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What’s an Alliance Manger To Do When a Blockbuster Biopharmaceutical Product Is Built on a Shaky Alliance Foundation?

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Friday, September 25, 2015

What do you do when you have a blockbuster product, but a few key alliance building blocks are missing and the cornerstones are misaligned? “Blockbuster Product, Fragile Alliance: Leading the Drive for Change” answered this critical question in a dynamic presentation given by Christine Carberry, CSAP, senior vice president of quality, technical operations, program and alliance management at FORUM Pharmaceuticals and chairman of the ASAP Board of Directors, and Jan Twombly, CSAP, president of The Rhythm of Business, Inc., and a member of the ASAP executive and management committee, at the 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference. Twombly agreed to delve more deeply into the topic with a few key questions during an interview after the conference.

 

What are the signs of a fragile alliance?

Your alliance is achieving revenue targets and its clinical milestones. But any bump in the road such as a regulatory hiccup, can cause significant problems. The attorneys are always involved, its tit-for-tat, and people describe being ambushed in governance committee meetings. So you have a fragile situation because you have a relationship between the partners where they don’t trust each other and don’t feel they are working in the best interest of the alliance. Whenever you don’t have that solid underpinning, you might have external success but not the foundation to deal with the inevitable problems.

 

Why should an executive care as long as your blockbuster alliance is achieving its objectives?

The question from most people in the room is, “My executive realizes we have a fragile situation, but how willing are your governance committees to deal with the hard work of establishing or re-establishing that foundation when you are making your numbers?” The implications of not moving the alliance forward because you don’t have the underlying foundation can be significant. I have seen situations where there were delays upwards of a year with things that really didn’t make sense, disagreements where it would always come back to haunt you. A blockbuster product generates over one billion a year, so there is big money at stake, and if left unaddressed, you are likely to be leaving value on the table. Biopharma products have a reasonably definite lifecycle, and every day you don’t move forward, you are losing a day of market exclusivity because your patent has a finite life, and once your patent expires, generic drugs can come into the marketplace. You also might be creating an opening allowing competitors to get ahead, costing market share. You need to convince the people who should be enrolled in improving the collaboration that there is a significant risk being posed to the alliance when you don’t have that foundation to tackle problems in a collaborative way. You need to get at the root cause—because it is really important for the alliance manager to enroll senior level management and the governance committee to address them. If you don’t address them when things are going well, you won’t be prepared when something negative happens. It’s important to have strategies for raising awareness. That is really the key.

 

What strategies can an alliance professional use to improve the situation?

An absolute prerequisite is that leaders from each partner agree that change is necessary and urgent—and that it starts with them.  You then need a champion to use the core alliance skills of influence, getting people on board, bridging differences, convening the right people, facilitating the right kinds of conversations, and leading people to the conclusion that the status quo is not acceptable. Then you have to move quickly. It can be as simple as rechartering your governance committees, getting them to think about how they act and behave, and asking how it makes them feel—that’s all of the soft stuff you know you  need to do, but people resist.

Carberry and Twombly’s presentation also recommended the following practical steps: 

  • Re-examine governance—Structure, membership, performance standards; rethink the decision making process
  • Re-examine work allocation—project team structure, responsibilities, membership; is collaboration being forced where it isn’t necessary?
  • Establish new behavioral standards—recharter revamped teams/committees and hold them to it
  • Have an aligned and current vision and strategic plan (the “North Star”) and use it to build a “one-team mentality”
  • Meet more frequently and have more face-to-face meetings—eliminate updates and focus on, discuss, debate and decide formats
  • Launch a branded “Campaign for Exponential Success”—leadership, communication, awareness and understanding, accountability at all levels

Tags:  alliance manager  biopharma  Blockbuster product  Christine Carberry  collaborative  FORUM Pharmaceuticals  governance  Jan Twombly  market share  marketplace  partners  performance standards  recharter  The Rhythm of Business 

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Q3 2015 Strategic Alliance Magazine: Alliance Leaders Make the Paradigm Shift to Cross-Industry and Ecosystem Partnering, Plus Partnering in the Channel and More

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, September 24, 2015

The latest issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine, Q3 2015, now available to ASAP members, invites readers to explore a paradigm shift occurring in the life sciences and healthcare industries (and many others too). Veteran alliance executives discuss how to adapt, lead, and orchestrate in new and innovative ways, as cross-industry collaborations proliferate thanks to high tech and other industries entering the traditional biopharma and healthcare arena. Alliance managers are challenged to read the tea leaves and adapt to customer-centric trends and other drivers forcing change.

