ASAP BioPharma Conference Keynote Preview: Alliance Managers Are Bringing Digital Health Innovation

Posted By: Jon Lavietes BioPharma Conference,

Companies are increasingly turning to alliance managers to achieve higher-level objectives. The pandemic has made the long-before days when alliance professionals were seen merely as “relationship managers” an imperceptible dot in the rearview mirror. In biopharma, those managing partnerships are putting on their strategic thinking caps more than ever. They are expected to align activities with organizational strategy, and their responsibilities have expanded to even include looking out for the patient, in addition to the essential duty of representing the interests of the alliance and the partner internally within their organizations.   

Digital health business models are even being designed around alliance portfolios that are impacting innovation as directly as a line between two points. Attendees of the 2021 ASAP BioPharma Conference, which takes place Sept. 27–28, will learn of one such case study, the quest of Portal Instruments to deliver never-before-seen needle-free drug delivery, on the event’s second day. Portal Instruments CEO Patrick Anquetil, PhD, will reveal how his company’s alliance governance, framework, and execution are inextricably linked to the advancement of this groundbreaking drug-delivery mechanism in his keynote address, "An Alliance-centric Business Model to Foster Innovation in Pharma." 

Doing the Extraordinary? You Need a Partner for That

Unlike many companies represented on the ASAP BioPharma Conference roster past and present, Portal Instruments isn’t bringing years of experience using and refining alliance management principles to the table.   

“We would be the first one to say that we didn’t realize how much alliance management is central to what pharma does,” Anquetil admitted in a recent conversation. 

However, Portal Instruments is one of many biotechs, IT startups, and other smaller entities learning fast out of necessity in the digital health space.

“In modern technology, to really bring extraordinary products to the market—to patients, consumers—you typically need to combine different disciplines,” said Anquetil. “You need a partner to do that.”

The company has learned plenty from its allies that have been working at alliances longer, such as Takeda and Sanofi’s Sunrise initiative. At the 2021 ASAP BioPharma Conference, Anquetil will show how alliance management practices are integral to the hands-on development of new products the pharmaceutical industry has until now only dreamed of.

“[Collaborations] can really bring state-of-the-art technology and understanding together that’s never been done before,” said Anquetil. “We can’t do the device without the drug, and the drug cannot be injected without the device.”

“Unsung Heroes” Flag Risks in Small-Large Company Collaborations  

In fact, Anquetil referred to alliance managers as the “unsung heroes” of innovation. Keeping the partnership’s vision central to day-to-day alliance activities, assessing and managing risk, and placing appropriate guardrails takes on a new meaning in the context of digital health innovation. In fact, in some ways Portal Instruments’ larger partners, whose multimillion-dollar drug franchises could ultimately be impacted by the outcome of Portal Instruments’ work, “have much more to lose.” The work alliance managers on both sides do to illuminate any potential disparity in “risk perception” is paramount to keeping this project that will revolutionize treatment for the trypanophobic—those who fear needles—on course.

Anquetil also wants to impart lessons for operating David-Goliath alliances; large pharmaceutical company employees will get “the insider’s view of what happens in a startup,” he said, while employees of smaller outfits will learn “how our team could become effective very quickly with those larger partners.”

He also plans to leave plenty of time for a Q&A and a lively discussion of any aspect of innovation that isn’t covered in his presentation, including but not limited to issues related to regulatory, manufacturing, and commercial phases of the drug development life cycle.

Anquetil’s keynote is slated for 10:20 a.m. EDT on Sept. 28. ASAP BioPharma Conference registrants will be treated to more than a dozen livestream and on-demand sessions from the two-day event. The agenda covers the biggest trends in biopharma that are impacting alliance management, as well as best practices for conducting ongoing affairs in our perpetual state of remote work. Activate your login for the new ASAP website and register for the 2021 ASAP BioPharma Conference today!