SOURCE: Cutting Edge Information

Cutting Edge Information

July 14, 2010 09:03 ET

MSL Leaders Factor Number of Thought Leader Relationships and Brands Heavily

New Study by Cutting Edge Information Provides Benchmarks and Best Practices to Build Medical Science Liaison Teams From the Ground Up

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwire - July 14, 2010) -  The two most important factors that biopharmaceutical companies consider as they build their Medical Science Liaison (MSL) and other field-based medical teams are the number of thought leader relationships and the number of supported brands, according to new research by business intelligence firm Cutting Edge Information.

The new report, "Best Practices in MSL Team Management: Benchmarks for Team Staffing, Budgets and Structure," ( shows that among fifty surveyed life sciences companies of all sizes, 74% and 72% of survey respondents identify number of supported brands/products and number of thought leader relationships, respectively, as key criteria for determining the size of an MSL team.

"Thought leader development is essential to the clinical and commercial strategies for a brand," said Jason Richardson, president of Cutting Edge Information ( "MSLs' efforts to cultivate relationships allow companies to execute plans and achieve goals on both ends."

When broken down by company size, the data show clear trends. Among large companies, 81% identify thought leader targets as the chief factor for building liaison teams; the number of supported brands closely follows, at 75%. In contrast, mid-sized companies reverse their importance -- 91% to 64% -- whereas small companies surveyed consider them equally (65%). 

Regardless of company size, thought leaders are integral to success. Large companies can afford to focus on more sophisticated thought leader relationship-building activities. Small companies and biotechs depend heavily on these relationships to build support for their products. "To be effective, MSL leaders should think ahead and plan for enough staff to support their brands, rather than wait to add MSLs shortly before a product launches," Richardson added.

Other criteria ranked by study participants include the number of MSL territories and yearly allocated budgets (each chosen at 48%) and number of sales reps (14%). Some specific MSL-led activities, such as number of investigator-initiated trial proposals or speeches given by thought leaders, each rank 10% or less.

"Best Practices in MSL Team Management" showcases data benchmarks and strategic recommendations to guide superior MSL team management. Key topics include team sizing, hiring criteria, resource allocation and territory sizing.

Contact Information

  • For more information, contact:
    Stephanie Swanson