Lilly, MDLinx launch oncology journal app

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Eli Lilly is going bigger in the cancer space, and is drawing attention to its efforts with a one-year sponsorship of an MDLinx journal aggregator app called MDLinx Oncology Articles, which the company presented at last month's American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago.

The app pools information from more than 150 oncology journals which are screened by MDLinx staff. Carla Cox, director of communications for Lilly Oncology told MM&M that the drug maker has no say in what MDLinx's editorial staff selects and that "there will not be any promotion of any Lilly product."

Cox said the drug maker knows “we need to go above and beyond. That we also now need to work very closely with our customers and physicians to make sure they have access to the right [kind] of information they need,” and the goal was to “put it right in the palm of their hand.”

Cox says Lilly had been thinking about an app for some time – the company already has clinical trial and pipeline apps – but decided to look outside for a research tool instead of simply replicating what is already on the market. Like other journal aggregators, the MDLinx app allows users to share abstracts and define the type of content they want, drilling down to include criteria such as tumor types. The daily content includes editorial summaries and access to third-party reviews and is currently scaled for phones as opposed to tablets.

Cox says Lilly would look into additional platforms, but lead with phones based on preference research. She says that while ROI for such things “fall into that gray space,” the company will use feedback to gauge the app's impact and to figure out if it wants to call in its right to renew sponsorship once the year-long contract is up.

In addition to ASCO, Lilly is promoting the apps at the European Society of Medical Oncology and the World Conference on Lung Cancer. The Indiana company is also using sales rep leave-behinds to promote the app, and says promotion will continue to increase as global affiliates green-light the tool and begin talking it up through local channels.

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