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Alliance Champions Announced: ASAP Unveils 2020 Alliance Excellence Award Winners

Posted By Jon Lavietes, Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The alliance management profession’s ring of legends just got a little bigger. On Tuesday, ASAP announced the winners of the 2020 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards toward the end of the first day of this year’s ASAP Global Alliance Summit. The new crop of “alliance champions” exemplified the best uses of the discipline’s tried-and-true methodologies and achieved powerful results on behalf of their organizations.

Here are the public and private institutions that earned the alliance management profession’s most prestigious honor.

Category
Individual Alliance Excellence

Winners
Cancer Research UK–Bristol-Myers Squibb (Best Emerging Alliance)
Ipsen-Debiopharm (Best Long-Established Alliance)

An Alliance of Academia, Nonprofit, and Private Sectors Produces Potential Cancer Drugs

A little more than two years ago, Cancer Research UK, a nonprofit scientific research organization with the ambitious mission of curing three out of four cancer cases by the year 2034, was looking to advance its R&D efforts around the use of a process called mRNA translation to develop potential cures for cancer. The organization had extensive connections to clinicians from prominent academic institutions who were sitting on promising research in this area. All Cancer Research UK needed was a like-minded partner from the private sector to power this research with funding and drug-development resources.

In stepped biotech Celgene, which would eventually be acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2019, to help turn these ideas into viable cancer-treating candidates. Together, Celgene and Cancer Research UK erected a novel process that enabled scientists to seamlessly and expeditiously transition from preclinical activities to phase 1 trials through a single funding mechanism. By orchestrating stakeholders from the nonprofit, academic, and private sectors in an innovative alliance structure, this collaboration has produced nine active cancer-therapy targets and laid the foundation for the discovery of many more.

What’s Old Is New Again— Ipsen-Debiopharm Alliance Approaching 50 Years of Partnership

In 2018, an alliance between French pharmaceutical corporation Ipsen and biotech Debiopharm was at a crossroads. Their collaboration around the drug Decapeptyl was an astounding 35 years old. Annual sales of Decapeptyl had grown to $350 million, and the drug, which was originally developed to treat prostate cancer, was now being prescribed for five indications.

However, all wasn’t necessarily peachy in paradise. The two organizations were working with an outmoded alliance structure, and the employees driving the partnership seemed to treat it as a supplier/distributor relationship rather than a true collaboration. The companies still believed in the alliance and signed a 15-year extension, but it would need a major overhaul if it wanted to be competitive over the next decade and a half.

After signing the extension, the two organizations realigned financial models and revamped many aspects of their R&D and life cycle management operations. As a result, the partners are producing new formulations of Decapeptyl and are in better position to sell the drug in developing markets, such as China, and other regions that previously weren’t viable.

Category
Alliance Program Excellence

Winners
Cancer Research UK
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Cancer Research UK Founds Alliance Management Practice to Manage Growing Portfolio

Cancer Research UK, the world’s largest independent funder of medical research and the backer of more than £450 million of academic research annually, is one of the few nonprofit organizations with a large portfolio of strategic alliances, which is why it became one of the rare charity organizations to found a formal alliance management practice in 2018. Over the course of the last decade, the company signed 10 deals with large pharmaceutical companies, and saw several of those expand in scope over time.

The company recruited experienced alliance managers to staff the new division, and incorporated formal alliance management best practices in all phases of the life cycle, including health checks, charters, and risk maps. It also disseminated toolkits, tutorials, and other how-to information to personnel outside of the alliance management function who were regularly involved in its collaborations.

“We’ve spent the last two years building a brand-new alliance management function, and we have also really enjoyed becoming active members of the ASAP community as part of that,” said Laura Fletcher, associate director for partnerships and strategic alliances at Cancer Research UK, in a video recorded for the virtual award ceremony.

The practice now manages 38 active projects, 11 of which have been added to its portfolio since April 2019. Cancer Research UK’s alliance managers are often called upon to weave together a diverse range of players that at times include academic scientists, funding managers, pharmaceutical and biotech R&D personnel, institute technology transfer offices (TTOs), and its own employees.

