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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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The Final Handshake: What’s an Alliance Manager To Do When the Time to Terminate Comes?

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, October 8, 2015

Best practices can be just as important in the final stretches of a partnership as they are when development and trials are proceeding apace or the revenue stream is peaking. How to gracefully negotiate that last stretch before the parting handshake was the focus of “The Graceful Exit: Preserving Value and Relationship at the End of the Lifecycle” presented at the 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference on Sept. 10 by Diana L. Brassard, CA-AM, of external partnerships at Basalta US Inc., Mark Coflin, CSAP, senior director of alliance management global business development & licensing, bioscience, at Baxalta US Inc., and Julia Gershkovich, head of US R&D alliance management at Sanofi.

 

Good preparation for terminations preserves companies’ reputations and secures future opportunities. “Preparation is critical,” said Gershkovich. “If a partner decided to terminate, the project team may not be already there. When you get to the termination point, all internal stakeholders need to be aware and agree on this point. There needs to be respect toward the partner and transparencya lot of times we are dealing with smaller companies, and it means a lot to them.”

 

“One termination that comes to mind was with a Japanese company that was well-prepared and respectful,” recalled Coflin. “We thought about how we were going to communicate with them and how to deliver the message, including whether we should be meeting with them face-to-face. It needs to be done in mutually respectful way, because there might be future business.”

 

The termination process often is very long and termination activity can take two years, observed Brassard. “There is a need internally to lock in and assure that you have resources, budgets assigned, and clarity with respect to senior leadership and with respect to obligations.”

 

Go through very defined, structured procedures, followed by putting together a table for when the transactions would go throughbefore the termination is completed, she added. “This is all very important for business development and legal procedures, and eventually for resource allocations to maintain the core team.”

 

When is it appropriate to wear more of a project management hat as an alliance manager during the termination process? “There were one or two projects where I played both roles,” said Brassard. “When things started getting more negative, and the data coming in was negative, there was a decision that the alliance manager was going to take more of a key role. The alliance management best practices were not complimentary to each other, so it was very helpful to have project management tools. A lot of what I was trying to do was maintain a respectful relationship.”

 

“I was fortunate in most of my cases,” added Gershkovich. “I had project managers working with me, and they were great. We had to deliver the messages, and in one case it was clear that it was mutually understandable because the data didn’t work out. But in another case, we had to go to district resolution to stop the program, and we were still able to continue the relationship and preserve the value.”

 

A smattering from their list of dos and don’ts:  

  • Let partners know as soon as possible.
  • Map out a communication plan.
  • Meet regularly.
  • Get together with legal stakeholders, and go through the legal provisions of the contract.
  • Be aware of cultural differences, sensitivities, and time zones.
  • Negotiate in a way where value is preserved; present it in a way that they can take it right away.
  • Intellectual property is importantbe prepared that all checkpoints are done.
  • Prior to a termination notice, communicate with your partnerthe process is so much easier with good communication if the program doesn’t work out.
  • Include public and investor announcements, but if a company may go bankrupt and/or the product may be taken out of the pipeline, minimize the announcement.
  • Craft the termination carefully, and keep in mind there may be ongoing studies.
  • Don’t assume your partner is going to be as organized and experienced as you are.
  • Don’t assume they have plans for receiving the asset that you have made.

Tags:  2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference  alliance management  Basalta US Inc.  Baxalta US Inc.  Best practices  communicate  Diana L. Brassard  Julia Gershkovich  Mark Coflin  partner  partnership  project management  Sanofi  stakeholders  terminations  transparency 

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ASAP Announces Finalists for 2015 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Thursday, February 26, 2015

This week ASAP announced the finalists for the ASAP 2015 Alliance Excellence Awards to be presented on Tuesday, March 3, at the 2015 ASAP Global Alliance Summit at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Florida.

 

This year, awards will be presented in the categories of Individual Alliance Excellence, Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibility, Innovative Best Alliance Practice, and Alliance Program Excellence. Finalist companies and organizations include Medifast and Medix, National Grid and Earth Networks, Sanofi and ImmunoGen, The Dow Chemical Company and The Nature Conservancy, Novartis and Malaria No More, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, Philips, Bayer HealthCare, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

 

“These prestigious awards honor exemplary business collaborations that create innovative organizational models and celebrate achievements in strategic alliance management,” said Michael Leonetti, president and CEO of ASAP, in this week’s ASAP press release. “They applaud progressive leadership and exceptional company-wide performance in major corporations, mid-sized enterprises, start-ups, and public-private initiatives across a diverse array of industries. Collaboration is often a winning strategy in business, and the performance of these partnering finalists proves it’s a valuable strategy for boosting profits and customer satisfaction, increasing new market segment penetration, and having a positive social impact.”

