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July 12, 2023

Hearing every voice: Galapagos initiative puts the focus on patients

A concerted effort to center patient feedback brings experts together in a collaborative environment.
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Patient engagement is a critical element of pharma operations. In a recent survey, when asked what stakeholder groups medical affairs teams need to engage more, 78% of respondents said patients topped the list.

As pharmaceutical organizations consider how they can incorporate patient input, some companies are kicking off innovative projects to get the job done. In February 2021, Galapagos established its Patient Partnership Charter, a document formalizing the company’s long-term ambition to work more closely with patients and stating the commitments and principles driving the collaboration.

One of Galapagos’ efforts, the Patient Engagement Council (PEC), brings together representatives from 11 patient organizations, along with independent patient experts.

Engagement challenges

Normally, gathering so many different stakeholders could be a challenge. Conflicting schedules make one-off in-person or virtual meetings impractical, and one-way communication tools like email or a survey platform aren’t interactive.

Galapagos preferred a more collaborative way of working that would enable ongoing communication for the PEC, and chose to engage the group on Within3’s insights management platform.

“This partnership aims to optimize the collaboration between Galapagos and the external advisors who are part of the PEC, by making the offline insights and input collection process easy, straightforward, and collaborative.” – Marina Sardone, Patient Advocacy Lead, Galapagos

“The Within3 platform was presented from the get-go as the go-to platform for collaboration with the PEC. Therefore, the implementation in practice was quite natural and straightforward.”

Overall, the PEC members find the platform easy to use and navigate, and enjoy the assurance of using a secure platform that enables collaboration. However, the critical impact of the platform can be seen in the results of successful PEC engagements.

Putting insights into action

According to Marina, the insights collected in these engagements helped Galapagos guide the preparation and discussions of the company’s first-ever patient advisory board and ultimately validate the content of the Patient Partnership Charter with all external advisors.

Since the establishment of the PEC, insights collected in the Within3 platform have supported Galapagos’ various strategies and tactics across various departments, and by the end of 2022, the PEC had already provided input for activities rolled out across five different departments.

Marina points out that the platform’s flexibility helps Galapagos work towards its goals for the PEC. “At different points, we found it useful that we can decide whether or not advisors can see each other’s input to avoid bias and that advisors can not only reply to the consultations but also interact with each other in the full spirit of transparency and collaboration.” The PEC engagements also used platform capabilities like document-viewing and graphs summarizing advisor feedback.

The ability to engage the PEC conveniently and flexibly supports Galapagos in achieving its goal of systematic patient engagement across the medicine lifecycle. “We believe using the platform contributed to establishing and maintaining a successful collaboration with all the external advisors, whose input and recommendations are invaluable to Galapagos,” said Marina.

About Galapagos

Galapagos is a fully integrated biotechnology company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing innovative medicines. They are committed to improving patients’ lives worldwide by targeting diseases with high unmet needs. Their mission is to develop transformational medicines in areas of high unmet need by combining internal with external science with the goal of adding years of life and improving quality of life of patients across the globe.

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