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Flevy Management Insights Case Study
Global Expansion Strategy for Pharma Company in Oncology


There are countless scenarios that require Value Innovation. Fortune 500 companies typically bring on global consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture, or boutique consulting firms specializing in Value Innovation to thoroughly analyze their unique business challenges and competitive situations. These firms provide strategic recommendations based on consulting frameworks, subject matter expertise, benchmark data, best practices, and other tools developed from past client work. Let us analyze the following scenario.

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Consider this scenario: A prominent pharmaceutical company specializing in oncology drugs faces strategic challenges in achieving value innovation amidst a highly competitive and regulated market.

Externally, the organization is confronted with a 20% increase in competition from generic drug manufacturers and stringent regulatory environments across different regions, impacting its market penetration and profitability. Internally, the challenge lies in accelerating drug development cycles and reducing time-to-market, which are currently 30% longer than industry averages. The primary strategic objective of the organization is to harness value innovation to solidify its global presence and enhance market competitiveness in the oncology sector.



The current landscape of the pharmaceutical industry, particularly within the oncology sector, is characterized by rapid advancements in medical science and an increasingly complex regulatory environment. Stagnation in innovation and market expansion poses significant risks to established players.

Industry & Market Analysis

Our analysis begins by examining the primary forces shaping the competitive landscape:

  • Internal Rivalry: High, driven by the presence of numerous global and local players competing for market share in oncology.
  • Supplier Power: Moderate, with several key suppliers dominating the market for raw materials and proprietary components essential for drug development.
  • Buyer Power: High, as healthcare providers and patients demand more effective and affordable treatment options.
  • Threat of New Entrants: Low to moderate, due to the high barriers to entry associated with regulatory approvals and substantial R&D costs.
  • Threat of Substitutes: Moderate, with alternative therapies and generic drugs posing a continuous threat.

Emerging trends in the industry highlight a shift towards personalized medicine and digital health technologies, leading to:

  • Increased demand for targeted therapies, offering opportunities for differentiation but requiring significant investment in precision medicine research.
  • Adoption of digital tools in clinical trials, presenting opportunities to reduce development costs and time-to-market but necessitating investments in digital capabilities.
  • Expansion of global markets, especially in emerging economies, where increasing healthcare spending poses both an opportunity and a challenge due to diverse regulatory landscapes.

STEER analysis reveals significant technological advancements and regulatory changes as key external factors influencing the industry, alongside economic shifts towards value-based healthcare models.

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Internal Assessment

The organization possesses a strong pipeline of oncology drugs and a reputable brand but lags in operational agility and digital transformation.

A Benchmarking Analysis against industry leaders reveals gaps in R&D efficiency, regulatory compliance processes, and market access strategies.

A Value Chain Analysis identifies inefficiencies in clinical trial management and supply chain operations, suggesting areas for optimization to enhance speed and reduce costs.

Core Competencies Analysis highlights the company’s strengths in drug discovery and development but underscores the need for improvement in digital health integration and global market entry strategies.

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Strategic Initiatives

  • Accelerate Digital Transformation in R&D: Implement advanced analytics and AI to enhance drug discovery and clinical trial processes. This initiative aims to reduce development cycles by 20%, creating value through faster time-to-market and cost savings. Investment in cutting-edge technology and talent development is required.
  • Expand into Emerging Markets: Focus on establishing presence in high-growth emerging markets through strategic partnerships and localized market access strategies. The initiative expects to increase global market share by 15%, leveraging the company’s oncology expertise. This will require investments in market analysis, partnership development, and regulatory compliance.
  • Value Innovation in Oncology Drug Portfolio: Develop personalized oncology therapies by investing in precision medicine research and digital health solutions. This aims to differentiate the company’s offerings, targeting a 25% increase in market share for targeted therapies. Resources needed include R&D investment in precision medicine and digital tools.