Meticulous KPI Monitoring Keeps Merck KGaA Alliances on Track

For more than a decade, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has used an internally developed health check to uncover potential vulnerabilities in its strategic alliances. It started with a survey of 18 of its external partners in 2008, and has been expanded to include a quarterly polling of its own alliance managers on four aspects of the company’s partnerships: 1) effective decision making, 2) joint objective fulfillment, 3) alliance opportunities identified, and 4) value creation.

By combining this internal tracking data with feedback from partners on alliance governance and operations via a survey conducted every two years, Merck KGaA is able to identify alliances that need improvement in a very objective, open, and effective manner. Alliance teams launch in-depth investigations when an internal KPI ever dips below the average of the previous four quarters, while the partner surveys have revealed that the Merck KGaA alliance team improved its decision-making efficiency 27 percent overall in a two-year span in the estimation of its partner counterparts, among other insights.

Category
Innovative Best Alliance Practice

Winner
Citrix – RFSA Program
Citrix – Coopetition

Double Barrel: Two Impactful Initiatives Earn Citrix Award Recognition

Virtualization technology pioneer Citrix earned Innovative Best Alliance Practice Award honors for not one but two initiatives.

First, the company was recognized for its Request for Strategic Alliances Engagement (RFSA) process, which helped streamline the numerous requests for interoperability or integration of its technology that come from Citrix technology partners and its own employees.

At the heart of the RFSA process is the Strategic Alliances Strategy Committee (SASC), which features representatives from alliance management, product management, engineering, marketing, and sales. The SASC decides whether to give the green light to integrate Citrix technology with another product or service, and how to do so when partner requests are approved.

The RFSA process has earned the respect of Citrix’s product management department, which has provided sponsorship and effective leadership for key alliance initiatives—the company’s chief product officer mandated that a project manager be assigned to each and every technology request. It has also increased the visibility of key alliance initiatives across Citrix’s other divisions. By highlighting the ideas that have originated from Citrix partnerships, the RFSA process has validated the alliance management practice to the rest of the company.

“We ended up having an advocate outside of alliances helping us sponsor, drive, resource, and deliver our key alliance initiatives,” said Steve Blacklock, CA-AM, vice president of global strategic alliances at Citrix, in a statement presented to attendees of the virtual session. 

Citrix Pivots When Acquisitions Create Coopetition

Meanwhile, Citrix was also recognized for developing a way to handle sudden coopetition that results when a partner is acquired by a competitor, a common occurrence in the technology industry. Does Citrix remain partners and agree to cooperate in some areas while competing in others? Should the company walk away altogether and find new partners in the same technology area? In recent years, Citrix was confronted with these questions when competitors acquired two of its partners. It realized then that it would benefit from a formalized process for answering them. 

Now, when a competitor acquires an ally, a “war room” of experts conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis of the situation and follow a blueprint for creating and executing a strategy to transition from partner to competitor. Thanks to these efforts, alliance managers now have tools and best practices around gaining consensus, overcoming internal and external obstacles, and assessing and responding to scenarios as they occur.

Category
Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibility

Winner
Protiviti

Protiviti, FCE, RAH Deliver 10 Million Meals in 26 Countries over Five-Year Span

When Protiviti, a consulting firm that solves pressing business problems on behalf of 4,500 clients, including 35 percent of the Fortune 500, launched its “i on Hunger” program in November 2014, it had grand ambitions—deliver one million meals to people in need within a year—not to mention the management consulting acumen and financial resources to make this goal a reality. It also had the self-awareness to know what it was missing: domain expertise in getting meals to hungry mouths.

Protiviti enlisted two nonprofits that flashed glittering résumés in tackling world hunger: 1) Feeding Children Everywhere (FCE) and 2) Rise Against Hunger (RAH). The formula the partners settled on was straightforward: FCE and RAH gathered, packaged, and distributed the food to those in need, while Protiviti funded the ingredients, packaging, and location costs for each event.  

The program proved to be a smashing success out of the gate—i on Hunger served its 1 millionth meal in less than ten months—and never slowed down. As the program gained steam, it gained allies, too. More nonprofits stepped in to deliver meals, while employees of 348 of Protiviti’s clients also joined the effort as volunteers and joint organizers.

