimensions of innovation

Working in tandem, Zühlke and Chugai Pharma Germany developed the innovation management system along five essential dimensions: 

1. Innovation vision and strategy: we crafted a clear and focused direction for digital innovation. 

2. Offering and services: we identified the digital products and services aligned with strategic goals. 

3. Organisation and processes: we streamlined internal structures and workflows to drive collaboration and efficiency. 

4. Partner ecosystem: our team helped cultivate partnerships and leveraging external expertise for enhanced innovation capabilities. 

5. Methods: we implemented proven methodologies and best practices to guide innovation projects. 

Parallel to system development, Zühlke facilitated knowledge enrichment for the innovation team through workshops, lectures, and training conducted by industry experts in digital health. 

Achieving rapid time-to-market and better collaboration

Within a span of just nine months, Chugai Pharma Germany observed significant results. They established a clear innovation strategy and approach for projects, with defined business goals for transparent success measurement and expectation management. Additionally, the company achieved faster time-to-market for their digital innovation initiatives. 

The collaboration with internal departments and the German health system was also significantly strengthened. This helped foster closer relationships with colleagues and external healthcare partners, furthering Chugai Pharma Germany's position as an innovation leader. 

Transforming ideas into validated concepts

After defining the innovation management system, Zühlke supported Chugai Pharma Germany in transforming promising ideas into validated concepts. Specifically, the focus was on adherence, robotics, and diagnostics within one of Chugai's therapy areas. 

The process began by selecting innovation ideas aligned with the defined strategy. Collaborating closely with healthcare professionals and experts from the commercials and medical departments, the team defined and tested problem hypotheses. 

Building upon the insights gathered, the team developed solution ideas rooted in addressing patient needs and detailed business goals, including real-world data generation. Thorough market research on digital solutions within the therapy area, including startup and corporate offerings, helped ensure that the selected ideas had the potential to succeed in the market. 

doctor patient interaction

Efficient evaluation and decision-making

To prioritise innovation ideas effectively, the team engaged in co-development with patients, striking a balance between patient needs, business objectives, and feasibility. It also defined the business model, crafted a comprehensive project plan, and prepared a management presentation for the executive council's go/no-go decision. 

Executing a fast and lean approach

With Zühlke's support, Chugai Pharma Germany successfully implemented a fast and lean approach, swiftly transforming innovation ideas into validated concepts. This approach featured early and cost-effective hypothesis validation by healthcare professionals and patients, allowing for the efficient termination of low-potential ideas. Standardised concepts facilitated high comparability and enabled streamlined evaluation and decision-making by the executive council. 

As a result of this streamlined innovation process, Chugai Pharma Germany effectively accelerated their digital health innovations, bringing market-ready solutions closer to realisation. By leveraging Zühlke's expertise, Chugai Pharma Germany stands at the forefront of digital healthcare advances. 

Stefan Weiß
Contact person for Germany

Dr. Stefan Weiß, MBA

Principle Business Consultant

Dr. Stefan Weiss is Principle Business Innovation Consultant at the Zühlke Group and has a broad background in Neuroscience combined with a profound expertise in economics and innovation management. Before joining Zühlke, Stefan shaped the future of Healthcare and Life Sciences at the Innovation Center of Merck KGaA. He is passionate about the digitalization of the Pharma- and MedTech Industry with innovative solutions and business models by applying his scientific and economic expertise. At Zühlke, he extends technical excellence with domain-specific insights and thereby strengthens the partnerships with Pharma- and MedTech customers

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