Introduction: Learning Lessons and Looking Ahead

Attention to state-of-the-art methods help companies forge new and long-term partnerships.
Oct 01, 2005
By Pharmaceutical Executive Editors

Patrick Clinton
For many companies, the lesson of the past few years is that partnership building needs to be among the core competencies of any company that wants to make it in the life sciences. At big companies and small, there's a renewed attention to refining the art of the deal, improving the success rate of alliances, and to finding more sophisticated ways to create win-win situations. In this latest issue of BioPartnerships, from the editors of Pharmaceutical Executive and Biopharm International, we catch up with the new state of the art.

It's only recently that the partnership process evolved to a point where we could start talking about the state of the art. But over the past year or two, a consensus model of biopartnering has started to emerge. Allan Fine of Navigant Consulting explains the new model and gives some tips for making it work for your next deal.

A key step in the process, of course, is due diligence. But that is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, as Joseph Dillon of The Mattson Jack Group explains. There's more than one way to slice and dice a deal to understand how value is distributed. In doing so, companies may be better able to construct biopartnerships that not only capitalize on the promise offered by a compound today, but minimize them against losses if a drug doesn't succeed through the pipeline.

As companies are beginning to focus on investments in business development, they are also aware of the inherent challenges and outside factors they will face in order to achieve and sustain leadership. Rita Numerof and Jack Nightingale of Numerof & Associates point out the seven fundamental principles vital to senior executives resolute on generating dramatic improvements in their company's business-development discipline. A few examples: managing the pipeline, supporting initiatives, and accessing the right resources.

Few things are better than a partnership that actually works, of course. And in this issue, Thomas Ebeling, CEO of Novartis Pharma AG, and Jean-Pierre Sommadossi, CEO of Idenix, reveal what has helped them forge a strong working relationship. With their hepatitis B drug nearly completing Phase III trials, the two men talk about what they and their partners do to make the relationship work, the benefits of long-term collaboration, and how to overcome their differences.

Finally, we offer a look at joint initiatives between biotech companies and academic institutions. Amid an industry that reaps big rewards as well as big failures, companies that look toward academia can help maintain growth, while mitigating loss.

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