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Value Innovation Implementation KPIs

KPIS are crucial throughout the implementation process. They provide quantifiable checkpoints to validate the alignment of operational activities with our strategic goals, ensuring that execution is not just activity-driven, but results-oriented. Further, these KPIs act as early indicators of progress or deviation, enabling agile decision-making and course correction if needed.


What gets measured gets managed.
     – Peter Drucker

  • Reduction in Drug Development Cycle Time: A key metric to gauge the effectiveness of digital transformation initiatives in R&D.
  • Market Share Growth in Emerging Markets: Measures success in expanding global presence and adapting to local market needs.
  • Revenue Growth from Personalized Oncology Therapies: Indicates the market acceptance and success of value innovation strategies in targeted therapies.

These KPIs offer insights into the strategic initiative's impact on operational efficiency, market expansion, and innovation. Monitoring these metrics closely will help in adjusting strategies to meet the organization’s objectives effectively.

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Value Innovation Best Practices

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Value Innovation Deliverables

These are a selection of deliverables across all the strategic initiatives.

  • Digital Transformation Roadmap (PPT)
  • Emerging Market Entry Strategy Plan (PPT)
  • Personalized Oncology Research Framework (PPT)
  • Global Market Expansion Financial Model (Excel)

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Accelerate Digital Transformation in R&D

The organization applied the Diffusion of Innovations Theory to understand how the new digital technologies could be adopted within its R&D processes. This theory, developed by Everett Rogers, explains how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread. It was particularly useful for this strategic initiative as it provided insights into the adoption lifecycle of digital tools and the factors influencing the adoption rates among the R&D teams.

Following this theoretical approach, the organization:

  • Segmented the R&D team according to their openness to adopt new technologies, identifying Innovators and Early Adopters as key targets for the initial rollout.
  • Developed targeted communication strategies that highlighted the relative advantage and compatibility of the new digital tools with existing workflows.
  • Implemented pilot programs with Innovators and Early Adopters, gathering feedback to adjust and improve the technology before a wider rollout.

The organization also utilized the Resource-Based View (RBV) to align its internal resources and capabilities with the digital transformation strategy. This framework helped in identifying which resources and capabilities were crucial for gaining a competitive advantage through digital transformation.

Through the application of RBV, the organization:

  • Conducted a thorough assessment of its internal resources, identifying key technological assets and skills that could support the digital transformation.
  • Invested in upskilling and reskilling programs for the R&D staff to enhance their capability to work with new digital tools and platforms.
  • Allocated resources strategically to areas with the highest potential for impact, such as AI and machine learning, to accelerate drug discovery processes.

The successful implementation of the Diffusion of Innovations Theory and the Resource-Based View frameworks significantly accelerated the adoption of digital technologies within the R&D department. This led to a 20% reduction in the drug development cycle time, demonstrating the value of aligning technological adoption strategies with the organization’s internal capabilities and resources.

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Expand into Emerging Markets

To support its expansion into emerging markets, the organization leveraged the Market-Based View (MBV) of strategy. This framework focuses on the importance of external market conditions in shaping strategic decisions and was instrumental in guiding the organization's approach to entering new markets. It helped in identifying attractive markets based on competitive intensity, customer needs, and market growth potential.

As part of the MBV framework implementation, the organization:

  • Conducted comprehensive market analysis to identify and prioritize emerging markets with high demand for oncology treatments and a favorable regulatory environment.
  • Evaluated the competitive landscape in each target market to develop market entry strategies that leveraged the company’s competitive strengths.
  • Developed partnerships with local entities to navigate regulatory hurdles and establish a strong local presence.

Additionally, the organization applied the PESTEL analysis to understand the political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal factors that could impact its operations in each new market.

Through the PESTEL analysis, the organization:

  • Identified key regulatory challenges and opportunities in each market, adjusting its market entry strategies accordingly.
  • Assessed economic and social trends to tailor its product offerings to meet the specific needs of patients in different regions.
  • Developed strategies to leverage technological advancements and address environmental and legal considerations unique to each market.

