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2015 ASAP European Alliance Summit Echoes the Ecosystem Partnering Theme

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, November 9, 2015

The European Union is following the United States’ lead in cross-industry partnering. Partnering executives from across Europe convened to explore “The New Ecosystem for Partnerships” at the October 15-16, 2015 ASAP European Alliance Summit, held at the NH Amsterdam Grand Hotel in Amsterdam. Co-sponsored by Thought Leader Global, which specializes in organizing corporate events across the spectrum of corporate strategy, business development, and finance, the event drew about 60 attendees, most of whom were heads of strategic alliances and partnerships from all kinds of industries, primarily multi-nationals. 

The “successful partnership” between the two co-sponsors created a “great opportunity” for companies looking to learn from “different types of collaborations,” said ASAP Chairman of the Board Christine Carberry, CSAP, senior vice president, quality, technical operations, program & alliance management, at FORUM Pharmaceuticals, who attended the gathering. “In the past, it was biopharma-to-biopharma, high tech-to-high tech. We are now seeing much more partnering diversity across industries, including the service sector, academic institutions, and healthcare providers,” she explained.  “We are starting to get a much more diverse membership in ASAP and with people who are newer in alliance management.” 

Some 20 percent of ASAP membership is European-based, and the alliance community in Europe is an area of growth, said Carberry. 

“People are beginning to realize they need to build alliance management capability across their entire organization. And people are beginning to get interested in how to provide more resources, training, and guidance to those who need those skills and capabilities because they interact with partners and collaborations, “ Carberry added. 

Cross-industry collaboration is definitely happening in Europe, “but probably at a slower rate than the US,” agreed Scott Rogers, Thought Leader Global’s project manager. “One of the strengths of this event is benchmarking both within and outside your industry. So there are best practices from pharmaceutical companies managing alliances in complex ecosystems, but also strategies from IT companies handling unique technology partnerships. Terminology may sometimes differ, but essential principles remain the same.” 

Reflecting on the Summit, he said Sanofi, Ericsson, Takeda, and Unilever offered excellent presentations. Prominent manufacturing companies shared highly relevant experiences, and mature and emerging alliance managers gained best practices and possible networking connections with fellow attendees. “We reviewed the evaluation forms and we’re happy to report that attendees gave positive reviews to all the presentations, with many favoring speakers in their industry,” he added.

Summit attendees participated in sessions that spanned biopharma and high tech. Carberry singled out two sessions relating to the global trend of high tech and biopharma partnering because their convergence is requiring news skills and approaches. 

One session about R&D and strategy was given by Ingo Hoffmann, global head of strategic alliances & partner ecosystem at IBM’s Curam Solutions & Smarter Care. The other, Joint Ventures to Advance Corporate Development and Growth in New Markets” on advanced ventures and how they partner and grow, was given by Pierrick Rollet, vice president of global strategic partnerships & joint ventures at GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines. 

Carberry and Rogers agreed that the event exemplifies a win-win partnership, allowing ASAP to convene a significant contingent of its European members while also connecting with executives who are new to the association. 

“It was a high-quality event at a location well-suited for our European colleagues,” Carberry said. “I think it’s been a successful partnership between ASAP and Thought Leader Global. About half of people were familiar with ASAP.”

“This event theme fits perfectly within our portfolio, and we are able to leverage relationships from our other events to support this one,” added Rogers. “We are pleased with the ongoing collaboration between Thought Leader Global and ASAP.”

Tags:  2015 ASAP European Alliance Summit  alliance management  best practices  Christine Carberry  Ericsson  FORUM Pharmaceuticals  GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines  IBM’s Curam Solutions & Smarter Care  Ingo Hoffmann  partnering diversity  Pierrick Rollet  Sanofi  Scott Rogers  Takeda  Thought Leader Global  Unilever 

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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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