Claude Allary, Frederic Desdouits, Alain J. Gilbert; Bionest Partners
Real innovation is the name of the game—products and technologies that specifically meet a previously unmet medical need, and therefore unequivocally attract needed funding. Market access and maintenance are knowledge-based, cross-functional processes, which leading pharma companies must implement immediately.
Questions to ask
Most large corporations still rely exclusively on internal resources to identify, assess, and track innovation. They also tend to search for a similar size target, and are therefore discouraged by having to make several small deals instead. This is changing with the emergence of partnership initiatives with specialized advisory firms bringing a blend of deep sector knowledge and strong financial and deal-making capabilities. These partnerships allow for more flexibility and reactivity—two key success factors for a corporate development strategy in the years to come.
Today, management has no other option but to adapt, and this includes executives at all levels. From CEOs to CFOs, to heads of R&D, no one is unaffected. This highlights a difference in pharma compared to other industries: while most industries re-engineer in stages, pharma is going through changes in all areas of the organization simultaneously. In addition, the key to success will be speed—something the industry has not been known for historically.
Why this simultaneous change?
As new types of drugs come to market, the impact on sales force organization will be formidable. Most new drugs introduced to the market today are hospital-based instead of community-based, as they were in the past. There is also an increasing shift toward personalized medicine. This shift has resulted in significant sales force cuts, sometimes by more than 50 percent, as these targeted drugs need the support of a smaller number of sales people. The days of thousands of primary care reps are numbered.
Manufacturing operations are also in transition. Historically, the industry has seen itself as needing to be in control of manufacturing, and has been willing to put huge asset costs on the balance sheet. Currently, because of pressure to reposition R&D assets—and increased opportunity to outsource—many companies are spinning out their manufacturing operations.
It won’t take revolutionary competencies to capitalize on the opportunities of the current. What it will take is a new form of networked growth, horizontal collaboration, and decision-making so that all functions are working together in parallel rather than sequentially. It is clear that management teams need specialized external support and assistance to implement tailored changes rapidly and simultaneously in order to avoid being left behind.
Claude Allary, Frederic Desdouits and Alain J. Gilbert are Managing Partners at Bionest. They can be reached, respectively, at: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
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