By the end of 2019, 10 million meals had been delivered over the course of 625 i on Hunger events conducted in 26 countries.  

Thank you for this amazing award recognition. We are honored to be chosen for the Alliance Excellence Award in the category of social responsibility,” said Claudia Kuzma, CA-AM, managing director and global ecosystem program leader at Protiviti, to the virtual audience.

There’s so much more to learn from these amazing use cases of this year’s best in alliance management. That’s why you won’t want to miss the full stories of our winners in the Q3 2020 issue of Strategic Alliance Quarterly, which will arrive in ASAP members’ mailboxes later this summer.  

Tags:  Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibi  Alliance Program Excellence  Best Emerging Alliance  Best Long-Established Alliance  Bristol-Myers Squibb  Cancer Research UK  Citrix – Coopetition  Citrix – RFSA Program  Debiopharm  Innovative Best Alliance Practice  Ipsen  Merck KGaA 

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Supreme Allies: ASAP Unveils 2020 Alliance Excellence Award Finalists

Posted By Jon Lavietes, Wednesday, January 15, 2020

It is that time of year again. ASAP has revealed its list of Alliance Excellence Award finalists for 2020. Like previous winners before them, this year’s nominees created innovative products, threw lifelines to citizens in need all around the world, increased company profits, got us closer to game-changing cancer drugs, and improved the internal function of individual alliances and alliance management practices.

“Each year, we find the companies that use the most fundamental tenets of alliance management to get powerful results from their collaborations, all the while tailoring these principles as necessary to fit an ever-changing business landscape,” said Ard-Pieter de Man, CSAP, PhD, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, who oversaw the evaluation and selection of submissions. “This year’s nominees are no different. Everyone in the alliance management community will learn a great deal from how these organizations achieved such amazing outcomes in 2019.”

Contenders will be vying for awards in the following four categories: 1) Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibility, 2) Alliance Program Excellence, 3) Individual Alliance Excellence, and 4) Innovative Best Alliance Practice. (ASAP’s web site breaks down the criteria for each of these areas.)

Here is an overview of our finalists’ stories:

Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibility

  • Banistmo – The largest bank in Panama teamed with Reciclar Paga, an organization that collects and recycles materials, to open “ecological ATMs” all over the country where citizens automatically receive credit in their Nequi Panamá accounts when they deposit plastic bottles, cans, and other recyclables. (Nequi Panamá is Banistmo's digital financial platform.)  
  • Ericsson – This telecommunications giant provided the foundation for the United Nations World Food Programme’s (WFP) Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), which established and maintained voice and data connectivity in the aftermath of natural disasters. Hundreds of employee volunteers have been trained and deployed all over the world, supporting over 40 humanitarian relief efforts in 30 countries.
  • International SOS – The global medical and security services company partnered with wellness company Workplace Options to deliver comprehensive physical, mental, and emotional well-being services to expatriates, traveling students, and businesspeople worldwide. This partnership shows how the combination of industry-leading expertise from different organizations can support people in need.
  • Protiviti – Protiviti teamed with nonprofit organizations Feeding Children Everywhere and Rise Against Hunger to deliver millions of meals to hungry families around the world.  An open, flexible partnering model has enabled Protiviti to work with numerous partners across multiple locations worldwide.
  • SAS Institute – SAS’s ecosystem hosted the annual Nordic Hackathon, which aims to use “data for good.” Hackathon participants have created solutions that help doctors detect and treat heart failure, consumers make climate-friendly food choices, and war refugees find their families, among other use cases. The Hackathon is an integral part of SAS’s partnering program.

Alliance Program Excellence

  • Cancer Research UK (CRUK) – A global nonprofit institution established its inaugural alliance management function to provide strategic oversight and best-in-class practices to its large-scale strategic drug discovery collaborations and cofunded platform technology relationships. The alliance program is unique in the way it connects CRUK’s extensive network of academic researchers to biotech and pharmaceutical companies.
  • Blue Yonder – In response to increasing customer demand for cloud solutions, Blue Yonder revamped its Partner Advantage Program to include a prescriptive learning–based Partner Academy, two new partner-ready cloud environments, a Solutions Marketplace, and a Partner Locator, a searchable lead-generation engine for end users, among other features.
  • Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany ­– The pharma stalwart implemented a state-of-the-art performance management program for alliances including innovative metrics for decision making and benchmarking with competitors.  KPIs are tracked on a quarterly basis. Analysis of these KPIs quarter to quarter enables continuous improvement of the alliance management function.

