Alexion Challenge

Case Study #3: Alexion Challenge

Alexion is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on serving patients and families affected by rare diseases through the discovery, development and commercialization of life-changing therapies.

Since its founding in 1992, Alexion has given hope to people who had none and shined a light on those who felt isolated and alone. But we know that fighting rare diseases takes so much more than hope. It requires persistence, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of the highest levels of medical innovation. At Alexion, our goal is to deliver medical breakthroughs where none currently exist. We are driven because we know people’s lives are at stake.

Through the transformative power of our science, Alexion has delivered life-changing therapies to patients suffering from rare diseases. We have pioneered the complex field of complement biology and delivered solutions to challenges that once seemed impossible for patients with devastating complement-mediated and metabolic disorders.

The Alexion Challenge:

Can you follow the money in healthcare to identify opportunities for investment and areas of over spending? Who are the winners and losers in healthcare funding?

The challenge can be broken into two parts – one which looks at the research spend only and the second, which uses a combination of the payment and the research spend data (select the latter option if you are comfortable working with large data sets).

Your analysis should address one or more of the following questions:

  • Where are the research dollars and or money overall flowing in healthcare?
    • Can you find common factors by analyzing the type of drug, device, company, hospital, or therapeutics?
  • Are there demographic or geographic patterns?
    • Can you identify areas of concern or gaps in healthcare research spending?
  • How do the overheard costs such as entertainment compare to research costs?
    • Which diseases are being ignored?
    • Which physician specialties are the most and least popular in terms of investment and what implications does that have for the future?


Click here for Alexion Data

  • Be certain to view the PDF file named Alexion_2018_analytics _challenge for detailed information about the datasets and other reference materials.

General Information

  • Submission Instructions

    What you should submit

    • The story: A graphic that reflects the major findings of your data analysis.
    • It can be a static image or interactive (such as JavaScript).
    • It can be in the form of charts, diagrams, or an infographic.
    • The background: A brief description, one single-spaced page or less, describing what’s great about your analysis and your graphic.
    • Highlight how your analysis helped you arrive at your conclusions.
    • Highlight how your graphic illustrates your key findings.

    How you should submit

    • Email your entry to by 11:59 P.M. US Eastern, March 1, 2019.
    • Make sure it’s clear which of the three challenges you’re addressing.
    • Attach the graphic and the description as separate files to a single email message with the subject “Entry for Analytics Challenge”.
    • The following must be clearly displayed on the graphic and on the one page-description: (1) the name of the challenge (NBCUniversal, AmerisourceBergen or Alexion), (2) each team member’s name and college/university name.
    • Convert static graphics to PDF format. The one-page description must also be in PDF format. There are free tools that do this, such as PDF Creator.
    • Interactive graphics must be self-contained and run without special software on any Windows 10 PC. Web-based graphics must run using the Chrome browser.

    What happens after you submit

    • You will receive a confirmation email acknowledging your entry.
    • Finalists will be notified by email on or around March 11, 2019.
    • Finalists will present their work in front of the judging panel at the AIS SCLC April 11-13, 2019.
  • Timeline

    • All preliminary submissions must be received no later than March 1, 2019
    • Finalists will be announced on or around March 11, 2019
    • The winner will be revealed at the Student Chapters Leadership Conference between April 12-14, 2019
  • Prizes

    Entries from all use cases will be judged together. Prizes will be awarded based on the following two categories: graphic and analysis. The judges will evaluate all entries for their graphic and analysis qualities. Prizes will be awarded for each category separately and an entry can only win in a single category.


    First place – $2,000

    Second place – $1,000

    Third place – $500


    First place – $2,000

    Second place – $1,000

    Third place – $500

  • Questions

    • Contact

Other Rules

  • The project submissions must entirely be the work of the project team. While faculty and other individuals can help review the submission, they should not contribute to the content of the report or the solution.
  • Incomplete submissions will not be considered, so make sure you have all of your submission deliverables are in the submission package.
  • The contest materials must be submitted by the due dates. Late submissions will not be accepted and no extensions will be given.


How entries will be evaluated

All entries will be evaluated by the judges in two categories: visualization and analysis. The finals will also be judged by industry professionals.

The specific criteria for each category are:


  • Clarity (how well the graphic stands on its own without additional explanation)
  • Novelty/creativity (originality of thought; surprising way of approaching the data)
  • Insight (graphic aids understanding of the data)
  • Utility (ability of the graphic to aid decision making)


  • Relevance (analysis relates to the problem statement)
  • Completeness (degree to which the analysis answers the stated question)
  • Depth (sophistication of the analysis)
  • Consistency (conclusions consistent with the analysis)

Your entry will be disqualified if…

  • It is submitted after the deadline.
  • The attachments won’t open or are in the wrong file format.
  • Your interactive graphic won’t run.
  • You don’t specify the challenge you are addressing.
  • Team member names and college name are not on both the graphic and the description.