 

SAM Q3 2015 also provides a preview of the 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference that took place in Boston Sept. 9-11 “Alliance Expertise at the Forefront: Leadership for the Ecosystem.” Highlights include the opening evening keynote on the analytics-driven innovative partnerships Boston-based Berg Pharmaceuticals has formed with research hospitals, as well as three “ASAP Quick Takes” given by IBM Institute for Business Value's Heather Fraser, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson’s Cindy Warren, and the Alzheimer’s Association’s Lenore Jackson-Pope. The talks were preceded by professional development workshops and followed by a rich selection of educational sessions.

 

In our quarterly Alliance Champion feature, I interviewed Leona Kral, CSAP, of Verizon, who offered insights on driving revenue in channel management. Adaptation, agility, and innovation are critical components for alliance managers dealing with a fluid business environment, and that requires a wardrobe of hats alliance managers can wear to compliment their changing roles, she advises. Kral joined with her Verizon colleague Karen Robinson, CSAP, to present ASAP’s September Netcast Webinar, “What in the World are Two Alliance Professionals Doing in the Channel?” available for viewing in the ASAP Member Resource Library.

 

Continuing in the same vein of exploring the challenges (and opportunities) in channel sales partnerships, Dede Haas, CA-AM, founder and president of DLH Services, outlines the problems that make channel partners unhappy with vendors, and then offers practical advice from experienced channel executives on how to improve such collaborations through trust-based relationships.

 

The magazine also spotlighted how corporate member Dassault Systèmes and its partners use three-dimensional visualization technologies and collaborative tools—in the process changing the way business is being done in industries ranging from manufacturing and high tech to architecture and engineering, as well as in the public sector.

 

In the magazine’s quarterly editorial supplement, sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company, Michael Berglund, CA-AM and David Thompson, CA-AM, explore the powerful impact of the “conviction curve” on whether or not decision-making processes are actually collaborative. Berglund also delved into the topic in his well-attended workshop at this month’s ASAP BioPharma Conference, honing in on the crucial distinction of “Are We Negotiating or Collaborating?”

 

“Are you ready to thrive at the center of the action?” asks executive publisher and ASAP President and CEO Michael Leonetti, CSAP, in his engaging Up Front editorial. Alliances are taking new forms as partnering proliferates across the new ecosystem, and this issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine appropriately points out that alliance management needs to be embedded and is an essential component to the culture of today’s business enterprises if they are to adapt and proliferate in the emerging ecosystem.

Tags:  alliance  ASAP BioPharma Conference  Cindy Warren  collaboration  Dassault Systèmes  David Thompson  Dede Haas  ecosystem  Heather Fraser  Karen Robinson  Lenore Jackson-Pope  Leona Kral.ASAP Netcast Webinar  Michael Berglund  Strategic Alliance Magazine 

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Balancing Mega-sized Collaborations Requires a Three-Legged Stool: The Broad Institute’s Take on Managing Big Partnerships

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, September 17, 2015

Partnerships come in all sizes. The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, however, significantly tips the beam with its industrial-scale platforms and collaborations that seek to pioneer a new model of biomedical science.

“The Boston-Cambridge nexus makes it possible,” explained Stephanie Loranger, PhD, director of project planning and execution at the Broad Institute, during her talk “Managing the Three-Legged Stool: Science, Compliance and Alliance” on Friday, Sept. 11 at the 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference. “The fundamental goal of the Institute is to take on high-impact, multidimensional projects that are too difficult to take on by a smaller lab. Sometimes the projects are contained in one program, but they usually stay in multiple platforms and programs.”

The mega-projects range from government collaborations (including entities such as the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, and National Science Foundation) to philanthropic organizations (such as the Carlso Slim Center for Health Research, Klarman Cell Observatory, and Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research) to corporate projects with companies like Norvatis Pharmaceuticals, Roche Diagnostics, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Calico, and Googlea new collaboration.

