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Alliances, Like Politics, Make “Strange Bedfellows”

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 20, 2014
Originally posted on 2/6/2013

Our editor-in-chief Michael Burke passes along this excerpt from our Q1 2013 edition of Strategic Alliance Magazine...

We know you’re eagerly awaiting that great moment when the next issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine lands in your mailbox—sort of like Steve Martin in The Jerk, celebrating the day the new phone books arrive. But while you’re waiting, we thought we’d bring you another snippet, or outtake, from the Q1 edition (which, rest assured, will be appearing any day now).

One of our features, entitled “Strange Bedfellows,” deals with “unusual” alliances: cross-industry or cross-cultural partnerships that are on the rise in some industries—such as biopharma—and are already business as usual in others—like business process outsourcing.

In the biopharma realm, drugmakers are increasingly looking outside their industry for new partners—both to deal with the ramifications of the patent cliff and the changing economic landscape, and to respond to the needs of patients and health care providers who are looking for better and more efficient health outcomes, rather than just “a pill for a price.”

This was the gist of ASAP Media’s interview with Hans-Peter Frank, CA-AM, head of alliance management for patient franchises at ASAP Global Member Novartis. (Frank also presented on this subject at the ASAP BioPharma Conference last November in Cambridge, Mass., and will be speaking on a related topic at the ASAP Global Summit in early March in Orlando, Fla.) Novartis is currently engaged in various nontraditional alliances, including with hardware and software makers, to provide patients with better health outcomes and health monitoring.

A worthy goal—but for a biopharma company working with a tech firm, the cultural differences can be vast, and bridging them isn’t always easy. So we asked Frank, any advice for those looking to partner outside their own industry?

“First of all, be very transparent,” he said. “We know there are very different approaches in companies [from different industries]. IP and confidentiality are sometimes really an issue. In tech, IP is often about just buying a company for the IP. Those companies are willing to participate in exclusivity of disease areas—but they don’t accept exclusivity of products or IP. I don’t want to be the lawyer who put this together! It can get pretty complicated, so we look for the smoothest way around that.”

And even internally, the challenges presented by these unusual alliances can be substantial. “With these novel collaborations, it’s more than a normal project,” Frank acknowledged. “You have to educate [internally] on a basic level, and bring up the knowledge level. Data privacy, for example, is not a concept they’re aware of [in pharma].”

Check out the Q1 issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine for more of Frank’s thoughts on “strange bedfellows” alliances, and for a glimpse into other industries where novel partnerships are also becoming the norm.

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When the Right Partner Is the Only Option—Not an “Options Game”

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 20, 2014
Originally posted on 2/1/2013

Each quarter we like to dedicate a few blog posts to providing teasers and outtakes of larger features that appear in the current or upcoming issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine. With our Q1 2013 edition at the printer now, we thought it was time to provide you with a glimpse of what you will soon see in the magazine, along with some bonus material.

In our main feature on partner selection, we spoke to many folks representing a cross-section of industries, including Snehal Desai, CA-AM, global business director at Dow Water and Process Solutions. Desai is one of the eight founding members of ASAP, and Dow has held an ASAP Corporate Membership for several years. In past conversations with ASAP Media, Desai has noted that he learns a lot from his IT and biopharmaceutical alliance colleagues, the two markets in which alliance management has been integrated deeply into company and industry culture. However, he did observe a major difference between points of emphasis in the partner selection process for Dow as compared with other verticals.

While other markets rely on “more channels,” leading companies to play an ”an options game”—an obvious reference to the IT industry which understandably needs alliances to grow business—Desai said Dow is simply trying to find the right fit, which he described as a “complimentary resource to get from a to b.”

“It’s not about volume, it’s about quality,” he added.

Since Dow is usually looking for approximately “three or four” good partners at any given time, Desai said the company’s alliance professionals essentially wear both the business development and alliance management hats. The person looking for deals is equally responsible for building the relationship.

“It’s a unique individual that can do them both,” Desai said.

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Pharma-Nonprofit Alliances Tackle Orphan Diseases

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 20, 2014
Originally posted on 1/31/2013

A New York Times article this week talks about the efforts of drug companies and biotechs to capitalize on the growing market for "orphan" diseases, rare diseases for which drugs on the market can cost upwards of $300,000. The piece discusses this issue through the story of a partnership between NPS Pharmaceutical and the Short Bowel Syndrome Foundation.