The application of the Market-Based View and PESTEL analysis frameworks enabled the organization to successfully enter and establish a presence in several emerging markets. This strategic expansion resulted in a 15% increase in global market share, underscoring the effectiveness of a well-informed, externally focused market entry strategy.

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Value Innovation in Oncology Drug Portfolio

To drive value innovation in its oncology drug portfolio, the organization embraced the Jobs to be Done (JTBD) framework. This approach focuses on understanding the underlying jobs or tasks that customers are trying to accomplish with a product or service. It was particularly relevant for developing personalized oncology therapies, as it helped to uncover unmet patient needs and opportunities for innovation in treatment solutions.

In implementing the JTBD framework, the organization:

  • Conducted in-depth interviews with patients, healthcare providers, and payers to identify the jobs they were hiring oncology drugs to do.
  • Mapped out the patient journey to understand the pain points and unmet needs at each stage of cancer treatment.
  • Used these insights to guide the development of new drug formulations and delivery mechanisms that addressed specific patient jobs.

Simultaneously, the organization utilized the Dynamic Capabilities Framework to adapt its resources and processes to rapidly innovate and respond to market changes. This framework emphasizes the organization’s ability to integrate, build, and reconfigure internal and external competencies to address rapidly changing environments.

By applying the Dynamic Capabilities Framework, the organization:

  • Developed a flexible R&D process that allowed for rapid iteration and adaptation of drug development projects based on emerging patient needs.
  • Invested in building a robust data analytics capability to continuously gather and analyze patient data, enhancing its ability to innovate effectively.
  • Established cross-functional teams that combined R&D, marketing, and patient advocacy groups to ensure a holistic approach to drug development.

The integration of the Jobs to be Done and Dynamic Capabilities frameworks into the strategic initiative led to the development of several groundbreaking personalized oncology therapies. This value innovation approach resulted in a 25% increase in market share for the company’s targeted therapies, demonstrating the power of focusing on patient-centric innovation and organizational agility.

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Key Findings and Results

Here is a summary of the key results of this case study:

  • Reduced drug development cycle time by 20% through the adoption of digital technologies in R&D processes.
  • Increased global market share by 15% by entering and establishing a presence in several emerging markets.
  • Achieved a 25% increase in market share for personalized oncology therapies through patient-centric innovation.
  • Developed a flexible R&D process allowing for rapid iteration and adaptation of drug development projects.
  • Invested in building a robust data analytics capability to continuously gather and analyze patient data.
  • Established cross-functional teams combining R&D, marketing, and patient advocacy groups for holistic drug development.

The strategic initiatives undertaken by the organization have yielded significant results, demonstrating the effectiveness of integrating advanced digital technologies, expanding into emerging markets, and focusing on value innovation in the oncology drug portfolio. The reduction in drug development cycle time by 20% is a testament to the successful digital transformation within R&D, addressing the internal challenge of operational agility. The 15% increase in global market share and the 25% increase in market share for personalized therapies underscore the successful external expansion and innovation strategies. However, the results also highlight areas for improvement. Despite these successes, the organization's efforts in digital transformation and market expansion may have incurred substantial costs, potentially affecting short-term profitability. Additionally, the rapid adoption of digital tools and expansion into new markets might have exposed the organization to operational and regulatory risks that could undermine long-term success.

Given the current outcomes, the organization should consider the following recommendations for next steps: Further enhance operational efficiency by leveraging data analytics for predictive modeling in drug development and market trends analysis. Deepen the focus on patient-centric approaches by integrating real-world evidence and patient feedback into the drug development lifecycle. To mitigate risks associated with rapid expansion and digital transformation, develop a comprehensive risk management framework. Finally, explore strategic alliances or acquisitions to strengthen market position in key areas of emerging markets and digital health technologies. These steps will ensure sustainable growth and competitiveness in the evolving oncology sector.

Source: Global Expansion Strategy for Pharma Company in Oncology, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

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