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How Contract White Space Becomes the Gray Area of a Deal (Part One)

Posted By Genevieve Fraser, Friday, October 27, 2017
Updated: Thursday, October 26, 2017

There’s a place—a twilight zone— that exists between the high “expectations of a deal well struck and the hard reality of implementation. “Reading Between the Lines: Living in Contract White Space” explored that “gray area” on day two of the 2017 ASAP BioPharma Conference September 13-15 in Cambridge, Mass. USA. The presenters were Christine Carberry, CSAP, chief operating officer at Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Andy Eibling, CSAP, vice president of alliance management at Covance, the drug development business of LabCorp, and Brian O'Shaughnessy, a partner at Dinsmore & Shohl and president and chair of the board of LES, the Licensing Executives Society (USA and Canada), which focuses on licensing and commercial transactions involving intellectual property (IP) rights.

O'Shaughnessy cut right to the chase. “Typically, the problem is that people negotiating the deal are talking the same lingo. You need to look at common deal terms that cause collaborations to falter. Too often short shrift is given to definitions, to defining terms. Spelling out definitions doesn’t seem important because you and the others know what you mean. But contracts need to be written so non-experts understand. Spend time writing definitions in plain, simple terms. For example, technology patent and patent applications are two different things.”


“Three months from the signing of the contract, you will not be living in the world you had envisioned,” Christine Carberry added. “When you are caught up in the excitement of creating the deal, it’s natural to avoid looking at inherent risks. The likelihood is that X drug may not move to blockbuster status. Then, how do you navigate? How do you avoid having the reality of the situation, the reality you must deal with, keep from pulling people apart?”


“There areas often missing that are not even gray space—with nothing there to give guidance,” Andy Eibling began, throwing it out to the audience. “Name some areas in a contract that cause issues. What are your pet peeves?” Responses included:

  • Milestones based on study initiation (When does a study really start?)
  • “First patient, first visit” doesn’t mean what most thinks it means.
  • Every single compromise is going to come back—because the people who work on the contract were not part of the compromise.
  • Implementation time is not realistic. The contract states six months, but WE KNOW it takes nine months.
  • There are definitions within definitions. Check to see if the contract is still in alignment.
  • Due diligence—Best efforts—Clear process is needed for dispute resolution. The idea that you will just specify “arbitration” doesn’t cut it. You need to set up a process.

 Carberry rattled off a few scenarios: You couldn’t come to agreement, so you punted. Even worse, you know going into a contract, tension exists, so you opt not to deal with it. And, it’s contentious because you know it’s likely to happen!


“You can come up with complicated solutions that sound great—but how to execute it is the issue. It’s important that alliance people are brought in early to assist with ironing out conflicts,” she emphasized.


Let LES, the Licensing Executives Society draft the front end and the company draft how it will work, O'Shaughnessy suggested. “How do we prevent this and that from becoming a problem—such as scheduling meetings? And there’s always a risk of shifting provisions. Business people like to say, ‘that’s all legal stuff. Let the lawyers figure it out.’ But what they figure out might not align with the business model. If I absorb more risk, I need more attention.”

Tags:  ”First patient  alliance management  alliances  Andy Eibling  Brian O'Shaughnessy  Christine Carberry  compromise  contract  Covance  Dinsmore & Shohl  due diligence  first visit”  Implementation  Keryx Biopharmaceuticals  Licensing Executives Society 

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Competencies versus Characteristics in Driving Partner Performance

Posted By Genevieve Fraser, Monday, March 20, 2017
Updated: Friday, March 17, 2017

The use of competencies as a hiring tool has evolved into a gold standard for many professions, including alliance management.  But can competencies as a stand-alone tool effectively identify those who will be successful in the role? 

The question was front and center at the sessionTraits and Attributes of Successful Alliance Managers” as Andy Eibling, CSAP, vice president of alliance management at Covance, and Kerri Lampard, CSAP, director of the global services center of excellence in the global partner organization at Cisco Systems, reviewed how and why competencies alone should not be used to hire alliance managers. The session was part of theDriving Partner Performance” offerings at the 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit “Profit, Innovation, and Value for the Partnering Enterprise,” which took place at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley, San Diego, California. 

“So, how do you locate, develop, and hire alliance managers? Why do some excel and others struggle? What are the traits that help people to succeed?” Lampard asked as she posed a string of key questions at the opening of the session.