We at ASAP Media have talked a great deal about alliances for social good and public-private partnerships, but even we tend to gloss over partnerships like this that fall in between. The fact is that nonprofits have been major facilitators of many powerful alliances, with or without the additional participation of a public entity. And as the alliance management community is quick to tell you, nonprofit involvement can still drive a partnership initiative to greater profits. The objectives of these profits aren't always confined specifically to bolstering the public good.

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Forbes Blogger: IT, Automotive Industry Will Collaborate, Not Compete, On Driverless Car

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 20, 2014
Originally posted on 1/30/2013

Forbes blogger Joann Muller hears a lot of talk about Google and other Internet giants eventually rendering the automotive industry obsolete in the wake of Google's invention of the driverless car, and she thinks it's way off the mark. In fact, she sees the driverless car acting as a catalyst for deeper hand-in-hand partnerships between the two industries. She writes:

"Instead of Google vs. Detroit, I see a new era of collaboration. Carmakers will necessarily team up with digital partners like Google, Microsoft, Intel (maybe even Apple) to produce talking vehicles that don’t crash and get you to work on time. Companies like Ford and Microsoft already collaborate on technology that lets you bring your music and social media apps into your vehicle. Now these nontraditional partners will be working together to solve the difficult challenges of urban mobility on an overcrowded planet."

Muller added that GM has already turned to Global 100 IT companies and tech start-ups for new ideas. Meanwhile, "Google doesn’t have all the answers either. It isn’t capable of producing self-driving cars on its own. It will need the auto industry’s expertise to turn its vision into reality," she wrote.

On the surface, it may seem like this topic has little in common with the keynote for 2013 ASAP Global Alliance Summit being delivered by Alex Counts. But the commonality is this: The larger message being delivered at the Global Summit plenary is to think bigger and realize that strategic alliances have the potential to achieve greater outcomes—whether it is in the context of a public-private partnership designed for a specific social cause, or a breakthrough innovation like the driverless car.

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ASAP Announces Finalists for 2013 Alliance Excellence Awards

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 20, 2014
Originally posted on 1/25/2013

Once again, the cream rose to the top in the world of alliance management in 2012, and ASAP has scooped it up as part of its recipe for celebrating the best-of-the-best at its annual Alliance Excellence Awards Recognition Dinner, part of the 2013 ASAP Global Alliance Summit. ASAP unveiled the finalists for its 2013 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards, and the list includes several newcomers as well as past Alliance Excellence Award winners. Congratulations are in order for the following companies.

Category: Alliance Program Excellence
  • Citrix – Utilized partner ecosystem to develop several innovative new desktop virtualization products and managed “coopetitive” dynamics to produce significant revenue growth with particular larger key partners
  • SAS – Last year’s winner in this category is nominated for its continuing brilliance in 2012; the number of SAS’s top 50 deals influenced by partners has risen again
  • Takeda Pharmaceuticals – The subject of our Q1 2013 Strategic Alliance Magazine Member Spotlight profile, the company’s global alliance management team manages 45 alliances representing 49 products around the globe that account for 50 percent of its overall pipeline
Category: Individual Alliance Excellence
  • exactEarth-Kongsberg Satellite Services – The two companies’ groundbreaking low-Earth orbit satellite tracking system enables government agencies around the world to track all ships at sea beyond port areas—an industry first
  • SAS-Teradata – The partners have rolled out 12 joint programs and collaborative selling offers, netted 250 joint customer wins, and doubled year-over-year revenue attributed specifically to the alliance
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation-PTC Therapeutics-Roche – This three-party alliance is an example of an innovative collaboration among a nonprofit patient foundation, a biotechnology company and a pharmaceutical company to advance the development of a therapy for a devastating illness called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).
Category: Innovative Alliance Practices
  • SAS – As the company wrote in its nomination application, its intense focus on training and the alliance management group’s close working relationship with HR has provided “consistency in how we manage alliances via standard processes, tools, and templates, which in turn frees our people up to exercise their passion and creativity in managing their alliances”
  • Schneider Electric – The Alliance practice’s social media program has achieved more than 25,000 individual page views of posts by its three regular bloggers, recorded 72 “InLinks” on LinkedIn, and elicited 105 retweets on Twitter; more importantly, it has bolstered communication and joint marketing efforts with partners

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