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PwC: HR Must Play Integral Role in Shaping Partnership Capabilties

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 20, 2014
Originally posted on 2/7/2013

Andy Eibling of ASAP Corporate Member Covance shared on LinkedIn a link to a new PwC Health Research Institute (HRI) study that details the challenges facing human resources departments as pharmaceutical companies' R&D models evolve to be more and more dependent on collaborations with academic centers and Contract Research Organizations (CROs).

(You can find profiles of top CROs Covance and PPD on P. 15 of the Q4 2012 and issues of Strategic Alliance Magazine, respectively. In addition, ASAP members can find a magazine feature on biopharma-academia relationships in the the Q4 issue in ASAP's Member Resource Library.)

According to the report's executive summary, "The most needed skill sets for R&D have moved away from pure scientific expertise to regulatory knowledge and relationship skills. Developing and managing outside partnerships and regulatory science are the two most sought-after skills today."

What does this mean for HR? The executive summary again expands on the need to become more in tune with the specific skills close business collaborations entail.

"Human resources (HR) leaders should play a key role in shaping partnerships and developing an accompanying talent strategy for their scientific workforce."

Of course, filling this knowledge gap was likely a primary motivation for ASAP's vice chairman Jack Pearson when he founded Alliance Development International, LLC. HR professionals often are not grounded in the knowledge of what ideal candidates for alliance management positions might look like. At the very least, there generally aren't as many chances for HR reps to be exposed to the nuances of alliance management as marketing, sales, regulatory affairs, R&D, and other parts of the biopoharma operation.

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