SENIOR DIRECTOR, SOLUTION CONSULTING AND SYNERGY
Ritupriya Yamujala leads Norstella’s solution consulting team across Citeline and Evaluate. Her team aligns client needs with the correct selection of core products and works to develop Norstella’s go-to-market strategy for new strategic intelligence solutions.
Tell us a little bit more about your role.
Our team is primarily responsible for aligning client needs with the appropriate core Citeline and Evaluate subscription offerings. After asking prospective clients questions to determine their pain points, we select the right offering to help them achieve their goals.
We also create the go-to-market strategy for strategic intelligence products across both organizations. Before we release any commercial product, we test it out with early adopters, soliciting feedback to help us refine it. Once we have enough early adopters, the product becomes generally available. We then help train our internal sales enablement teams, making sure that we have a crisp value proposition and a well-executed go-to-market strategy.
How did you join the company? What in your background brought you to pharma?
I was interested in the pharmaceutical healthcare space from the very beginning. At first, I wanted to become a doctor. During my master’s in biotechnology and genomics at Rutgers, I did a lot of lab work and research in molecular biology. Once I finished my master’s, I could choose either a PhD path—which would have led to more research in molecular biology—or a consulting path.
After taking a job as a consultant at Zitter Health Insights, I learned so much about the access issues that patients experience. I realized I was actually quite interested in the corporate side of healthcare. I knew I needed to be in this industry, because there’s so much valuable work we can do to smooth patients’ access to therapies and help companies bring critical therapies to market.
What does your day-to-day normally look like?
My daily work generally revolves around meeting the client’s needs. Some days we might be identifying their pain points, and on others, we might be strategizing on an offering for them. I’m also focused on making sure that we’re bringing new products to market that really match our clients’ emerging and unmet needs. During this process, we strive to ensure that our marketing, commercial, and product enablement teams are all thinking about the client’s point of view and the end goal of smoothing access to therapies.
What are some of the larger projects you’re working on right now?
We’re focusing on three pivotal industry challenges. The first is the usability of real-world data. We’re making sure our clients are able to seamlessly query that treasure trove of real-world data to draw out useful, actionable insights.
The second project revolves around forecasting. How do we address all of the various pain points that clients experience when they’re forecasting across each stage of an asset development pipeline? They’re using different methodologies, each of which has its own challenges—so how do we solve for all of their forecasting needs?
Our third key project is refining our competitive intelligence insights. As we’ve been doing this for more than a decade now, we have quite a lot of expertise, and we’re sitting on a gold mine of data. So how do we ensure we’re drawing out the most important insights from that data? How can we deliver those insights in a way that helps our clients decide what their next steps should be? We are refining an approach that helps our clients hyper-focus on the insights they want to uncover.
What are some of the common challenges of your role?
When you have innovation at this level, sometimes we tend to assume that there are insurmountable hurdles in our way that can’t be overcome. We decide ahead of time that while we can do this, while we absolutely cannot do that. But sometimes, in order to solve for our clients’ most complex pain points, we have to imagine the impossible—and then just find a way to make it happen. We have to remove our blinders and think creatively about how to forge a new path. It’s a huge intellectual puzzle.
What’s been your career highlight to date?
Three years ago, I moved from the operations team to solution consulting, which was really beneficial for me. Being in front of clients gave me a much deeper understanding of their primary and secondary needs. The industry is evolving so quickly, and this role has allowed me to learn from—and actively solve for—some of these complexities.
Being involved in our go-to-market strategy development is also a huge highlight in my career, as it puts my team at the forefront of innovation in this industry. Launching Synergy products across Norstella’s five sister companies has been challenging, yet the team has been able to marry the value propositions of different products into one cohesive Norstella narrative. I was privileged to play a key role in launching MMIT’s offerings that use lab data and other real-world datasets, and now I’m helping to launch other products within Evaluate and Citeline.
What trends are you seeing across the industry that Norstella is in a unique position to help with?
Maintaining patient access has become more complicated because of the growing complexity of the therapies being introduced—T-cell therapies, gene therapies, CAR-T therapies, biomarker-based therapies. These are all expensive products because they’re highly nuanced, targeted treatments; as a result, establishing and maintaining patient access is more challenging. When a company introduces a treatment for a niche population or stage of treatment, they must have accurate patient population assumptions to ensure long-term competitive positioning.
Along the same thought, the second trend revolves around choosing the right molecules to bring to market. This has historically been a challenge when multiple treatments are introduced into crowded indications, but with the Inflation Reduction Act, the margin for errors is really low. You need to make sure that your assumptions are right, and your go-to-market strategy is tight. There is less room for inaccurate forecasting, as companies need to know for sure if they’re going to get a good return on their investment.
For both of these challenges, pharma companies need really high-quality data to support and justify their decisions. That’s where we come in. We help clients make the right decisions from pipeline to commercialization.
Which company principle resonates most with you?
Definitely being bold, passionate, and mission-first! In the past several years, I’ve been rewarded for having the courage to test innovative offerings. Our mindset of creativity and growth actually requires a lot of courage, because we are no longer working within one company—we are working across five companies and devising solutions using our collective expertise. That opens up a lot of opportunities, but it also requires bold, innovative thinking.
What would you tell someone just starting their career with Norstella?
I would say that it’s a wonderful time to join Norstella, because our merger and acquisition strategy is driving us to become the market leader. We have this extensive amount of data that we can build innovative solutions around, and it’s a rewarding time to be a part of it.
For the first three months of your career here, you should concentrate on listening and learning from the experts around you. Work to understand the many different products we offer across each step of pipeline development. As long as you have the right mindset and a positive outlook, you’ll be able to jump right in and collaborate with your peers.
Where do you see Norstella in the next year or two?
I believe Norstella will continue to be at the forefront of real-world data’s application in this space. Our assets will drive insights across the patient journey, which will help our clients solve problems that they’ve previously been unable to. With the right data, our clients will be able to generate new insights in every arena, from clinical trials and feasibility to recruitment to competitive intelligence to forecasting and commercialization.
What do you like most about working at Norstella?
My favorite part of working here is our culture of collaboration. People tend to assume positive intent—it’s a big internal mantra for us. That collaborative spirit makes it so rewarding to work here, because your colleagues all respect and appreciate each other’s point of view.
The pure expertise that exists within the organization now is phenomenal, from the Board level to our executive leadership, product teams, consulting teams, everyone. You are often working alongside people who are more intelligent and experienced than you, which is excellent, because that’s when you learn and grow.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I have a six-year-old, so I’m often doing fun activities with him! We live in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area, so we also spend a lot of time outside on hikes and with friends. In terms of hobbies, I really enjoy singing, as well as Indian classical dancing.
We’re looking for agile, growth-oriented team players who are passionate about client success and helping clients bring life-saving therapies to market quicker—and help patients in need.Work with us
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