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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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A Lesson From the Whiz Kids: Change and Teams— ‘An Inevitable Combination’

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, July 22, 2019

My father, who recently passed away, worked for Ford Motor Company in its heyday. A 1950  graduate of Harvard Business School and a former Marine in World War II and the Korean War, he started working at  Ford in 1953 and eventually worked under Ford President Robert McNamara, who later became the longest-serving secretary of defense in United States history under Presidents  John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

 

Ford Motor Company was losing millions in the post-  WWII era, but turned a corner through innovative production and management. Seeking new ways to succeed in a time of rapid change (sound familiar?), the company engaged in a unique partnership with a group of United States Air Force officers. Ford would provide the young men just out of the military with jobs and, in turn, the former officers would revamp the company. Disparagingly dubbed the “Quiz Kids” by fellow employees for their youthful questioning, they renamed themselves the “Whiz Kids.” As a manager in finance, production programming, sales, marketing, personnel, and technical and transportation operations, my father worked under their guidance to help reorganize Ford’s financial framework, redefine corporate culture, and contribute to automotive innovation.

 

After my father’s memorial service, I pored over the books in his library. You can tell a lot about a person from the books he or she reads. Based on the collective mix, he pursued self-education to the end, especially in the areas of business, history, leadership—and the art of fly fishing. The mix included tomes such as Doris Kearns Goodwin’s The Bully Pulpit and Nigel Hamilton’s The Mantle of Command. But what really caught my eye was an unassuming slip of a book: The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High–Performance Organization, by Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith, Harvard Business School Press, 1993. As I paged through, I found only one sentence in the entire book underlined. In the chapter “Teams and Major Change: An Inevitable Combination,” the final sentence on Page 211 was highlighted: “It is no accident, then, that every single major change effort we know about has depended on teams.”

 

Through landmark business reconstruction and major wars my father had significant life experience leading and participating in successful teams. He must have come away from those experiences with an understanding of how major change is conjoined with well-organized teamwork. At age 93, the concept of digital transformation was a mystery to him, but the strategy necessary for such radical transformation was very familiar: Major change requires visionary leadership, well-orchestrated collaboration, and flexible innovation.

 

History can teach us a lot about successful collaboration. That connection came through at a ASAP BioPharma Conference in a session on “Alliance Management  Learnings from Great Leaders,” led by Harm-Jan Borgeld, head of alliance management at Merck KGaA;  David Thompson, CSAP, chief alliance officer at Eli Lilly and Company; Steven Twait, CSAP, vice president, alliance and integration management at AstraZeneca. The three alliance professionals probed questions about the “Big Three” WWII alliance led by Winston Churchill,  Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin—and how history’s lessons learned relate to today’s strategic alliances.

 

When designed and executed well, alliances can resolve conflict, innovate solutions, win wars, and rejuvenate flagging companies. Collaboration can even streamline services in the public sector and define the  workplace cultures of successful 21st century companies like Jazz Pharmaceuticals. For my father’s generation and for ours, it still comes down to inspired leaders and engaged executives who grapple with change by fostering a culture of teamwork and collaboration— and embrace partners along their journey forward. My dad would recognize this approach as “an inevitable combination.” 

Tags:  Alliances  AstraZeneca  Collaboration  David Thompson  Eli Lilly and Company  Harm-Jan Borgeld  Innovation  Jazz Pharmaceuticals  Merck KGaA  Steve Twait 

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Leaders ‘in a Time of Rapid Growth and Change’: Finalists for Announced for 2019 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards

Posted By Noel B. Richards, Friday, February 15, 2019

Finalists Include Alcon Laboratories, Science Applications International Corporation, Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (subsidiary of Akebia Therapeutics), Thermo Fisher Scientific, Merck & Co., Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cambridge Assessment English, Novartis, Incyte, Sanofi Pasteur, and Red Hat 

ASAP will honor companies and organizations, practices, and programs that exemplify exceptional performance in alliance management during the ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards ceremony at the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, which runs March 11-13 at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This month, ASAP announced the companies that are 2019 Alliance Excellence Awards finalists: Alcon Laboratories, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (now a subsidiary of Akebia Therapeutics), Thermo Fisher Scientific, Merck & Co., Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cambridge Assessment English, Novartis, Incyte, Sanofi Pasteur, and Red Hat. See the official press release issued via PRWeb.

“This remarkable group of companies has demonstrated significant leadership in alliance management during a time of rapid growth and change for business—and for the partnering profession,” said Michael Leonetti, president & CEO of ASAP. “Our awards committee reviewed a number of outstanding nominees from diverse industries this year, and we’re pleased to recognize these exceptional partners and programs whose success stories and practices can serve as models for the alliance management community.”

Alcon Laboratories’ alliance program contains a complete set of fully documented best practices supported by information technology tools. With a small alliance group, they manage many partners through consistency applying these practices and tools.

 

Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) has developed an alliance program covers not only the “hard” alliance elements, but also pays attention to the “softer” rules of the game, resulting in substantial contribution to revenues as well as recognition from partners. Partner tiering is consistently worked out across the strategic, financial, and relational elements of business.

 

Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (now a subsidiary of Akebia Therapeutics) and Thermo Fisher Scientific collaborated to resolve supply constraints to ensure that patients were able to access Keryx’s proprietary drug through agility and excellent teamwork at all levels of operation.

 

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany–Bristol-Myers Squibb’s alliance has operated with financial transparency and consistent best practices since its formation in China in the 1990s, a time when the Chinese market was much less accessible.

