SOURCE: Cutting Edge Information

Cutting Edge Information

January 21, 2015 09:30 ET

74% of Medical Science Liaisons Structure Teams Around Therapeutic Areas

Organization by Disease Area Promotes Focused Expertise and Enhanced Key Opinion Leader Interactions

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwired - January 21, 2015) - Life science companies can successfully structure their medical science liaison (MSL) teams in several ways. But, according to pharmaceutical intelligence provider Cutting Edge Information, most organize teams by therapeutic area. This structure allows MSLs to become experts in a particular disease area, thereby enhancing interactions with KOL specialists.

MSLs must be able to talk extensively about a particular product and disease area with physicians. Therefore, many companies group MSLs by therapeutic expertise. According to a new benchmarking report, 31% of surveyed teams are organized by disease area. Another 43% of teams are organized by disease area and region.

"Structuring teams by therapeutic area works especially well for companies with multiple products in a given disease area," said Ryan McGuire, Research Team Leader at Cutting Edge Information. "By doing so, MSLs can focus on gaining knowledge about products and new research that would draw physicians interested in an entire therapeutic area."

According to Capture and Communicate the Full Value of Medical Science Liaisons: Refining Global MSL Strategy with Compelling KPIs, a new report by Cutting Edge Information, companies also benefit from organizing their MSL teams by region because it decreases travel and increases team communication. One company, for example, organizes its US MSLs into East and West regions. A medical affairs manager from another group noted that there are varying regulations for MSL interactions in different regions. Companies can train MSLs about local compliance regulations more easily by organizing the team by region.

Capture and Communicate the Full Value of Medical Science Liaisons, available at, provides MSL teams with KPIs and other metrics they can benchmark against, as well as best practices that top pharmaceutical companies use to demonstrate liaison value to company stakeholders. Other key questions answered by this benchmarking study include:

  • How do MSL teams justify their existence?
  • How do MSL teams make a case for maintaining or increasing annual budgets?
  • What are some interteam communication strategies between MSLs and sales reps at top companies?
  • What activities should MSLs focus on prior to/post product launch? 

To learn more about Cutting Edge Information's medical affairs research, please visit

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