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Meet the Team: Andrew Ward

If you missed the recent news, Evaluate recently acquired J+D Forecasting, a provider of brilliant forecasting solutions to pharma and biotech companies. Andrew Ward has been with the J+D team for almost 10 years as Head of Implementation team, ensuring that the team is able to meet the ever-evolving needs of their customers. I grabbed some time with Andrew to find out about his love of forecasting, the challenges in balancing investment with value, and why you may find him racing round Poland dressed in red, white and blue…

Headshot-Andrew

  1. What do you think is going to have the biggest impact on the pharma industry in the next five years?
    The increasing amount of data available and the use of AI. While we are seeing specific uses of AI at the moment, I think in five years’ time it could bring significant impacts across the whole pharmaceutical value chain, from drug discovery and clinical trial design, through to opportunity assessment and forecast development. The availability and importance of data will need to develop hand-in-hand with AI to maximise its impact – certainly an exciting time to be working in pharma!
  2. What’s the biggest challenge facing pharma and biotech companies at the moment?
    Getting the value proposition right. Over the last few years we have continued to see exciting developments and breakthroughs in vaccines, oncology and gene therapy to name a few. However it is still challenging to ensure these innovations are delivered to the most number of patients possible, in a way that effectively balances the significant investment required by the pharmaceutical companies with the demand for value. Often innovations are targeting smaller patient populations and using more advanced technologies to deliver significant improvements, which inevitably means increased R&D costs to develop these new treatments, in combination with a general increase in cost of doing business. However with organisations, such as Medicare, negotiating drug prices, balancing these two competing factors is becoming even more difficult.
  3. Which areas of the industry are you most fascinated by? Why?
    Forecasting, which is a good job as that is the area I have specialised in over the last 10 years! For what looks like a niche area from an outside perspective, the variety of situations in which a forecast is required, and the multitude of approaches that can be applied, is very wide and varied. The balancing act involved developing forecasting solutions continues to interest me, as we are continuing to innovate which keeps it fresh and engaging.
  4. Other than working for Evaluate (of course!), what’s your career highlight to-date?
    Before J+D was acquired by Evaluate, the amount of change and innovation the team went through in the last 10 years has been massive – looking back I am really proud of the (small) role I played in that process. Seeing how individuals, and the team, have developed is incredibly satisfying.
  5. How did you end up working in this industry?
    I have always been interested in science, having studied Chemistry at university, and I found the combination of science, innovation, patient needs and the complexity of the pharmaceutical market really captivating. That was the initial appeal and attracted me to my first role in comms and then I moved into business analytics after a couple of years, and have not looked back.
  6. What’s the best thing about your role?
    I love listening to clients’ wants and needs (not necessarily the same thing!) and then working with my colleagues to identify a solution for that specific client, that gives them what they need but does it in a way that is simple, effective and aligned with best practice principles. Forecasting is often a balancing act between desired functionality, simplicity and flexibility, so I find it very satisfying when we get that balance right.
  7. What’s your favourite drink?
    Flavoured sparkling water. While it might not seem that exciting, water is so refreshing and definitely something I need to drink more of! Then adding in the bubbles and some flavouring, such as fresh lemon slices or mint leaves, and I am contented. Plus no hangover the next day!
  8. What really irritates you?
    Not being solution orientated. I appreciate people need to moan or let off steam, which is fine, and people want to talk through problems. But I find it frustrating if once people have walked through the situation and the associated challenges, they just stop and expect you to come up with all the solutions. I find that the best solutions are often develop and iterated as a collaboration and people coming to the discussion with some initial suggestions, make such a difference and also provides a great learning opportunity to see how those initial ideas evolve to become the final solution.
  9. Tell us an interesting fact about yourself
    In the last two years I have represented Great Britain as an age group athlete at Triathlon European and World Championships, visiting Poland, Spain and Finland in the process. They were amazing experiences and the pride of wearing your country’s colours while taking part was awesome. Just need to continue getting faster!
Evaluate-Author-Carolyn-Hall

Carolyn Hall

Director, Content & Thought Leadership Marketing

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