 

Novartis–Incyte’s decade-long collaboration covers the co-marketing and co-development of an oncology drug in split geographical areas. The alliance has applied best practices across the alliance lifecycle, and led the way for a foundation for a broader alliance mindset in the respective organizations.


Merck & Co. and Sanofi Pasteur built a joint venture for a new drug utilizing a governance model inspired by small, nimble biotech companies to ensure speed and flexibility. The commercialization phase of the new drug so far is very successful.

 

Red Hat completely revamped an alliance training program for its alliance and channel managers, providing a clear learning path for everyone with several checkpoints and feedback options that support managers in their learning. The alliance program has leveraged e-learning and digitization, supported by well-designed management processes.

Cambridge Assessment English teamed up with Future Learn and Crisis Classroom to deliver an online training program for volunteers who help refugees meet refugee needs by focusing on language support. Volunteers (8,000 thus far have signed up) are able to exchange their experience in addition to accessing formal learning modules.

 

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany developed its Joint Committee Self-Assessment tool after alliance surveys showed that decision-making in the organization’s alliances were too slow. This easily implemented tool helps committees improve their decision making has become standard in the Merck alliance toolkit.

Read the complete press release on PRWeb at http://www.prweb.com/releases/finalists_for_announced_for_2019_asap_alliance_excellence_awards/prweb16099885.htm. Stay tuned for much more coverage of the 2019 finalists and the stories behind their successes on this blog and in Strategic Alliance Quarterly and Monthly magazines.

Tags:  Akebia  Alcon  alliance  ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards  best practices  Bristol-Myers Squibb  Cambridge Assessment English  governance  Incyte  Keryx Biopharmaceuticals  Merck & Co.  Merck KGaA  Novartis  Red Hat  Sanofi Pasteur  Science Applications International Corporation  Thermo Fisher Scientific  toolkit 

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How Merck and Pfizer Build Alignment and Navigate Complexity: A Transformative Alliance on a Journey of Oncological Discovery

Posted By Genevieve Fraser, Friday, September 21, 2018
Updated: Monday, September 17, 2018

There were some cultural differences to overcome when in 2014 pharmaceutical company Pfizer joined forces with biopharma company Merck, selling its sharing rights to develop an experimental immunotherapy drug to accelerate progress against some of the most difficult-to-treat cancers. The alliance paired an American behemoth, Pfizer, founded in 1849 in Brooklyn, New York, with Merck, a German-based multinational corporation, founded in 1668 (no typo).

 

 To drive alignment in their complex partnership, Pfizer and Merck utilize a “divide-and-conquer” approach, as explained by two of the companies’ alliance leaders during a session at the March 2018 ASAP Global Alliance Summit in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. Discussing their experiences “Navigating and Effectively Managing Complex Alliances between Large Biotech/Pharma Organizations,” Judy Baselice, Pfizer’s director alliance management, and Brian N. Stewart, CA-AM, director alliance management at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, described how the Merck-Pfizer partnership uses five main tools for keeping the alliance on the same page.

  • Divide and conquer – Six alliance managers with divide and conquer responsibilities with different alliance committees, working groups, and other activities.
  • Distribute monthly dashboards – Capture everything from development and commercial activities to changes in manufacturing, medical affairs, and a snapshot of competitors; distributed to everyone from senior leadership to project management, so everyone knows what’s going on.
  • Invest in coordination and jointly chair meetings – What are the issues and activities and what’s coming up next? Discuss what was agreed to coming out of the gate.
  • Use available technologies – Exchange information from a review of clinical development to the use of federated calendars (meaning you type in a name and availability shows up).
  • Refer to guidance included in the contract – these are your guidelines for final decisions.

The matrix of what the alliance looks like includes co-administrated studies, co-promotion and co-commercialization agreements, a dedicated alliance management team, reports and global marketing with the alliance general manager, as well as target goals for external partnering. Management tools include a SharePoint site, calendars with a pull-out archive section, and regional groups, all of which added to the complexity of the alliance. Of course, what they needed when they launched was to recruit patients, to get the study readouts, and to receive notifications when there were significant changes.

 

External alliances that were outside of the core alliance involved collaboration agreements. Each involved incremental complexity—three- to four-way agreements, extended research and collaboration agreements within the compound, as well as assets that the teams did due diligence on. There were also alliance and third-party signed agreements to move forward, along with standalone agreements not part of other overall agreements.

 

“These separate agreements add additional layers of complexity with each deal we do,” Baselice stated. “Not every one of these partnerships will look alike. We also declined opportunities and had to determine which molecules were not ready based on a need for additional data.”

 

“We co-funded funded fifty percent of each trial as well as each organization’s legal team review of IP clauses. It can take six to 12 months per project,” Stewart added. “Also, we needed to educate both companies on what to do and what’s at risk which involved the future of our alliance in some respects. Effectively managing the alliance matrix is a matter of life or death for some.”

 

“The important thing is to keep everyone updated,” Baselice said. “It was important to be consistent and to avoid confusion. We needed teams to feel there was no need to horde data. We stressed openness and transparency. We have nothing to hide and the goal is to move it forward, share info and foster the attitude that everyone is there for the project. Of course, there are some things Pfizer can do that Merck can’t and vice versa. For example, Merck can go into countries Pfizer can’t, like Iran.”

 

Read more about the Merck-Pfizer partnership and insights into how the two companies’ partnering leaders manage their complex alliance in the August 2018 issue of eSAM Plus.  

Tags:  agreements  alliance  Brian N. Stewart  co-commercialization agreements  collaboration agreements  Complex Alliances  dashboards  due dillegence  External alliances  Judy Baselice  Large Biotech/Pharma Organizations  Merck KGaA  Pfizer  third-party signed agreements 

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