Trispera Pharma Solutions Interview
F.L.: We would like to get to know you and Trispera better; could you tell us about yourselves?
Dr. Kıvanç Öztüzün: I am a graduate of Ege University Faculty of Medicine. I started my professional career as the head physician in a primary healthcare clinic in Istanbul, where I came for mandatory service. During my active medical career, I worked as a clinician and manager in various roles for about 6 years under the Ministry of Health. In 2014, I started my career in the pharmaceutical industry at AstraZeneca, where I focused on chronic diseases and learned about the overall dynamics of the industry. At the same time, the business program (MBA) I attended at Bilgi University helped me develop different perspectives in the pharmaceutical industry. As a doctor, I decided that oncology, hematology, genetics, and rare diseases were the areas where I could make a difference, and I joined Sanofi Genzyme. During my time at Sanofi Genzyme, I was the medical manager responsible for lipid storage diseases such as Gaucher, mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS), Niemann-Pick, as well as hemophilia. During this period, I gained experience in the field of rare diseases, and since 2016, I have been working in the field of rare diseases.
Combining my social sensitivity from my medical background and my experience in the pharmaceutical industry, I founded Trispera Pharma Solutions in 2020. Trispera is a pharma solutions company that provides services to pharmaceutical companies in rare diseases and niche areas in Turkey and the Middle East. As Trispera, we conduct market research in rare diseases and niche areas, provide support in managing the access to treatment process, communicate with physicians and relevant associations, design social awareness and education campaigns, and provide services with our expert team in many specific areas according to the needs of the companies we work with, such as Rhythm Pharmaceuticals, Recordati Rare Diseases, TRPharm, and Asia Orphan, which are all focused on rare diseases. Trispera consists of two parts: our medical team consisting of doctors and pharmacists, and our digital team consisting of experts in software and communication. We have been moving forward with our digital team since the establishment of our organization, being aware of the significance of digital technologies in the future world. In addition to medico-marketing projects, we have colleagues specialized in digital health projects as well.
“People who struggle with rare diseases can get a diagnosis after an average of 7 years and after consulting an average of 8 different specialists.”
What motivates you in the field of rare diseases? What are the reasons behind Trispera’s focus on this area? I was introduced to rare diseases through my work at Sanofi Genzyme, one of the leading companies with the most extensive knowledge and experience in the field of rare diseases in Turkey and the world. During my time at Sanofi, I learned about the unique characteristics that distinguish rare diseases from others, and the unmet needs in the field through firsthand experience. The main characteristics that set rare diseases apart from other fields are the wide range of diseases, resulting in a high level of unmet needs. In most cases, these diseases are either fatal or significantly reduce the quality of life, and only a small portion of them have available treatments. Access to treatment for rare diseases can make a significant positive impact on the lives of patients and their families. Therefore, we at Trispera Pharma Solutions have focused on the field of rare diseases, both to indirectly aid these patients and their families and to address the unmet needs we see in this area.
What kind of solutions does Trispera offer as a solution partner for pharmaceutical companies in rare diseases and niche areas? Rare diseases are an area that requires more sensitive and meticulous work compared to other areas. Generally speaking, these diseases are less known and harder to diagnose due to the fact that each one is seen in a small number of people. In our country and globally, people who struggle with rare diseases can get a diagnosis after an average of 7 years and after consulting an average of 8 different specialists. Therefore, it is a very difficult and long process for both patients and physicians. For pharmaceutical companies, it is crucial that these patients receive the right diagnosis and that doctors can access the latest treatments. At Trispera Pharma Solutions, we provide solutions in research, strategic planning, positioning, marketing, and the design of social responsibility projects for pharmaceutical companies; we work to increase the awareness of rare diseases among doctors in Turkey and the Middle East and indirectly bring patients and the latest treatments together.
What sets Turkey apart from other countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in terms of rare diseases? What can companies expect if they want to enter the market in this region? The MENA region has been gaining attention from global pharmaceutical companies especially in the past 10-20 years. Generally speaking, the conditions and challenges that apply to the Turkish market are also present in countries in the MENA region. This region also has a high population and a common practice of consanguineous marriages, which can result in a higher incidence of genetic diseases, thus, a relatively higher need for treatment. On the other hand, considering language and cultural differences, global companies face a different market entry process than what they are accustomed to in Europe and America.
“Trispera has focused on rare diseases, both to indirectly aid the patients and their families and to address the unmet needs we see in this area.”
What are your mid and long-term goals as Trispera? We have been working intensively towards our goals since our establishment. We have prioritized pursuing new partnerships and project collaborations that will create social benefits both domestically and abroad. We believe that digital health applications will revolutionize the medical world as we know it. In addition to developing medico-marketing projects for individuals with rare diseases and institutions operating in this field, our goals also include developing revolutionary digital applications. I can say that we have set the fundamental vision of being the best and the first to come to mind with our work in rare diseases and niche areas.
What are Trispera’s efforts to create social and sectoral awareness in the area of rare diseases? I believe that one of the most important projects that we have carried out in terms of creating awareness is the "Rare Diseases Blog" project that we conducted in collaboration with Gene2info. The Rare Diseases Blog is a platform that allows doctors to follow the most up-to-date and important rare disease articles, and Trispera is the content partner of this platform. In addition, we have a community that follows our social media accounts, mostly composed of doctors and pharmaceutical industry professionals. Through social media, we regularly share informative posts and current news to increase awareness of rare diseases among doctors and pharmaceutical industry representatives. As Trispera, rare diseases are our primary motivation area, and creating awareness in this area is our leading desire.