Waltham, MA, May 10, 2021 — Trinity Life Sciences, a leader in global life sciences commercialization solutions, is sharing findings from its latest white paper entitled “The 2020 Dichotomy: An Analysis of the COVID-19 Launch Class and How Commercial Innovation Failed to Keep Pace with Scientific Progress.” The paper finds that while there were a few significant overperforming drug launches during COVID, mostly limited to oncology and rare markets, the majority of launches underperformed expectations. Those that struggled were often drugs in mass markets (infectious disease, neurodegenerative, etc.) and/or those contending in mature markets (migraine, HIV, metabolic, etc.), where product switching and healthcare provider (HCP) clinical experience are critical for success but were hindered during COVID.

According to the paper, some drugs with sluggish starts recovered later in 2020; however, slow starts typically led to slow finishes.

“Some drugs that underperformed in the first half of 2020 given the challenges of COVID were able to ‘bounce back’ in the second half of the year due to either creative digital/virtual strategies or re-opening of traditional channels like in-office representative visits,” said Leslie Orne, Chief Client Officer, Trinity Life Sciences. “However, those that lagged the most struggled to regain ground.”

According to the paper, products that were most dependent on deploying a traditional sales force to engage in face-to-face contact with HCPs may have suffered the greatest launch setbacks during COVID. As of March 2021, representatives were conducting an average of two in-person calls per day, a decline from pre-pandemic levels ranging from four to nine, depending on specialty. Companies whose go-to-market strategies relied heavily on in-person sales efforts may have unsurprisingly found themselves needing to close a significant gap.

In contrast, relatively few companies pursued truly innovative approaches to commercialization.

“Companies mainly seem to have explored digital outreach as a bridge to delayed rollouts of in-person promotional campaigns rather than embed it as a foundational strategy in commercialization readiness,” continued Ms. Orne.

The white paper also found that certain challenges for biopharma in 2020 will likely continue well into 2021; as of April, vaccination efforts are accelerating while new viral variants pose the risk of yet another wave that could continue to limit access to physicians’ offices for both patients and representatives.

“Although the COVID pandemic exposed the limitations and challenges of the traditional, in-person selling model, companies have not yet mastered or optimized commercial innovations such as virtual detailing and targeted digital engagement strategies,” said Krista Perry, Partner and Head of Launch Excellence, Trinity Life Sciences. “The need to reap greater returns from novel commercialization efforts will not abate even after the pandemic, as the dynamic between biopharma, physicians and patients has been changed forever. The pandemic may have been a driver for commercial innovation, but further sustainable advances will be needed to keep pace with the industry’s scientific progress.”

About Trinity Life Sciences

Trinity Life Sciences is a trusted strategic commercialization partner, providing evidence-based solutions for the life sciences. With 25 years of experience, Trinity is committed to solving clients’ most challenging problems through exceptional levels of service, powerful tools, and data-driven insights. Trinity’s range of products and solutions includes industry-leading benchmarking solutions, powered by TGaS Advisors. To learn more about how Trinity is elevating life sciences and driving evidence to action, visit

See all News posts