Todd Applebaum Talks About Helping the Biotech Industry Bring Crucial Healthcare Innovations to Market

Todd Applebaum, Founder and CEO of Converge Consulting was interviewed by Adam Torres on Mission Matters Innovation Podcast.

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Drawing on his steep experience in business strategy, operations, manufacturing, and supply chain management across the life sciences spectrum, Todd Applebaum talks with Mission Matters about the pharmaceutical, biologics, and medical device industries. In addition to leading Converge Consulting as Founder and CEO, he also provides senior leadership for many of its projects.

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What mission matters to you? 

Applebaum says quality and value in healthcare are essential. With governments and payers under greater pressure than ever in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, quality is being measured as improvements in patient outcomes. 

At Converge Consulting, the mission is to help pharmaceutical and biotech manufacturers understand the new environment and focus on patients and patient outcomes as they bring their new technologies and innovative science to market, ultimately improving or even saving lives. 

Tell us more about how you started Converge Consulting. 

Applebaum has many years of experience in manufacturing, starting with the automotive and high-tech electronics industries and ultimately moving into consulting for the life sciences. He recognized how manufacturing and operations can help companies address customer needs. He eventually led technical operations at a biotech startup developing cell therapy treatments and witnessed the importance of focusing on patient outcomes in producing and delivering these new treatments. This motivated him to found Converge Consulting to help biotech companies of all sizes build strategic advantage through best practices in manufacturing and operations. 

What kind of trends do you see now in the biotech Industry? 

The healthcare industry is changing dramatically, Applebaum notes, and points to the increased focus on patient outcomes. He sees two trends leading the way:

  1. Increasing political, economic, and social pressure is driving governments and payers around the world to look to increase the value received for healthcare costs. The emerging understanding of value in healthcare now includes not only reducing the costs involved, but also improving the treatment outcomes for patients. Governments, payers, and healthcare providers cannot improve outcomes on their own and are pressuring manufacturers to play a growing role.
  2. Scientific innovations driven by advances in our understanding of biology and human genetics are allowing scientists to identify, treat and even permanently cure diseases and medical conditions. These innovative treatments can be targeted to very specific patient needs, and are often complex to produce and administer. 

These trends are working together to focus biopharma companies on the patient, and specifically on improving patient outcomes. Along with innovative science, they must provide new services, including education, monitoring and financial assistance, as well as bundled diagnostics, devices and ancillary materials. Success now depends on building closer operating relationships with and managing more direct integrations between drug manufacturers, distributors, logistics providers, physicians, and patients to ensure patients are identified, enrolled smoothly, stay on treatment, and ultimately realize the benefits.

How is Converge Consulting helping biotech companies grow? 

Applebaum says Converge Consulting helps biotech companies, big and small, understand the new landscape of patient outcomes-focused medicine and then to develop and execute the strategies and operating processes necessary to deliver their innovative treatments to patients. 

Biotech companies deal with a variety of challenges and risks at each business stage. Converge helps them manage business risk without compromising essential operations. 

  • Preclinical companies often face early manufacturing, quality, supply, and vendor management issues as they prepare for human clinical trials. This can prohibit them from investing in their internal infrastructure, so Converge provides subject matter experts to guide company strategies, planning, and budgeting to avoid those pitfalls. 
  • Clinical stage companies frequently lack experience in preparing for commercialization. Converge focuses on filling those gaps and helping develop key patient-centric processes on their way to market.
  • Established companies typically find that the processes and systems designed to commercialize early products do not support the needs of a complex organization. Converge helps streamline and optimize operations to accelerate growth into new markets and scale over time. 

What’s next for Converge Consulting? 

Applebaum believes that, as our knowledge of biology and the genetic origins of disease continues to grow, developing new approaches for treating diseases and critical health conditions will only accelerate. Cost pressure and the risks inherent in drug development will also remain high, requiring pharmaceutical and biotech companies to focus scarce resources on their science. Converge will continue to operate at the intersection of these new scientific breakthroughs and innovation in patient care models, so that clients deliver treatments that ultimately improve patient outcomes.

To learn more, visit Converge Consulting online.