 

The Broad Institute also has operating agreements with neighboring organizations such as Harvard University, Mass General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Its board of scientific counselors includes three Nobel laureates and its programs contain hundreds of researchers. Platforms range from genomics known for world-class sequencing to proteomics to genetics perturbations, where they run massive crisper screens.

 

“What is unique about these projects is that they are run by scientists who have their own grants and are pushing the boundaries of these platforms,” she explained. “They augment the creativity of scientistswhat they can’t do in their own labs can be done there.”

 

The Institute has a three-legged stool of essential components for execution of large, multi-programmatic collaborations within the ecosystem, she said. It requires balancing

  • Science management and execution of world-class platforms
  • Compliance managementmeeting budgetary, IP, reporting, and legal obligations
  • Alliance management of very large institutional partners that need major coordination

This last leg of alliance management is new to the Broad Institute“a different beast that we have not dealt with before,” she pointed out. “We don’t have an alliance management team. We have people who play roles of alliance manager. It really depends on the collaboration and who is our partner.”

 

Practically, what does this mean in relation to the Broad Institute? she asked.

  • Access to large, multifaceted datasets that one organization/collaboration cannot fund alone
  • Access to unparalleled cross-functional and cross-institutional research
  • Rapid acceleration and translation of emerging knowledge and novel discoveriestherapeutics is the big in plan for next 10 years

Tags:  Alliance management  Broad Institute  collaborations  Compliance management  cross-functional  cross-institutional research  genetics perturbations  genomics  Partnerships  platforms  proteomics  Science management  Stephanie Loranger  therapeutics 

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Overcoming the Curve of Conviction: How to Increase Value by Getting from Negotiation to Collaboration

Posted By Cynthia Hanson, Friday, September 11, 2015

“To Collaborate or Not To Collaborate?” That is the question Mike Berglund, CA-AM, alliance director at Eli Lilly and Company, asked the audience at the 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference held Sept. 9-11 at the Revere Hotel off the Boston Common.  “Are We Negotiating or Collaborating? Increasing Alliance Value through Collaborative Decision Making” was the topic on stage as Berglund prompted the audience to consider three case scenarios that presented alliance management challenges when working with partners.

 

Decision-making roles are complex, especially in alliances, and become even more complicated when the decision is intricate or embedded, Burglund emphasized. “You as individual have certain attitudes, beliefs, and values that effect how you make decisions. It is a lot easier for me to ask if you will go out and buy a loaf of bread vs. change a specific brand of car or attend a different college. You willingness to change the buying pattern will be different.”

 

How to get to collaboration in a world of culturally entrenched views, tastes, and opinions is one of the challenges alliance managers face in the decision-making process, he indicated. Its about the Conviction Curvea framework of personal buying perspective: “In the alliance world, where you are in this curve will dictate how likely you are to change. If you are going into a governance meeting, the further to the right [on the Conviction Curve] you are, the more difficult it will be to change that position and the more resources and energy it will take.”

 

It’s like a sculptor molding a lump of clay, he added. At first, he or she has the ability to mold it into whatever structure desired, but over time, the clay hardens and becomes more difficult to change. “Working across two companies, with their positions embedded in their respective organizationsit’s hard to change. And you will see that exemplified in alliance management,” he warned.

 

A critical point for alliance managers to consider is the importance of understanding your potential partner and responding appropriately to their behaviors to get to that point of collaboration. Negotiation is all about winning, while collaboration is preferable because its jointly created value that can determine the tone of the relationship, he reminded the audience. Build the alliance from within the alliance and push it outward, he advised. “When you deploy this kind of culture and process, its being organically driven within our organizations.”

 

After challenging participants to consider three very different case scenarios, he asked in one case: “What were the factors that led this alliance to result in a joint decision?” He then drove home the value of using “company pre-meetings to understand your own convictions and then using that information to design the meeting. Choose the right people for the job, make sure that whatever is going into governance meetings has been jointly agreed upon by the parties, and eliminate the opportunity for walk-ins. You really want to limit that discussion, and push it out of governance meeting,” he advised. “Even more important, sit down and talk about company differences. You don’t have to agree, but you need to agree on how you present your different sides,” he added.

 

Then evangelize these norms with the working teams. If you have this kind of behavior in teams, collaboration will be the norm, he concluded.