Lampard’s overall answer? Competencies can be taught, she explained. However, characteristics are more locked in. Companies need to align the candidate with the organization and look at overarching characteristics, she said. “For, example, Big Pharma can be change adverse. There’s a natural trepidation built into the culture due to the length of time it takes between the inception of a project, the roll out, and the cost.”

Andy Eibling focused on traits that help people succeed such as vision - the ability to see the big picture possibilities. “When a person has vision, they have the natural curiosity and desire to learn and balance change, to decide the appropriate time and place to take risk, to pivot and think about where they're going.  Their role is to strategize and then get people to buy in.”

Advocacy is also important, Eibling stated. “It’s important for an alliance manager to be able to see both sides and understand why someone is acting the way they do.  Folks who can step back and fit into someone else's shoes, advocate for them and articulate issues, can take conflict and make it productive. They move the process forward.”

“One of the most important characteristics is the ability to engender trust,” he added. “Employ the Vegas rules. What is said in a conversation stays in the conversation. The ability to engender trust is crucial. People within an organization and partners need to know they can have a candid conversation before it becomes a big issue,” he also noted. “It’s important to understand, as [Henry] Kissinger once said, that ‘Competing pressures tempt one to believe that anissue deferred isa problem avoided; more often, it is acrisis invited.’”

Tags:  alliance manager  alliances  Andy Eibling  Cisco Systems  Competencies  Covance  engender trust  hiring tool  Kerry Lampard  partner performance 

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Deadline Extended to Dec. 5 for 2015 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards—and Why Covance’s Andy Eibling Says ‘It’s Worth the Effort to Go through the Application’

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Monday, November 24, 2014

Let’s not pussyfoot around this issue: It takes a decent amount of work to apply for awards—and you still have to do your day job. So will the time and effort you spend completing your application for the 2015 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards really pay off? Last week, with the deadline for 2015 nominations looming, we posed the question to Andy Eibling, CSAP, vice president of alliance management at Covance.


“It’s worth the effort to go through the application,” says Eibling. Covance, a clinical research organization, and its biopharma company partner Eli Lilly and Company shared the 2014 Individual Alliance Excellence Award for a Longstanding Alliance—but even if the alliance hadn’t won the award, Eibling says the effort would have been beneficial. “As one of the side benefits, the discipline of working through the nomination caused us to go back and revisit the accomplishments of the partnership. Just the process of doing that was very valuable. We’ve used the nomination materials a lot internally within Covance, and across the alliance. It gave our team a very nice retrospective—‘wow, we’ve really done a lot here.’”


Of course, being selected as a finalist and then winning were thrilling. Eibling cites “both internal and external recognition for the alliance team” that Covance received.


“I think it added credibility to our competency development efforts,” he explains. “There are a lot of people who work really hard on this alliance, and having an external body review, critique, acknowledge, and recognize the results of our efforts was really valuable. Having an alliance that lasts this long and is recognized for the things its done doesn’t happen ‘just because’—it’s not happenstance.”


The Alliance Excellence Award also validates the value of a strong competency in alliance management—and reminds people of the accomplishments this competency makes possible.


“Our efforts to develop this competency, and our ability to deliver on the promise of the competency, were recognized,” Eibling says. “Participating in the awards process allowed us to review things we’ve done together in totality. People are busy and forget all the good things they’ve done. This reminds them.”


Awards Application Deadline Extended to Dec. 5, 2014

ASAP has extended until Dec. 5 the nominations deadline for the 2015 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards, the alliance management community's most prestigious honor celebrating advancements in the increasingly critical practice of executing strategic alliances. As in previous years, finalists and award winners will be honored in a special ceremony at the March 2-5, 2015 ASAP Global Alliance Summit in Orlando, Florida USA.


The Alliance Excellence Awards acknowledge major corporations, mid-sized enterprises, start-ups and public-private initiatives alike across a diverse array of industries. In addition to Covance and Lilly, prior winners include Cisco, Coherence, Deloitte, DNDi, Federal Express, Harley Davidson, HP, IBM, Inspiration Pharmaceuticals, Ipsen, KPMG, NetApp, Novartis, Oracle, P&G, Roche, Sanofi, SAP, SAS, Schneider-Electric, Starbucks, Teradata, Turkcell, and Xerox. 


Applications are vetted by the ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards Committee, which evaluates nominees’ creativity and out-of-the-box thinking that has evolved the art and science of alliance management, compelling and measurable results, and a general persistence in overcoming obstacles along the way. Click here to learn more and apply today.  

Tags:  2015 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards  Andy Eibling  Covance  Eli Lilly and Company 

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