An 11-Step Program to Navigating Partnerships - Pharmaceutical Executive

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An 11-Step Program to Navigating Partnerships


Biopartnerships


Financial models should be developed based on patient populations, customer adoption, target pricing, and reimbursement levels (if applicable). SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analyses also provide a valuable tool to position the IP. At this point, an analysis of the strategic fit of an IP with a potential partner should be performed. This includes financial modeling: revenue, profitability, and net present value (NPV) under various partnership models, as well as an assessment of the impact on the potential partner's financials.

7. Identify and Prioritize Key Partners

Once the IP is positioned, valued potential partners should be identified and prioritized. These candidates can then be rated and ranked to yield a prioritized list of partnering targets. Often, a first round of research will turn up an impracticably large number of potential partners. After a structured screening and selection process, though, it will turn out that a number of these companies offer only a loose fit with your partnership strategy. Factors that go into screening include critical factors such as relevant clinical experience, a focus in the particular therapeutic area, and past experience commercializing and marketing products. In addition, potential partners' past level of commitment to other alliances and/or partnerships can also be determined.

Next, a contact strategy should be created. This involves creating a communications and marketing plan to effectively approach key contacts at the companies. Factors including corporate culture, introductory position, and approach should be considered before initiating contact with potential partners. The plan should also include the development of introductory briefs, letters, or documents. A mishandled first approach can make information about your IP public. It is important to move carefully.

8. Develop Presentation Collateral

Presentation collateral is a key component of the partnering process that serves to introduce both the partnering opportunity and the organization/self. A non-confidential business development brief is typically created to introduce the partnering opportunity, product/technology, and organization soliciting the business partnership. A confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement, which will be required to move beyond a non-confidential level of discussions, should also be drafted. With the confidentiality documents prepared, business development and marketing collateral can be created to support a marketing campaign for the product/technology. PowerPoint presentations called "Pitch Books" are typically prepared to present the product/technology, the partners involved, the rationale for the partnership (alignment of technologies and/or competencies), and terms of the agreement.

9. Assess Commercial Interest and Attractiveness

With the marketing campaign and "road show" prepared, the next step is to initiate initial contact with the identified partners. Leveraging the strategy/plan previously developed, initial contact can be made via phone, email, mail, or though in-person appointments. The level of initial interest can be assessed, and the preliminary presentation meetings can be scheduled. In the initial presentation, the pitch book is presented, whereby the value proposition and alignment of intellectual property with commercial potential is made. After the initial presentation, both parties then evaluate the attractiveness and feasibility of the partnership. Factors considered by both parties include determining the company's level of interest in pursing further due diligence, assessing success achieved in past partnerships, and evaluating a preliminary go/no go decision.

10. Finalize the Partnership Model

If upon initial analysis a commercial partnership appears to be mutually beneficial, both parties move into a period of due diligence. The first steps involve a period of in-depth valuation. At this stage, preliminary forecasts of financial returns from the commercialization partnership are prepared. Forecast valuation analyses of the technology or product are finalized, and a period of active due diligence is initiated. During due diligence, in-depth financial, strategic and operational analyses are conducted to determine a potential partner's overall attractiveness. Deal structures are created and evaluated to determine the optimal partnership model, and options are created to allow for strategic negotiations, typically requisite to a deal. Provided the due diligence process moves to a partnership stage, final arrangements are made. These include finalizing any contractual details and establishing a partnership management structure.


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