And the Winner Is…

Posted By: Jon Lavietes Alliance Excellence Award, Member Resources,

Spring isn’t just a time of hope, it’s when alliance professionals celebrate the feats that everyone knows were great over the previous 12 months. As ASAP does almost every year, it dedicated some time at its annual Global Alliance Summit to unveiling the finalists for the 2024 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards. 

Later this spring, awards will be doled out in the following categories: Individual Alliance Excellence, Innovative Best Alliance Practice, Alliance Program Excellence, Best Ecosystem Solution, and Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibility. 

And make no mistake, variety was the spice of another lifetime of visionary partnership activities. Submissions came from companies and industries across three continents detailing innovative initiatives that sold tech solutions, advanced drugs through the clinic, and fought climate change, among other accomplishments.  

“There was a huge variety,” confirmed Ard-Pieter de Man, CSAP, PhD, professor of management studies at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam’s School of Business and Economics and chair of the ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards Committee.

The Old and the New, with ASAP in Between

The committee whittled the list of individual collaborations down to the following alliances:

  • Bayer–Broad Institute
  • Gilead–Nurix
  • GSK–Adaptimmune
  • Jazz Pharmaceuticals–Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals
  • Kyowa Kirin–Amgen
  • Upsher-Smith Laboratories–Douglas Pharmaceuticals

Again, as the category does every year, the Individual Alliance Excellence awards nominees represented long-standing collaborations, such as the 40-year-old Kyowa Kirin–Amgen alliance that helped the former thrive in Asia and propelled Amgen “from a small, venture-backed startup to one of the world’s largest biotech companies,” according to Mio Sekine, Amgen’s executive director of alliance management and business development, as well as emerging collaborations like Jazz-Sumitomo, which began in 2022 to treat narcolepsy and other sleep disorders. 

As usual, ASAP is behind the success of these alliances.  

“ASAP has played a role in how we operationalized this alliance. Both alliance managers are ASAP members. We constantly utilized ASAP best practices on this collaboration,” said Michael Overfield, CA-AM, associate director of alliance management at Gilead Sciences. 

A Young Approach to an Old Problem 

The other categories recognized the programs and portfolios of a similarly diverse range of companies, including:

  • Amgen
  • AstraZeneca
  • COOP Centraal
  • Jazz Pharmaceuticals
  • Nutanix
  • Protiviti
  • SAP
  • Upsher-Smith Laboratories

COOP Centraal’s goal is to transition away from fossil fuels, and it is convening individuals, for-profit companies, and nonprofits and placing young adults in organizations committed to this cause. 

“Even though we have only launched the network last summer, we have already brought more than 200 young people in contact with energy cooperatives,” said Lieke Schneijdenberg, an alliance manager at COOP Central.

Good Health Is Alliance Gold

Amgen’s health checks, including its “Health Check Light” tool, which can be executed in as little as one week, provide partners a safe space to air concerns, resolve issues in a candid way, build trust, and allow the company to tailor alliances to the needs of partners.  

“We all can appreciate that alliances require alignment, communication, trust, and adaption to changing situations,” said Jessica Hayden, director of business development at Amgen.

In its two-decade partnership with global ISV behemoth SAP, Protiviti has achieved “incredible growth in the SAP ecosystem, top client satisfaction scores, and gold partnership status,” according to Aric Quinones,managing director at Protiviti and head of the SAP alliance.

The alliance has even impacted Protiviti’s own product road map. 

“[The SAP alliance] remains an essential part of our firm’s success in delivering innovation, [and] comprehensive solutions to our clients, as well,” added Claudia Kuzma, CA-AM, managing director at Protiviti.

Alliances in Transition

Jazz Pharmaceuticals finds itself in an interesting transition phase entering its third decade of existence, and its alliance management practice plays a pivotal role in managing and accelerating its growth. 

“We are no longer a startup and not yet one of the large pharmaceutical companies,” said Karen Berna, CA-AM, senior director of alliance management at Jazz Pharmaceuticals. “We are creating alliance management processes to gain additional efficiencies, deepen collaborations, and expedite decision making.”

A Demonstration in Alliance Leadership

Finalists were announced on April 30, the first full day of sessions at the ASAP Global Alliance Summit, in Cape Coral, Fla. Winners will be unveiled on June 12. 

“By participating in the ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards, companies and alliance practitioners are not only demonstrating the achievements of their organizations, alliance teams, and alliances, but also elevating the profession of strategic alliance management and showing the way forward for so many others, both in our ASAP community and beyond, who aspire to learn from their example,” said de Man. 

Check back with this blog then to see who was deemed the best-of-the-best in partnering!