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Change as a Constant: A Timely Session Planned for the ASAP BioPharma Conference

Posted By Geena B. Richards and Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Managing cycles of change is a session theme certain to unpack a profusion of thought-provoking ideas at the 2018 ASAP BioPharma Conference “Creating Valuable and Innovative Partnerships by Driving the Alliance Mindset,” September 24-26 at the Hyatt Regency Boston in Boston, Massachusetts USA. When change is afoot, alliance managers must learn how to quickly shift, dance, adapt, and evolve to keep pace in today’s meteoric biopharma partnering climate. How do alliance managers maintain an alliance mindset while negotiating fast-paced strategic changes, organizational shifts, and the introduction of new leadership? In a buzz of constant change, how do teams continue to listen to future needs? These are just a few of the challenges that will be addressed in the session “Leading Alliance Management amidst Shifting Corporate Strategy,” moderated by Andy Eibling, CSAP, senior partner at Forty86 Consulting Group. He will bring four panelists together to tackle this topic along with audience participation: Nick Dunscombe, vice president of business & commercial development at Astellas Pharma Europe; Mojgan Hossein-Nia, vice president, head of the R&D partnership office, Takeda; Steve Twait, CSAP, vice president alliance and integration management at AstraZeneca; Lucinda Warren, vice president business development, neuroscience, Johnson & Johnson Innovation/Janssen Business Development. Eibling recently provided a brief preview of some of the focal points the panelists plan to discuss.

What were some of the themes of this session?
Three of the four panelists have undergone significant changes in their careers. The fourth went through big organizational shifts not too long ago and has had multiple jobs within the organization. As the moderator, I will let them paint their own portrait and tell their own story and then go into targeted questions. We will discuss a lot of the problems associated with transitioning and how the panelists have solved them. We plan to stay within the alliance mindset and talk about how to ensure that the right mindset is in place as your alliance goes through strategic changes or as you are introduced into a new organization. Those changes could be an organizational shift from centralized to decentralized or a move to organize by therapeutic area to business unit. Changes to alliances, such as asset divestitures, will be covered. We will talk a little bit about tools and technology and how they are being used to learn and share expertise. As we talk about changes in strategies, we will get into metrics and how you can leverage them to ensure that you stay true to the alliances and their objectives. What metrics are companies incorporating to measure not just alliance health, but collaboration value? Another topic is how to design a Center of Excellence. This group has lots of expertise and different types of experiences.

What are some of the biggest challenges pharma alliance managers face today when dealing with corporate restructuring, both internally and externally?
That’s one of the themes we will address. As your organization shifts, by business unit or a move to a decentralized structure, what impact does that have? How does that change impact how your team performs? Constant change is the norm today as corporations strive to deliver much-needed innovative therapies to patients, increase revenues, and provide shareholder value. All the change we are talking about could be interpreted as ecosystem change for lasting solutions. The answers need to be flexible, not only relating to what you are going through now but predicting the next change as the pendulum swings. When the bowl of asset divestment wanes, what’s next? And do you have the right skills for the coming changes? What are the trends in non-traditional partnerships? Is the alliance language the same in the collaboration lifecycle?

What about adapting to changes in company culture? Will you be discussing these types of changes as well?
We are going to make sure to incorporate questions from the audience, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that comes up as a question. Nick Dunscombe, one of the panelists, just moved from a British to a Japanese company with a strong presence in the United States. He moved from alliance management at AstraZeneca to Astellas. Corporate culture might be something he could address. How do you apply what you know, what you learn, and how you shift? He will discuss best practices and the differences in the companies. Also, how do you adapt and how do you do it differently? What things worked in the past?

For more discussion of critical biopharma partnering topics and conference coverage, check out the Q2 and Q3 2018 issues of Strategic Alliance Magazine and the August 2018 issue of eSAM Plus.

