2. Don't Forget Your Strategic Plan
Once you've answered these basic questions , the temptation will be to move straight to researching potential partners. But
several important steps should come first. First, review your strategic plan and analyze how partnering fits into it. What
are the goals and plans you have set for your company? Will partnering advance them? Are there elements of a potential deal
that under the strategic plan are non-negotiable? Are they realistic? In some cases, simply contemplating a possible partnership
will lead companies to reconsider their basic business strategies. That's fine, as long as everyone is clear: The goal isn't
to make a partnership; the goal is to advance the business. Once you've figured out how a partnership fits with your strategic
plan, the next objective should be to develop a partnering strategy. A well-planned and executed strategy will include a thorough
assessment of the commercialization potential of the partnership and development of the available strategic positioning options.
Since sound decision-making requires empirical data to either substantiate or refute the partnering hypothesis, it is imperative
to gather data and analyze it.
3. Develop an IP Management Strategy
In most cases, the core of a partnership is allowing another company to have some level of access to your intellectual property
(IP). However the deal is structured, it will be essential to have a system in place to monitor the use of IP and track licensing,
royalties, and collaboration projects. The best time to develop an intellectual property (IP) management strategy and the
necessary infrastructure is at the beginning of the partnership process. Core competencies for managing IP need to be identified,
and it is essential to develop an alliance management infrastructure to manage IP once commercial arrangements have been implemented.
4. Assess the Commercialization Potential
Once a plan is developed to manage the portfolio of IP, the commercialization potential of the IP must be determined. While
various frameworks and methodologies are traditionally employed, most include the evaluation of internal and external factors
such as development status/potential, internal capabilities, market size, need and competitive environment. To evaluate internal
factors such as the development potential, probability-of-success estimates based on analogs or historical programs can be
used to develop risk adjusted valuations. Typically, IP in later stages of development has a greater risk-adjusted value than
corresponding programs in nascent stages of development. Internal capabilities and/or resources will play another critical
role in evaluating the internal probability of success.
While these internal factors help dictate value, external factors including market size, need and competitive pressure must
also be included when valuing IP. Strategic questions should be evaluated as part of this exercise, including: What is the
market for the IP or technology? What is the current and anticipated market need? What will be the impact of this new product
or technology on the market? Who, and how many competitors/competing technologies are there in the market? The target patient
population size is another important commercialization attribute that can serve as a proxy for the market potential of the
IP. This is an especially useful tool in evaluating emerging technologies or products for which there is no established precedent.
5. Evaluate Your Portfolio
Once the commercial value of a particular asset/program/IP is understood, its position relative to the broader IP portfolio
of the organization should be evaluated. Understanding the strategic position within the portfolio will help to prioritize
individual programs objectively, and best utilize partnering/licensing resources in a constrained environment. For top-priority
IP, a value proposition that identifies scientific and clinical advantages can be developed. With a value proposition, partnership
options can be identified and evaluated. Strengths and weaknesses of various alliance agreements such as collaborative marketing,
licensing, and co-development should be identified to preclude unattractive options from future analysis. Once this evaluation
is complete strategic positioning options can be ranked, and relative strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats assigned
to each asset/program/IP.
6. Gather and Analyze Data
With the IP positioned within the organization's broader IP portfolio, careful data-gathering and analysis should occur, in
order to understand the financial, strategic and operational value to a potential partner. An evaluation of the potential
applications for the IP and the respective competitive environment can be determined.