A 2-Day Training Course Delivered By
Kurt Arco

Kurt Arco

  • Launch excellence expert from Trilations, a strategic marketing consultancy that has been involved in major drug launches in over 40 countries and over 15 therapy areas.
  • Formerly with MSD (Merck & Co), where he led several major brand launches, Kurt Arco has 15 years of international launch experience within big and small pharma/biotech companies.


  1. A comprehensive overview of the launch process: From discovery/development up to maturity.
  2. A structured roadmap with detailed steps to plan your full cross-functional launch process.
  3. The 4 launch types: Selecting the right launch strategy based on your brand’s profile.
  4. The market and customer insights that are crucial for defining the launch strategy and plan.
  5. How to use the patient journey and leverage points to define and prioritise customer segments.
  6. How to design an omni-channel launch strategy to engage with the right key stakeholders.
  7. How to organise internally in order to be optimally prepared for launch.
  8. Best practices drawn from real-world examples of successful and failed launches.

Additional Benefits

  • You will be able to put theory into practice during group work on real-world case studies.
  • You will receive handy take-home templates and models.
  • Cross-check your approach and experiences during cross-functional discussions with industry peers.


Why You Should Attend

In the last decade, pharmaceutical companies have seen rapid changes in the market environment for their new brand launches. While austerity measures in many countries are increasing local and national hurdles for market access, drug launches are becoming more numerous, smaller, and more competitive. It has never been more important for pharmaceutical companies to crack the art of launching new products. YOU ONLY CAN DO IT ONCE! 

The Content: The course content builds on the expertise and experience that the expert has accumulated over the last 15 years in advising and implementing major product launches in EMEA across major therapy areas: Oncology (incl. Immunotherapy), Immunology, CNS, CVS and Metabolic Disorders. It covers all concepts and evidence-based tools for effective strategic decision- making and planning in the process up to launch, with a focus on what will determine the brand’s commercial success.

The Expert: Kurt Arco combines the academic rigour of Trilations, a strategic marketing consultancy he joined in 2016, with best practice within big pharma. When he was with MSD (Merck & Co), from 2005 to 2015, he led several major product launches in many geographical areas and contributed to, and piloted, major marketing & sales excellence projects. Trilations is a strategy consultancy agency that works closely with most of the major pharmaceutical and medical device companies in more than 40 countries worldwide (e.g. Johnson & Johnson, MSD, Roche, Pfizer, Boston Scientific, …).

The Strategy & Planning for Commercial Launch Success in Pharma course is the only available public training course delivered by Kurt Arco on the topic of Commercial Launch in Pharma.

Agenda of Strategy & Planning for Commercial Launch Success in Pharma


Day 1



Welcome & Audience Expectations


Launch Excellence Fundamentals in Pharma: “From one-size-fits-all to a tailored approach


  • Launching in a changing landscape: key trends and the importance of customer-centricity for success
  • Product launch complexity: the 4 strategic launch types and their strategic implications
  • The importance of plotting and planning your company’s entire pipeline for your drug’s launch strategy
11:30Coffee Break


Launch Excellence Fundamentals in Pharma - Continued


  • Drivers of commercial launch excellence


The Commercial Launch Process: The Road to Success

  • A successful launch is more than fast uptake and peak sales!
  • The key success factors for a successful product launch
  • A roadmap and a handy checklist for a successful commercial launch: timings and responsibilities

Plenary discussion: learning from a launch success and a launch failure within the Oncology market.



The Commercial Launch Process - Continued


The Critical Market Insights to Boost Tomorrow’s Brand Performance

  • The 3 critical insights to get the positioning of your brand right, to shape its market and to create the competitive advantage:
    • How to capture the critical market insights using the Market Overview template
    • The critical competitor insights
    • The patient journey: a step by step guide

To illustrate the theory, the business case used in the group exercise hereafter will be used to build the set of critical insights required for the exercise.

15:45Coffee Break


Group Exercise on a Launch Business Case


Using a fictitious business case (based on a recently launched Rx pharmaceutical), delegates will work in groups to analyse and discuss the strategic implications of critical insights in a country, where a recently launched competitor failed in terms of market uptake. The objective of the exercise is to address the Country Manager’s strategic concerns and propose recommendations.

This interactive session includes group presentation and sharing key learnings.


