David S. Chan, Co-Founder and CEO
David S. Chan, Co-Founder & CEO of Riparian, fondly reflects on why he named his company Riparian. In nature, the riparian zone is the interface between the river and the land, providing clarity to otherwise murky water, helping regulate river speed and recycling nutrients to create an efficient ecosystem. Similarly, Riparian aims to act as the interface between their clients and the government and/ or technology to provide clarity to otherwise murky regulations within pharmaceutical pricing, compliance, and contracting. “We help regulate the flow of information and accelerate insights to create an efficient ecosystem within a pharmaceutical organization,” says Chan. Through their product Helix, Riparian offers a comprehensive government pricing (GP) SaaS platform.
“The reason why we named it Helix is that GP is in our DNA,” proclaims Chan. Assisted by a team with considerable GP expertise, the CEO has over 18 years of experience in the life sciences industry assisting organizations to become self-reliant in adhering to pricing and compliance requirements mandated by the government. All this expertise has resulted in the development of Helix, which provides data validations, general ledger reconciliations, results analytics, a methodology builder UI, in-app audit trail and approval tracking, and a powerful system performing all calculations in minutes.
What differentiates Helix is that while the current systems are like black boxes where users have to take a leap of faith and hope things turn out well, Helix aims to open up the black box and be an end-to-end platform that enhances the user experience. “Our aim was to reduce the out-of-system acrobatics that people do with different applications to validate their pricing results. We try to address almost everything through the Helix UI,” quips Chan.
One major problem that has plagued current systems is performance. With Helix, a price type calculation which might take six hours in current systems can be done in minutes. Additionally, companies find the frequently changing compliance rules taking a toll on their budgets because they have to hire consultants and other service providers to update system configurations. Helix allows business users to easily configure the system themselves without having to depend on third-party entities. “Helix is easy to configure because it was intuitively designed around users,” adds Chan.
We help regulate the flow of information and accelerate insights to create an efficient ecosystem within a pharmaceutical organization
“The calculations done by systems are only as good as the input data. Otherwise, it is garbage in, garbage out,” quips Chan. This means that if the input data is wrong, the price calculations would also be wrong. Currently, senior management must certify to the accuracy of the calculations and, if wrong, they may be held personally liable for damages under the False Claims Act. The data validations provided by Helix highlight errors and anomalies in the input so that GP teams can make the necessary corrections and prove to senior management that the results are accurate. Additionally, the company’s general ledger reconciliations ensure accurate pricing by verifying that the data entered is not only correct but also complete as verified by their financial statement auditors.
GP varies by federal and state program and every manufacturer interprets the regulations differently according to its unique business and therefore a GP system must be flexible enough to handle all of these variations. What Helix does is document the clients’ methodology and once complete, the calculations are processed accordingly. “Gone are the days of Boolean queries and complex code. It is basically a drag and drop system,” adds Chan.
Since inception, Riparian has almost quadrupled the number of its employees from 11 to 40 in two years’ time and aims to continue with that growth by broadening their SaaS offerings in the coming years.