Tags:  2018 ASAP BioPharma Conference  alliance manager  alliance mindset  Andy Eibling  Astellas  AstraZeneca  corporate culture  corporate restructuring  Johnson & Johnson Innovation  Lucinda Warren  Mojgan Hossein-Nia  Nick Dunscombe  non-traditional partnerships  Steve Twait  strategic challenges  Takeda 

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A Swim in ‘The Aquarium:’ Your Chance to Collectively Shift the Thought Currents of Alliance Management

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, September 7, 2016

ASAP Summit and Conference participants spend a lot of time sitting, listening, and absorbing the most cutting-edge information in the industry. Now it’s your turn to be a speaker, guide, and thought provoker in a new session format at this year’s ASAP BioPharma Conference Sept. 7-9, “New Faces, Unexpected Places in Partnering: The Foresight to Lead, the Foundation to Succeed,” at the Revere Hotel Boston Common, Boston. The Aquarium session encourages attendees to dive in and wrestle with the hot topics of the day in a creative, ASAP-designed version of the “fishbowl” learning activity. Moderated by Jan Twombly, CSAP, president of The Rhythm of Business, the session will start with a lively exchange on key topics from several experts in the field of alliance management as the audience peers into the tank. There will be three 25-minute rounds during the session, each with a separate topic. Participants will be allowed to “tap in” and move the conversation in new directions. When someone comes onto the stage, one person must exit. 

“We’re not sticking to a script; each of these topic discussion could branch off,” explains Ann Johnson, ASAP’s content manager, who has developed the concept as an innovation ASAP programming.  “That’s the beauty of nontraditional session structure like this: It allows for free-space that often results in exploring topics in real and meaningful ways … through many different lenses. It encourages engagement, peer-to-peer sharing, and participation, which is what our members want. There are no right answers to these topics, and in fact we want to hear diverse viewpoints,” Johnson adds. “This is a way to hear from the voices we often don’t hear from.” 

It’s an opportunity to become a member of the “school” in a fast-paced, collective swim that is geared to leave participants with a more creative and innovative perspective on the potential for change in alliance management. The following preselected topics are designed to jumpstart the conversation:

Topic #1: Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way

True or False: The alliance management profession in biopharma has the respect, skills, and ability to lead companies into partnering with different types of partners, across industries, and in new models.

Topic #2: Handle with Care: Managing the C-Suite

How do you ensure executive leadership (C-Suite) is appropriately involved in an alliance, without giving them a seat at the table, especially when the alliance is between a small, innovative company and big pharma?

Topic #3: Breadth or Depth – What Does it Take to Succeed?

Which qualities will be more highly valued in alliance managers as the industry adapts to digitization, outcomes based pricing, and an increasing number and variety of partnerships: broad business and technical skills and experience or deep pharmaceutical industry knowledge and experience?

As the conversation evolves, participants will then get a chance to bump the following thought leaders and senior-level partnering executives off the stage: 

  • Jeremy Ahouse, CSAP, PhD, Executive Director Alliance Management, Celgene
  • Harm-Jan Borgeld, CSAP, PhD, Head Alliance Management, Merck Serono 
  • David Burnham, Senior Vice President Strategic Alliance Management, INC Research
  • Mark Coflin, CSAP, Senior Director Alliance Management Global BD&L, Baxalta US Inc.  
  • Cathy Connelly, CA-AM, Head, Alliance Management, Sanofi Genzyme
  • Andy Hull, CA-AM, Vice President, Global Alliances, Takeda Pharmaceuticals
  • Katherine Kendrick, CA-AM; Director of Alliance Management, Elanco, Eli Lilly and Company
  • Brooke A. Paige, CSAP, Staff Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, HealthCore, Inc.
  • Petra Sansom, Sr. Director, Alliance Management, Vertex Pharmaceuticals
  • Mary Jo Struttmann, CA-AM; Executive Director, Global Alliance Management, Astellas Pharma Inc.
  • Michael Sumpter, Head of Alliance Management, Servier Monde
  • David S. Thompson, CA-AM, Chief Alliance Officer, Eli Lilly and Company
  • Steve Twait, CSAP, VP, Alliance and Integration Management, AstraZeneca

 Photo credit:  MB Photo Credit: W. Chappell

Tags:  alliance management  alliance managers  Ann Johnson  Astellas  AstraZeneca  biopharma  c-suite  David Thompson  Eli Lilly and Company  Jan Twombly  Mary Jo Struttmann  Michael Sumpter  partnerships  Petra Sansom  pharma  Servier Monde  Steve Twait  The Rhythm of Business  Vertex Pharmaceuticals 

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A Classic Story Presented with a New Spin at the 2014 ASAP BioPharma Conference:the Journey to Global Alliance Management Begins with a Single Center

Posted By Rebekah L Fraser, Thursday, September 4, 2014

"More audits. More audits. More audits!" Stu Kliman pumps his fist in the air. The audience laughs.

