What’s on the Horizon in Pharma Marketing & Innovation: Q&A With Faruk Capan, Chief Innovation Officer at EVERSANA

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Capan discusses the industry is embracing new technologies and how these use cases may evolve in the coming year.

Faruk

Faruk Capan
Chief innovation officer
EVERSANA
CEO
EVERSANA INTOUCH

It’s clear that 2023 was the year of AI, even for the pharma industry. Faruk Capan, chief innovation officer at EVERSANA and CEO of EVERSANA INTOUCH, spoke with Pharmaceutical Executive about how the industry is using this technology and what the trends suggest will happen with it in the coming year.

Pharmaceutical Executive: You’ve been very vocal this past year about transformational technology like AI in the life sciences and pharma space. How has this technology evolved over the past nine months?

Faruk Capan: It’s been a very exciting year, and in many ways, it feels like more than just 12 months. Technology is rapidly accelerating how we all work, and at EVERSANA it’s no different. In January 2023, when all the buzz was around Chat GPT, I continued to challenge our team to think big about the potential of AI in pharma. And the ideas developed were simply amazing.

In the last year, we’ve continued to embrace it, across all aspects of what we do. Generative AI is at the forefront of every element of content development, content approval and content dissemination from our team. It’s fueling creative content, specifically by our most recent partnership with Adobe Firefly. And it’s powering our industry-unique omnichannel solution that we launched in September.

But that’s just the starting point. It seems to get faster every day, and the depth and power of data is unmatched. I’ve said before that AI won’t replace someone’s job, but someone who knows how to use AI will. We still need the power of the human mind but now, it is tenfold as powerful.

PE: What tangible programs or products have you seen come to life that you believe are game changers for the industry?

Capan: We’re really proud of what we’ve been able to do (and have done for years) using AI-based technology. Our most recent solution in development that we announced just a few weeks ago with Amazon Web Services is a testament to this. The solution is a new way of thinking about and delivering medical and regulatory review for marketing materials, in a way that is faster, more efficient, and most importantly more accurate than anything in the market today.

We officially announced this at the AWS re:Invent summit in late November, and the receptivity has been huge.

We’re also seeing the power of AI and automation in internal production. We’ve built an entire in-house model for our agency team to automate mundane tasks and drive efficiencies to help our employees focus on what they do best. Clients love it because they still get the creative excellence and quality expected, just delivered at scale, speed, and with cost savings.

PE: There continues to be a lot of interest but also skepticism about AI. What are your messages to those companies or brands that don’t explore how AI can help their business?

Capan: I heard these same concerns back in the early 1990s when the Internet was taking off, and I’ll say that many of these same things hold true today. To embrace this innovation and power of transformation that is here and not stopping, you must carefully analyze what it can do for your business and what the risks might be.

We’ve had dozens of clients turn to us and ask for an AI audit or assessment, because they just don’t know what they don’t know. This is a good starting point.

Teams also need to ensure that as they begin to work in this space, they are working with trusted vendors that value things like data integrity, process excellence and quality. Everything we do must live up to these standards.

I fear that way too many brands won’t embrace this new way of working, and they’ll be left in the shadows as their competitors take off. Take calculated risks, but no matter what, you’ve got to take risks.

PE: What’s on the horizon in 2024 with AI-powered solutions and other innovations?

Capan: Things aren’t slowing down. I think we’ll continue to see technologies evolve and efficiencies skyrocket. AI, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing and so many other technologies continue to converge powered by data sources to change how we work.In healthcare especially, I think we’ll see lots of change in 2024.

Better patient experiences, easier ways for physicians to connect with patients and more personalized communication and care will continue. We’re doing a lot of this work now with partners like Amazon and Adobe and have more in the works with other big tech companies. The pharmaceutical and life sciences industry is ripe of new ways of thinking, and we want to be their think tank to drive what tomorrow’s experience will be like.

PE: What new experiences or benefits might patients see in the year ahead thanks to innovation in the life sciences industry?

Capan: Again, I'll say personalization will continue to improve. Brands are realizing they must meet patients where they are today, and with the data they have available, coupled with the right technology, this can be done. I think you’ll see more and more brands moving in this direction next year.

Telehealth and tele dispensing options will continue to rise, as will the evolution of digital worlds and things like digital key opinion leaders. It’s a natural way brands can create experience for consumers that are authentic, informative, and compliant, but also efficient.

I know on our end we hope to bring several new solutions to the commercialization process for companies, including innovations in patient services, field force deployment and more. It’s an exciting time, and I can’t wait to turn the page on the year ahead.

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