How do you see your work and the external pressures on business development changing over the next three years?
Altomari: The timeline for identifying an opportunity and negotiating a successful transaction is going to get longer. If there is some
good endpoint you can identify, then there is a prospect for taking an asset quickly to auction. But this will be the exception,
not the norm. Managing everyone's expectations is one reason why the process will grind on.
Another trend we will face is more "blind spots" in the community of deal makers. There will be people across the table who
we know little about. Israeli, Turkish, Indian, and Chinese companies are at the stage where they will be looking at opportunities
beyond their own markets. Will they want to buy my product, invest in my company, or partner with me to gain a foothold in
the US? I suspect we know much less about them than they know about us. Companies must work to establish the bona fides of these emerging but still peripheral players.
Wills: The breadth and variety of transactions will continue to expand. We will not go back to a world where Big Pharma brings the
best innovations forward from its own labs. Biotech and Big Pharma will find themselves joined at the hip, while the relationships
with academia will continue to build. More important, the emerging growth markets of Asia present intriguing possibilities
for deals, not just in products but in processes as well. Overall, there is a lot of pent-up demand. We will just have to
be more creative in exploiting it.
Ryan: The financing part of the business is likely to transform as well. There will be more "boutique" firms trolling for possibilities,
and a greater variety of firms will be taking smaller stakes in the transactions. The trend is a refutation of the idea that
interest of the venture capital community in life sciences has waned due to tough times. Departure of the big firms is creating
opportunities for those with a niche perspective.
Talley: It is going to be more difficult to be successful. You have Big Pharma partners who demand biotech take on increasing levels
of risk, and payers who don't want to pay a premium for that risk. The hurdles are going to be high, but for those who can
demonstrate their medicines advance the current standard of care, it remains possible to become profitable.
Stewart: Deal valuation is going to be impacted negatively by the soaring cost of clinical trials. Spending is driven by the costs
and high performance of the comparator arms, which leads to the need for very large test populations. Companion diagnostics
will have to be vetted as well. Do the math; someone has to pay for it.
Trempe: Public budgets for healthcare are going to be pinched. The government share of health spending is destined to rise under
the US reform legislation, so the basic medical value proposition is likely to override everything else in the appraisal of