Individual Alliance Excellence

  • Banistmo and Sodexo – The companies combined the former’s Nequi Panamá digital banking platform with Sodexo’s Vale Panamá voucher system to create e-vale, a tool that enabled business and public agencies to provide bonuses and incentives to employees. The alliance also succeeded in building an ecosystem around this product.
  • Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and Celgene – CRUK and Celgene formed an alliance centered on research into multiple cancer-associated proteins across diverse cancer types. The alliance was structured according to ASAP best practices and implemented a mechanism for CRUK to independently engage with its academic network and make flexible spending decisions.
  • Genpact and Deloitte Genpact’s collaboration with Deloitte featured a comprehensive mix of traditional alliance best practices and modern innovative tools, such as “social capital” and “Evangelists,” people with experiences at both firms whose primary role is to help drive the connection between the respective teams. 
  • Ipsen and Debiopharm – With their contract coming to an end in 2018, Ipsen and Debiopharm rebooted and revamped their 35-year-old alliance. The partners have shown an exemplary ability to reinvent their alliance. The reset resulted in a new partnership model and a new contract for the next 15 years of partnership.

 Innovative Best Alliance Practice

  • Alcon – The company’s Trinity partner relationship management system helped streamline the reporting, governance, analytics, and communication related to alliances that impact the organization’s business development and licensing (BD&L) group. The system enhanced compliance with alliance agreements and improved alliance management.
  • Citrix (Coopetition Guidance) – With its strategic allies acquiring competitors, Citrix created guidelines for transitioning away from partners-turned-rivals. The tool is publicly available and provides a step-by-step blueprint to develop a response strategy when a partner becomes a competitor.
  • Citrix (RFSA) – The virtualization giant’s Request for Strategic Alliances Engagement (RFSA) program aligned the engineering, product management, marketing, and alliance management functions so that the company could evaluate and respond to proposed initiatives from partners significantly faster.
  • PTC – The company cobranded a series of Digital Centers of Excellence (CoE) where partners can demo Internet of Things (IoT), Augmented Reality (AR), and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions to customers and prospects. This program had a significant effect on top-line growth.

“Every profession distinguishes its top performers, and ASAP is proud to do the honors for the crème de la crème in alliance management,” said Michael Leonetti, CSAP, president and CEO of ASAP. “With more and more organizations submitting for these honors, there is mounting evidence that organizations of all kinds see the Alliance Excellence Awards as a means to validating their standing as innovators.”

The winners will be announced on Tues., March 17 at the ASAP Global Alliance Summit in Tampa, Fla.  

Tags:  alliance  alliance management  Banistmo  Blue Yonder  Cancer Research UK  Celgen  Darmstadt  Debiopharm  Deloitte  ecosystem  Ericsson  Genpact  Germany  International SOS  Ipsen  Merck KGaA  Nequi Panamá  partnering model  partnering program  partners  partnership  Protiviti  SAS Institute  Sodexo 

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Reset, Relaunch, Rebirth: Rejuvenating a Longtime Alliance to Create Future Value

Posted By Michael J. Burke, Thursday, October 17, 2019

What happens when a more than three-decade-old alliance that has gone through its share of turmoil nears the end of its contractual life? Does it simply wind down in collective exhaustion, ending with a whimper? Does it crash and burn? Or can it somehow rise from the ashes of the past?

            Two European biopharma companies struggled toward the answer to that question, and ended up resetting and relaunching their alliance to mutual benefit. Eric Ferrandis, CA-AM, vice president of strategic alliances at Ipsen, and Fabrice Paradies, director of industrial business development and global commercial alliance at Debiopharm Group, described the process of bringing their two companies’ productive partnership back from the brink and back to life in their presentation, “Partnership Reset and Launch: How to Complete the Past?” at the recently concluded ASAP BioPharma Conference 2019, held Sept. 23–25 in Boston.

