By Kristy Dorsey

Scottish data tech company Talking Medicines has launched its new service providing marketing intelligence to the pharmaceutical industry.

Using text mining technologies, PatientMetRx collects data from sites such as Reddit, Twitter, online forums and blogs to produce a systematic measurement of patients’ experience of taking medicines. This data is filtered by artificial intelligence (AI) developed by Talking Medicines that removes irrelevant information to focus on what it being said about medicines, health conditions, symptoms and so forth.

Drawing from what the company claims are “millions of conversations”, this information is mapped against a database of 130,000 globally-regulated medicines to produce a “patient confidence score”, offering a systematic way of understanding trending patient trust in their drug brands.

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Jo Halliday, chief executive of Talking Medicines, said tracking this patient confidence score will allow firms to accurately measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, reduce budgets, improve market competitiveness and deliver better patient outcomes.

“The pharmaceutical industry spends $30 billion on marketing each year in the US alone without really knowing if that investment is doing any good,” Ms Halliday said. “The systematic data-driven tools that other industries use to measure customer experience haven’t been available to pharma at scale and the industry has relied on indirect feedback from clinicians, patient advocacy or ad hoc focus groups.”

The launch follows a fundraising in November of last year in which Talking Medicines raised £1.1 million to scale up its data technology platform. Tern, a specialist investor in the Internet of Things (IoT), led the funding syndicate with the taxpayer-backed Scottish Investment Bank also participating.

That took the total amount of funding raised to date by the Glasgow-based company to £2.5m. Talking Medicines was set up in 2013 by co-founders Ms Halliday, Dr Elizabeth Fairley and Dr Scott Crae.

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Ms Halliday said PatientMetRx de-risks social data collection for pharmaceutical companies by offering arm’s length collection from wherever a patient is speaking, and then decoding it to align to medicines. She added that it’s something that has “never been done before”, with results delivered on a digital dashboard.

“By using cutting-edge artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing models, we’re able to provide real-time social intelligence in a straightforward and incredibly intuitive way,” she added.

“It’s been a glaring omission that medication research hasn’t been able to tap into the voice of the patient like this, but the feedback we’ve had from the industry so far has shown how vital an insight tool like PatientMetRx is. Marketing spend can be more efficient, and patient outcomes will be better.”