Close of Day 1


Group Dinner


Day 2



Defining the Core Communication Strategy: Segmentation - Targeting - Positioning

  • The 8-step approach for effective market segmentation, targeting and positioning
  • Critical success factors in designing and implementing a successful segmentation model
  • Hands-on tips & tricks for each step in the segmentation process
10:15Coffee Break


Group Exercise on Segmentation - Targeting – Positioning


Using a business case, participants will need to assess an existing segmentation model, identify areas for improvement, prioritise segments, define an appropriate positioning and design an optimal communication strategy by segment.


Engaging Key Stakeholders for Launch


  • The 4 critical steps: Mapping – Strategy – Execution – Measuring & Feedback
  • Overview of current and emerging stakeholder categories
  • The different strategies to engage with payers
  • How to get KOLs and patient associations on board through brand advocacy development


Designing an Omni-Channel Interaction Launch Strategy

  • The optimal omni-channel strategy framework: How to improve communication efficiency and effectiveness
  • A step-by-step process to determine the optimal channel mix
  • How to make sure your commercial launch team is ready to implement an omni-channel communication strategy


Group Exercise on Omni-Channel Interaction Strategy


Using a real-life business case, participants will run through a step-by-step simulation exercise to design a multi-channel interaction strategy for a successful launch.


Coffee Break


Preparing the Cross-Functional Launch Team: Organisational Challenges

  • How to embed structures and processes to ensure unified brand leadership and launch excellence
  • The need for leadership commitment: What resources are needed to guarantee a successful launch?
  • How to prepare the organisation with the Launch Academy and Launch Factory





>> Click here if you wish to receive the PDF brochure of this course

Learning Methodology

Interactive lectures, which include real-world launch cases in a variety of therapy areas, alternate with group exercises during which you will be able to work on a hypothetical drug launch that runs throughout the different modules.

The group exercises not only enable you to apply the theory and decision-making tools, but also offer the invaluable opportunity to discuss issues and exchange points of view and experiences with your peers from other functions and companies.

One of the most valuable aspects of attending any C.E.L.forpharma course is not only being able to have your specific questions answered by a leading expert, but also having the opportunity to share experiences and have in-depth discussions with your international peers.

infoThe typical audience size of our courses ranges from 6 to 24 (max) participants.

Who Should Attend?

A cross-functional launch team typically consists of executives from Marketing, Sales, Medical, Market Access, External Affairs and Business Intelligence. This course is a must-attend for all members of any cross-functional launch team that needs to launch a brand in the coming 1-3 years. In particular, all executives responsible for building, executing and measuring a launch plan.

As this course is delivered by Kurt Arco from Trilations, a strategic marketing consultancy, executives from other professional service agencies should request approval prior to registering for this course. Please contact Inge Cornelis, Director Commercial Communications, for more information (inge.cornelis@celforpharma.com, tel +32 (0)2 709 01 43).


Past Participants

Below is a non-exhaustive list of past participants who have benefited from attending this course.


Job Title



Senior Manager Late Stage Development4SCGermany
Head Corporate MarketingAcino PharmaSwitzerland
Senior Medical Science Manager ZAVESCAActelionSwitzerland
Associate Product ManagerAlexionAustralia
Product Manager TransplantAstellasNetherlands
Head of Sales/Marketing ManagerBayer Healthcare PharmaceuticalsSwitzerland
Project Leader Development Projects| Corp. Project + Portfolio ManagementBiotestGermany
Sr. Launch Readiness ManagerBoehringer IngelheimGermany
LATAM Regional ManagerBracco AltanaSwitzerland
Associate Director, OperationsDiaceuticsUnited Kingdom
Brand ManagerEisaiSwitzerland
Global Strategic Market Intelligence LeadFerringSwitzerland
Senior Director Alliance ManagementGalapagosBelgium
Product Manager Oncology (D-A-CH)IpsenGermany
Learning and Development ManagerJanssenGermany
Supply Chain Manager New Product LaunchJohnson & JohnsonSwitzerland
Global Market Access Lead, Rare DiseasesLEO PharmaDenmark
EMAC NPI Launch Lead Acute Care, Regional Portfolio Management TeamMerck Sharp & DohmeSwitzerland
Sales Manager /PhDr.MundipharmaSlovakia
Brand Director OphthalmologyNovartisGermany
Head, Operations & Executional Excellence, Social MediaNovartisSwitzerland
Product ManagerNovo NordiskHungary
Manager - Business InformationNovo NordiskGermany
Business ManagerOrionFinland
Global Brand ManagerOrionSweden
Brand ManagerOy VermanFinland
Product ManagerPierre FabreGermany
Senior Product ManagerSanofiRussian Federation
Brand ManagerSanofiBelgium
Global Commercial LeadShireUnited States of America
Franchise Head CNSTevaGermany
Launch Solution Lab LeadUCBBelgium
Marketing ManagerVifor PharmaSwitzerland



Dates & Locations

All C.E.L.forpharma courses are held in top-class four or five star hotels situated in easily accessible locations, either close to an international airport or near public transportation links in city centre locations.
  • 24-25 September 2019, Zurich


This session is fully booked. If you want to be on the waiting list, please send an e-mail to Inge Cornelis.