 

Learn more on this topic in the recently published Q3 2015 Strategic Alliance Magazine editorial supplement article “Choose Wisely: Increase Alliance Value through Collaborative Decision-Making,” sponsored by Eli Lilly and Co. and co-authored by Berglund and Lilly’s Chief Alliance Officer David Thompson, CA-AM.

Tags:  alliance management  alliance manager  alliances  collaboration  conviction curve  Eli Lilly and Company  governance  Mike Berglund  negotiation  partners  pre-meetings 

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The Benefits of Having the Alliance Manager, Attorney, and Business Developer Coordinated at the Negotiation Table—and Beyond: A Panel Discussion with Bayer HealthCare

Posted By Cynthia Hanson, Friday, September 11, 2015

You’ve assembled a great team and negotiated what seems to be a good deal with a partner. But if you are Bayer HealthCare, before you seal it with your legal teams, what do you need to consider before launching into what might be a 10- or 15-year arrangement?

 

“We’re talking about a process that needs alliance management, legal writing, and business development,” said moderator Ben Gomes-Casseres, CSAP and author, consultant, and professor at Brandeis University. “A mix of disciplines is probably what our message is here today. Claudia’s job is to get the deal, Karen’s is to live the deal, and John’s is to paper it over and make it legal. Three functions that are very important to coordinate,” he added, referring to the three panel members at the  2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference practical how-to session “Making the Link between Alliance Deal and Alliance Life”—Claudia Karnbach, vice president and head of business development and licensing, specialty medicine, Karen Denton, CA-AM, director of alliance management, and John A. Calvo, senior counsel.

 

In the traditional business model of biopharma alliances, a lot of handover and passing of the baton took place after the deal was inked. But companies like Bayer are evolving toward a more integrated approach, Gomes-Casseres said.  “If we can have the same people around the table negotiating and launching the deal, and get the same team doing due diligence and managing the alliance, it all helps with stronger alliance and consistency.” 

 

“You need to look at the deal through the lens of the contract,” added Calvo from the legal perspective. “Do we have mechanisms in the contract, how are we going to deal with lifecycle development? Those are the kinds of things you need to think about early on, because at negotiation, it’s really too late. … Just as we build in a mechanism for joint value, you need to look for disconnects such as if the parties are sharing expenses 50/50, but one party holds the decision-making.”

 

“Building on what John just said, we now have model where the alliance manager is pulled into the deal early,” said Karnbach. “We saw how this would benefit us in renegotiations. We are striving to have very few renegotiations. If you do direct development, at times things are changing quite fast and what you put in the contract is outlived tomorrow. What we have to do is build with transparency, common interest, and common value with the partner.”

 

“I am the main beneficiary here,” observed Denton from her alliance exec’s perspective. “I get a deal that is much more future-proof and manageable. The alliance is much easier to put into place.”

 

“I am the second beneficiary because I don’t have to jump into renegotiation,” added Karnbach. “I can only try to encourage all of you to incorporate this model because it will improve the [long-term] deal you do with other partners.”

 

“There has been a lot of change in mentality among alliance managers and attorneys,” said Denton. “When I first came into alliance management, we sat in different camps. If problems came up in alliance management, alliance managers would see it one way and legal would see it another way. John and I now meet every week—we are in the same tent and work together, to each other’s strength.”

 

Calvo concurs.  “We now discuss alliance issues when they are minor issues, before they blow up.” And one of the key benefits is the continuity: “In the past, everything was so siloed.”

 

But can bringing in the alliance manager at an early stage be disruptive? asked Gomes-Casseres.

 

“You need the consistency of people bringing stability and knowledge, not migration,” answered Karnbach. “Loss of knowledge can be avoided by having a person at the table and living the alliance later on.”

 

Denton recounted a positive partnering experience she had involving a very fast launch with a full team around the table in less than two weeks.

 

“That ability to hit the ground running can be valuable to both the company doing the deal and the partner company as well,” she said. “Listening to the parties’ needs and interests is necessary to structure the deal, but even more important when you start to live the deal. So when you are living the deal, you have to have an eye on the partners’ interests.”

Tags:  2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference  Alliance Deal  Alliance Life  Alliance Manager  Bayer HealthCare  Ben Gomes-Casseres  Brandeis University  Claudia Karnbach  John A. Calvo  Karen Denton  renegotiation 

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