What is Stakeholder Analysis in Life Science? Why should you do it?

“Stakeholder Analysis and Engagement are critical to the launch and staying power of your product.” You have heard that wisdom before, but on top of seven to nine phone calls a day and hours spent in meetings, you may not have time to complete a truly thorough Stakeholder Analysis.

Still, you are bombarded with calls from hundreds of medical societies and advocacy groups who all request your time and your company’s funding. You are unsure of who to work with or how to work them.

Let’s clear up the confusion.

What is Stakeholder Analysis?

I am glad you asked. Stakeholder Analysis is a thorough assessment of the major players in a given disease state and how they impact a product. Such players include key individuals (e.g., KOLs), medical societies, advocacy groups, policy organizations, regulatory bodies, and even governments.

Quickly putting Stakeholder Analysis into action, let’s look at the COVID-19 vaccine race. To expedite vaccine development, a process that typically takes 10 years, industry had to partner with governments and institutions of higher learning. Pfizer collaborated with the U.S government through Operation Warp Speed. AstraZeneca partnered with Oxford.

Also, this past Sunday’s CBS’s 60 Minutes reported that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was behind the technology that Regeneron used to develop its monoclonal antibody treatment.

Such collaborations with governments and institutions allowed industry to ramp up quickly in order to develop a series of COVID-19 vaccines. Also, beneath the surface, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease collaborated with organizations such as the American Medical Association to create educational content for providers.

In contrast to the industry of old, stakeholders in the 21st century have significant power over industry. Thus, it is crucial to cultivate relationships with stakeholders early in your product’s development cycle. This helps to build anticipation for your product to ensure it hits the ground running.

To build anticipation, you must engage stakeholders.

How to Engage Stakeholders

A business school professor of mine used to say that he would rather our research papers be a mile deep and an inch wide than a mile wide and an inch deep. I apply this philosophy when analyzing stakeholders. Unfortunately, when researching the players in a particular disease state, you come across a lot of duds. Their needs to be an alignment between your goals and objectives and the organization. This is not obvious at first glance.

For example, sponsoring an activity with an organization is a relatively simple task.  However, are you looking to have the organization jointly sponsor an activity? Is your goal even more ambitious such as an endorsement or a full collaboration on a program or education? Are you interested in any research currently being conducted that is open to joint collaboration?

Some organizations have supported industry with helping to  identify patients for clinical trials. Some also have a strong ambassador program that puts a face on a given disease state. The possibilities are wide.  

In our experience, you can boil hundreds of organizations down to a select few. We narrow the organizations by starting off with these fundamental questions:  

  • Does the organization work with industry?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of each group?
  • What types of partnerships do then engage with industry? 
  • Are the organization goals in alignment with your objectives?
  • Does your firm have existing relationships with the organization?
  • Do your key opinion leader/s (KOLs) currently sit on the board or important committees?
  • Does the organization have the capacity to engage in various activities?


Stakeholder Analysis and Engagement does not have to be intimidating. By asking a few select questions and extensively researching a few particular organizations, you will be able to save your firm a lot of time and money.  After a thorough Stakeholder Analysis, you can rest assured that you have given your product the best chance of succeeding.

With this information, you can now feel empowered to tackle Stakeholder Analysis head on. If you would like us to assist you with your stakeholder analysis, engagement, and management, please book a call with us by clicking the button below.


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Effective product planning requires asking questions, seeking answers, and analyzing the answers for insights. Don’t despair; you are not in this alone. We have the in-depth knowledge of the industry needed to answer your questions and provide actionable insights.