 

Award finalists in each category are selected by the ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards Committee led by committee chair, Annlouise Goodermuth, CSAP, director, alliance management, strategy, science policy and external innovation at Sanofi. Past winners and this year’s finalists all share three key achievements:

 

  • Creativity and out-of-the-box thinking that has evolved the art and science of alliance management
  • Compelling and measurable results
  • General persistence in overcoming obstacles

 

Read the full announcement on PR Web newswire for more details on the finalists and their achievements. And be sure to return to this blog next week for the announcement of the winners!  

Tags:  2015 Alliance Excellence Awards  2015 ASAP Global Alliance Summit  Bayer HealthCare  Earth Networks  ImmunoGen  Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & John  Malaria No More  Medifast  Medix  National Grid  Novartis  Philips  Sanofi  Takeda Pharmaceuticals  The Dow Chemical Company  The Nature Conservancy 

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John Maraganore: Alnylam’s Alliance with Genzyme ‘Transformed Our Balance Sheet, Giving Us Financial Independence’

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Monday, September 15, 2014

Alliance executives often struggle with measuring the value delivered by alliances and the alliance management function. Alnylam CEO John Maraganore has no such difficulty. His company is a pioneer in the development of RNA interference (RNAi) therapies. Amidst great fanfare preceding the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, in January of this year Alnylam signed a far-reaching partnership deal with Sanofi-owned Genzyme. In his lively and richly detailed keynote address at the 2014 ASAP BioPharma Conference in Boston USA on Thursday, Sept. 4, Maraganore clearly articulated this alliance’s growth and financial implications for Alnylam business.

 

“This provided a major capital infusion as well as expense sharing going-forward,” he explained in a talk entitled “Alnylam-Genzyme: Breakthrough Therapy Made Possible by Breakthrough Partnership. “Our deal with Genzyme took our balance sheet from $325 million to over $1 billion. It transformed our balance sheet, giving us financial independence all the way to becoming profitable.”

 

Yet this financial payoff still isn’t what Maraganore considers the most significant value of this alliance. “More than the money, we were convinced that working with Genzyme would increase the pie,” he said. “Without this deal, we probably would have been more stepwise in building our pipelines.”

 

RNAi therapeutics, Maraganore explained to a rapt audience of biopharma industry alliance executives, are a new class of innovative medicines based on a clinically validated platform that harnesses natural pathways for therapeutic gene silencing. “Hundreds of diseases can be knocked down with our strategy—the ‘Alnylam 5x15 Strategy’—which provides a reproducible and modular path for genetic medicines.”

 

Maraganore’s talk began with an overview of the science that brought Genzyme and Alnylam together.

 

“What we do, and why it’s so potentially powerful, is we change nothing but the sequencing of the drug to make it attack a different gene. In part one of our development, we’ve figured out the targeting of liver-expressed genes. You know with almost complete certainty that you will impact by targeting that gene,” he explained. “The second part of our strategy helps to stack the odds in our favor. If we can learn in Phase One trials that our drug is working, and if we can learn in that study how we get to the right dose regimen, we get through another critical unknown. A lot of drugs fail in Phase Three because you don’t get to the right dose.”

 

Maraganore frankly acknowledged that the final part of Alnylam’s strategy—getting through regulatory approval and on the market—“has no free lunch.” However, the company’s product strategy has allowed it to reduce the scope and cost of Phase Three trials.

 

“We really focused on areas with a definable path to approval and market … where our Phase Three program would be comprised of hundreds of patients as compared to thousands or tens of thousands of patients. We’re a small company, so our strategy has led us into the rare disease space,” he explained, emphasizing that Alnylam has taken a “collaborative approach with patients, payers, and regulators.”

 

Even just with an initial focus on the liver, Alnylam has no shortage of diseases to target—“almost everything in genetic disease space,” Maraganore said. Current examples include:

 

  • Transthyretin-Mediated Amyloidosis (ATTR). “This is an unmet need and product opportunity. It presents middle of life and can result in liver or heart failure ultimately. There are 50,000 victims worldwide.”
  • Hemophilia. “Why would knockdown strategy work if caused by a genetic lack? By knocking down anticoagulants,” Maraganore said. “It’s a $9 billion market with high unmet need.”
  • Porphyria, an ultra-rare orphan disease.  

In ASAP Media’s next blog post on Maraganore’s speech, we will delve into the Alnylam CEO’s fascinating review of his company’s groundbreaking partnership with Genzyme—what he described as “a transformational alliance to expand and accelerate global product value.”

Tags:  •Transthyretin-Mediated Amyloidosis (ATTR)  2014 ASAP BioPharma Conference  Alnylam  Genzyme  Hemophilia  John Maraganore  Porphyria  Sanofi 

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