            Paris-based Ipsen, a 90-year-old company specializing in oncology, neuroscience, and rare diseases, and the 40-year-old Debiopharm, a drug development company based in Lausanne, Switzerland, had an alliance going back to 1983 that had been very productive for both of them. This 35-year partnership sprang from a series of agreements and amendments for the licensing of Triptorelin—brand name Decapeptyl—a drug used in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer, endometriosis, and breast cancer, among other conditions.

            The DKP alliance, as it was known, created value for both companies, but as Ferrandis and Paradies acknowledged, it also had been set up in such a way as to cause “pain points” that those working on the alliance had never been able to address holistically. So what to do?

            As the alliance agreement neared its end by mid-2018, both companies’ CEOs agreed that a new alliance framework must be put in place, with negotiation leads empowered to get a new contract signed by the end of that year and relaunch the alliance for the long term. Accordingly, by July 2018 the companies hired the consultancy The Rhythm of Business to help get their partnership back on track by identifying the key problems that had hindered its efficient functioning and to assist in rebuilding a common vision for the alliance.

            The initiation of the reset process involved two workshop sessions covering two days and involving personnel from key functions across both companies. Among the key findings that emerged from those sessions:

  • Both Ipsen and Debiopharm still saw a promising future for the DKP alliance.
  • They also felt that the alliance’s current economic model would not unleash the full growth potential of the brand.
  • More indications launched in more territories globally would deliver greater value to both partners.
  •   Greater proactive investment in product innovation and life cycle management was required for continued success and growth.
  • The long-term relationship had laid a solid foundation, but some deep-seated divisions and differences still needed to be overcome.

Armed with these findings, the two companies’ negotiation teams—primarily three people on each side, with support from above and below—set about to restructure the alliance and set it on a better course, by:

  • Aligning financial terms in the new economic model, across all formulations of the product
  • Developing a joint life cycle management plan that fuels appropriate product innovation
  • Strengthen alliance governance to support the more ambitious economic model and operating framework
  • Working hard to build trust and ensure transparent and effective communication

As Ferrandis commented, “Everything is about trust.”

            As the new agreement was being negotiated, it was agreed that the old contract would remain in effect and the status quo of the alliance would continue on both sides. Other key points, according to Ferrandis and Paradies:

  • The need for a reset was agreed on by both companies.
  • There was buy-in by both companies’ senior leaders and leadership teams.
  • The revenue from the DKP alliance was important to both companies, so it was clearly understood that the reset/relaunch effort needed to go deep into both organizations.
  • The negotiation teams included representatives from alliance management, business development, and legal, and had input from a number of other functional areas—as well as critical support from senior leaders.

Both Ferrandis and Paradies admitted that while everyone involved wanted to “move fast” on the reset effort, it was important to lay the groundwork even before negotiations commenced to get the partnership relaunched. “We had to change the mindset” internally, said Paradies. Doing this work ahead of time—and having “the right people in the room,” as Jan Twombly, CSAP, principal of The Rhythm of Business, noted—led to a “new partnership spirit” in the alliance, according to Ferrandis.

            Ferrandis also cited leadership as “the greatest alliance management skill,” adding that behaving as a leader includes going to senior leadership when necessary to get buy-in and help get issues resolved.

            A new agreement was signed in 2018 that provided for 15 additional years of partnership between Ipsen and Debiopharm, featuring a new economic model with better-aligned financial terms, a new R&D framework with cost sharing for codevelopment mechanisms, new governance giving Ipsen final say over development and commercialization and Debiopharm control over manufacturing, and what the copresenters called a “commercial bold ambition.”

And once the new contract was signed, senior company personnel celebrated with a joint dinner in Montreux, Switzerland, on Lac Léman (Lake Geneva). The moral? For the rebirth of a long-running alliance like this one, said Ferrandis, “Don’t forget to celebrate each time you can.”  

Tags:  alignment  alliance management  codevelopmen  Debiopharm Group  Eric Ferrandis  Fabrice Paradies  Ipsen  negotiation  partner  partnership  Partnership Reset ASAP BioPharma Conference  R&D 

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