 

We're nearing the end of a highly engaging panel discussion led by Kliman, entitled, "The Journey to Global Alliance Management."  Kliman has spent the last 40 minutes expertly guiding Mary Jo Struttman and Andy Hull through the process of sharing their stories with a fairly large audience in the Hyatt Regency's grand ballroom at the 2014 ASAP BioPharma Conference in Boston.  

 

This type of session is my favorite. There are no slides, no speeches; just stories, told casually by experts in the field of alliance management.  The relaxed atmosphere seems to suit the rest of the audience, as well. Folks appear to be listening intently.

 

Every major corporation is doing business globally these days, so Kliman makes sure to define the parameters of the conversation at the start of the session. "What does it mean to build a global alliance network," he asks.  "What are the goals? What's the distinction between an alliance management function and an alliance management capability?"

 

The alliance management function can own the alliance management capability; the function can drive the capability.  Yet the presence of the AM function does not automatically guarantee the presence of the capability.  Among the thousands of partnering interactions that must occur regularly, how many actually involve alliance managers?  How can an organization use the alliance management function to drive, push, and enable the AM capability?

 

Developing a global alliance management network is the answer.  Astellas and Takeda chose to create a global AM network in the form of a Center of Excellence (CoE).  Since establishing their CoE for alliance management, Takeda has seen many positive results. Astellas is just beginning the process. Establishing a global alliance management Center of Excellence enables the company to define best practices and consistent behavior patterns within the AM function. Struttman envisions connecting Astellas' top alliance managers around the world, so those who know how to collaborate and have expertise in the field can guide those who are just learning. 

 

Essentially, setting clear boundaries and parameters gives individual alliance teams the freedom to customize each alliance based on the goals defined by all of the key stakeholders, without constant oversight and micromanagement from executives.  

 

"It's not playing nice in the sand box," Struttman explains. "It's the skills... You have a repository of tools, guidelines, and fundamental basics. However you still have knowledge and expertise. " 

 

Both Struttman and Hull share their experiences openly. Hull describes conducting a needs assessment with the alliance management team at Takeda's research sites around the globe. "What was amazing was the list of challenges, and the list of what people needed and wanted was almost identical," he explains.  

 

Across the globe, Takeda's alliance managers requested clear guiding principles and philosophy, clarification and definition of the AM role, tools, skills, and training. They wanted to know what to capture in meeting minutes, what approach to take in internal communications about a given partnership, etc.  At the same time, they feared the center of excellence would create a rigid SOP.  Hull reports that is the opposite of what Takeda leadership wanted to create.  In fact, Takeda chose to keep standard AM reporting requirements separate from the CoE.  Instead, Takeda's global AM team reports to and receives support from an executive steering committee that includes the leaders of emerging markets, research, and business development.

 

"Even though there's no reporting relationship, we're all connected with this virtual center. We get together live, and via phone.  The people who didn't have alliance management skills initially really wanted it, and they ended up being the experts at their sites," Hull explains.

 

The takeaway is this: when people are empowered to design a CoE with procedures, tools, educational opportunities, and strategies based on their needs, they develop a sense of ownership and become the CoE's greatest advocates.  Their work lives are easier and more fruitful, which works to the ultimate advantage of the corporation. 

 

There's a saying in the creative world: there are no original stories.  So, you've probably heard a similar story before. Yet as you apply this version to your unique alliances, you may find the truth in an old chestnut even more valuable than you expected.

 

As Kliman moves toward wrapping the session, Struttman shares a final piece of information: once it was established that Astellas's AM team is integral to the success of the company, the organization hired Price Waterhouse, to audit the AM team to see how they function. "We have a whole set of guidelines, tools, etc., that Price Waterhouse went through with a fine tooth comb," she says. "We came out with a great rating."

 

"Vantage has seen many client opportunities precipitated by audits," Kliman adds.  "It leads to important questions: Do we have policies and procedures in place?"

 

"So you want more audits..." Hull asks, facetiously, to which Kliman responds:

  

"More audits. More audits. More audits!"  

Tags:  2014 ASAP BioPharma Conference  Andy Hull  Astellas  Center of Excellence  Mary Jo Struttman  Stu Kliman  Takeda  Vantage Partners 

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