This course takes place at the Hilton Zurich Airport Hotel which is located just five minutes from Zurich Kloten Airport with the complimentary shuttle. Zurich’s vibrant city centre is located only a fifteen minutes’ drive away.


Address: Hohenbuehlstrasse 10, Opfikon-Glattbrugg 8152, Switzerland
Tel: +41 44 828 50 50

  • 10-11 December 2019, Brussels

This course takes place at the Courtyard Marriott Brussels Hotel which is located 15 minutes from Brussels National Airport by complimentary hotel shuttle or taxi and 30 minutes by taxi from Brussels South train station (Thalys, TGV, Eurostar). 


Address: Avenue des Olympiades 6, 1140 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 337 08 08

  • 18-19 June 2020, Brussels

This course takes place at the Courtyard Marriott Brussels Hotel which is located 15 minutes from Brussels National Airport by complimentary hotel shuttle or taxi and 30 minutes by taxi from Brussels South train station (Thalys, TGV, Eurostar). 


Address: Avenue des Olympiades 6, 1140 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 337 08 08

  • 6-7 October 2020, London

This course takes place at the Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel which is located on the perimeter of Heathrow Airport, a short taxi or bus journey from the terminal where the Heathrow Express service to Central London is also situated.


Address: Bath Road, Hounslow, TW6 2AQ, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 20 88 97 63 63

  • 17-18 December 2020, Brussels

This course takes place at the Courtyard Marriott Brussels Hotel which is located 15 minutes from Brussels National Airport by complimentary hotel shuttle or taxi and 30 minutes by taxi from Brussels South train station (Thalys, TGV, Eurostar). 


Address: Avenue des Olympiades 6, 1140 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 337 08 08

Hotel Booking Assistance

Having built a strong relationship with each hotel, C.E.L.forpharma has secured preferential room rates for our delegates who book their accommodation three weeks or more prior to the course. Upon your registration, we will help you make your hotel booking. For any assistance in this matter please do not hesitate to contact Sarah Nissen, Senior Programme Coordinator (sarah.nissen@celforpharma.com, tel +32 (0)2 709 01 46).

Included in the Registration Fee

  • Course Material (Digital & Print Versions)
  • Coffee, Tea & Refreshments During the Course
  • Lunch During the Course
  • A Group Dinner on the First Day
  • Certificate of Attendance Signed by the Experts


Group Discounts

Team discounts can be offered to 3 or more delegates from the same company.
Contact Inge Cornelis, Director Commercial Communications, (inge.cornelis@celforpharma.com) for more details.


How to Register

  1. Click the "Register Here" button on this page.
  2. Choose a course date, then fill out your personal details and company / invoicing details.
  3. Choose to pay via bank transfer / invoice or by credit card.
  4. Click "Confirm Registration". You will be sent an automatic email confirming your registration followed by a personal email containing an invoice and further payment instructions.

For assistance in registering, raising a PO or invoicing, please do not hesitate to contact Kealeigh Steel.
(email: kealeigh.steel@celforpharma.com or call: +32 2 709 01 45)


Transfer & Cancellation Policy

Flexible Transfer

  • If a registrant cannot attend the scheduled course, he/she can avoid any cancellation charge by sending a suitable replacement participant.
  • Alternatively, the registrant can transfer once on a “space available” basis at no extra cost, until 3 weeks prior to the event, to another course held within one year of the original course date.

Participant Cancellation

  • Up to 6 weeks prior to the course: cancellation fee of € 400 per participant.
  • Up to 5 weeks prior to the course: 25% of the invoiced registration fee.
  • Up to 4 weeks prior to the course: 50% of the invoiced registration fee.
  • Up to 3 weeks prior to the course: 75% of the invoiced registration fee.
  • Fewer than 3 weeks or if no notification received: registrant liable to pay invoiced registration fee.
  • If a registrant postpones his/her participation to a future course, and cancels again, no refund can be claimed for registration fees.

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