Graham Scholefield, Managing Partner
Companies often emerge out of a desire, but to have been established out of demand is a rarity. The pharma R&D consulting company Scitaris belongs to the ilk of the latter. Scitaris’ journey began when a close team of former pharma research consultants, Graham Scholefield and his peers, was approached by one of their previous clients with a project proposal. “We would need to set up a company,” said Scholefield. For which the client said, “That’s not an issue from our side, go ahead!” Lo and behold, Scitaris was founded within days after the discussion. Since its inception, Scitaris has been enabling pharma companies to make the right decisions across all stages of drug development, from pre-clinical R&D to portfolio management through overarching corporate strategy. The Berlin-based company combines its deep scientific understanding with technology and holistic data to provide its clients with the guiding light to achieve their goals, cost-effectively.
It is often difficult to evaluate and prioritize possible development strategies for an asset. With ~20 therapeutic areas, each one among them might have 100 different indications including orphans. That means, there can be several thousand development strategies to choose from. This is where Scitaris proves its excellence. Scitaris, by analyzing the current trends in the scientific literature and expert conferences combined with an asset’s specific mechanism of action, guides clients to invest in a developmental strategy that has the highest probability of success. This logic, step-wide prioritization of all the available options in an effort-efficient manner, extends to almost all R&D strategy topics, including the identification of targets or buyers for licensing opportunities or M&A. This enables its clients to understand the opportunities, pitfalls, and limitations of their strategic options and the best way to move forward.
To help its clients maintain a portfolio with a competitive risk:reward profile, Scitaris uses big data tools to analyze genetic and patient data combined with non-scientific data to find the answers to the client’s strategic questions and steer their R&D strategy towards higher success rates.
Because of the delivered value, pharma and biotech companies keep coming back to Scitaris to fulfill their project needs. “We have a team that has extensive experience across therapeutics and modalities—from rare diseases to oncology, and small molecules to the latest cell therapies,” says Graham Scholefield, Managing Partner at Scitaris. Unlike other major pharma consulting firms led by people with a largely commercial or economics backgrounds, Scitaris is science driven, which is crucial to assess drugs in development. Another unique aspect of the firm is its f lexibility that reflects in the project proposals it develops for clients. Aware that project scope often changes due to results generated in the initial stages or external factors, Scitaris works f lexibly to accommodate every new requirement while avoiding friction along the journey. “Our goal is simple: to ascertain the best solution to our client’s challenges, by whatever means possible. Quality is at our core,” says Scholefield.
A case in point, a NASDAQ-listed, European biotech company had an asset in immuno-oncology but was unsure about the way in which it should be developed for cancer treatment. Scitaris was called in to address the issue. Combining the online database The Cancer Genome Atlas that has extensive genomic and expression data of >10,000 cancer patients with its other databases, Scitaris was able to find prioritize cancer Indications for the client. “We used a database that has more than a hundred cancer subtypes and we ranked them by their immune status in relation to this particular drug. That allowed us to make decision on the most interesting tumor types. We then selected the most relevant types among them and analyzed that data further to elucidate granular details in areas such as competition, clinical development plan, and partnering potential, amongst others,” explains Scholefield.
Having established itself firmly in the German pharma expanse, Scitaris already has a global footprint with over half of its revenue coming from the US. “In Latin, Scitaris means ‘seek to know,’ and this is the core of who we are, and that will always keep us relevant in the industry,” concludes Scholefield.