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From left to right, the scientists Pepi Hurtado and Itziar Escudero, ilS co-founders and partners (Photo: ilS).

ilS, five years connecting companies with world experts in health sciences

The consultancy firm Insights in Life Sciences (ilS), which is based at the Barcelona Science Park, is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. With more than 100 projects under its belt, 40 clients and a network of 15,000 experts across the world, the company has consolidated itself as an exceptional liaison between pharma, biotech and medical device companies and life sciences’ Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), with the aim of helping those Companies make suitable decisions for developing their products or successfully handling licence negotiation processes or funding rounds.


Insights in Life Sciences (ilS) –founded by two entrepreneurial scientists, Itziar Escudero and Pepi Hurtado– was launched in 2003 with the mission of providing life sciences companies with the knowledge they need to make the most suitable decisions throughout the life-cycles of their products.

The consultancy firm counts with an online platform, ilS NetworkSM, with more than 15,000 experts from around the world, including KOLs, health professionals from a range of medical specialities, and industry leaders. The network also encompasses public payers (hospital pharmacy directors and managers, assessment bodies, etc.) and private payers (clinics, insurance companies, etc.). More than 2,500 of these experts have already participated in the firm’s projects.

What are the existing unmet needs for a specific pathology? How can a patient algorithm be improved? What are the commercial opportunities of this novel technology? How does my target product profile (TPP) compare with the Standard of Care (SoC)? Who else is launching a product to the market at the same time than me? What is the probability of reimbursement for my product? Will specialists prescribe it?… These are just some examples of the questions resolved in the expert reports created by ilS with the support of its network.

“In the context of high uncertainty and competition our mission is to accelerate the decision making of our Clients by connecting them to the world’s top professionals and industry leaders. This is why ilS offers the most Timely, Rapid and Efficient Primary Research solutions for Pharma, Biotech and Medical Devices Companies today in the Market”says Dr Itziar Escudero, co-founder and partner of the consultancy firm.

Interactions that generate intelligent information

By means of its platform of experts (ilS NetworkSM) and a team of specialists with extensive experience in the life sciences sector, ilS offers comprehensive solutions with high added value based on primary research(direct consultations with experts) and secondary research (collation of information from published sources).

The firm counts with four areas of service: ilS ConnectionsSM (which allows direct access to experts); ilS InterviewsSM (careful selection of experts through screening questions, in-depth telephone interviews conducted by ilS specialized consultants and delivery of semi-qualitative reports); ilS SurveysSM (online surveys with an above-average response rate, and a quantitative report); and ilS KnowledgeSM (ad hoc expert panels or focus groups, based in Delphi-type methodology to reach a consensus).

ilS does not only foster interaction between life sciences experts and companies, but as a management consultancy firm, it accompanies its clients from the definition of the proposal until the obtention of the conclusions and recommendations. ilS value-added solutions are designed to meet the current and future needs of its Clients leveraging experts’ insights and experiences.

“Expert reports allow companies to improve the robustness of their business case so they can outlicense their products or technologies more efficiently, additionally those expert reports allow startups become more attractive for private funding”, says Dr Itziar Escudero.

International growth through partnerships

Despite its short track record, ilS has already undertaken around a hundred projects for over 40 entities from across the world and works with both global industry leaders (Amgen, Bayer, Almirall, Leo Pharma, Zambon, Myriad Group, Werfen,…), as well as startups (such as Leukos Biotech, Newborn Solutions and Biocross among others). Its clients also include technology transfer offices such as the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Bosch i Gimpera Foundation (FBG) at the University of Barcelona.

“Although 30% of ilS’ clients are international (mainly from the UK and the USA), we want to grow this percentage through strategic partnerships. This would allow us to further increase the company’s global expansion, boost our business volume and position ourselves as a key player. In fact the number of companies specialized in primary research for the life sciences industry that count with a network of experts is very limited… We are currently holding discussions with multinational consultancy firms and market research companies with the aim of establishing strategic collaborations. And we want to continue working along these lines”, says Dr Pepi Hurtado, co-founder and partner of ilS.