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The Rugged Biopharma/Tech Topography: What Alliance Managers Need to Know (Part 1)

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Business partnering today requires know-how to negotiate nontraditional collaborations for purposes that are different from those of classical business development and licensing (BD&L) alliances. The partnering landscape for biopharma firms is evolving to include a variety of these new kinds of collaborations, according to the session “Non-traditional Partnerships:  The Changing BioPharma Alliance Landscape and the Implications for the Alliance Professional and Alliance Management Community,” led by Stuart Kliman, CA-AM, and Ben Siddall, both of whom are partners at Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Vantage Partners. The two took to the floor at the 2018 ASAP BioPharma Conference to provide key insights on the value and challenges these partnerships bring, especially in the area of biopharma/tech collaborations, which are resulting in very different business models. I had the opportunity to talk with Stu Kliman before the session. Here are some of the insights he provided on this hot topic.

ASAP Media: What is the impetus for your session?

Stuart Kliman: This session is about this ongoing theme of new types of collaborations happening in the healthcare ecosystem. It’s really all about how biopharma and tech are doing more and more together—so new and different kinds of relationships. Those relationships have different purposes. They might differentiate the value proposition of a product or a drug or support outcomes-based deals within the healthcare system. Or they might provide real world evidence and value-based pricing models. This session is about some of the differences between pharma and tech and the different kinds of challenges that organizations need to deal with. About the upstream, how do you start to think about creating these kinds of relationships and the key success factors for doing so? This also raises the question about if and how classic business development and licensing-type alliance groups need to evolve to deal with the changed environment.

We can see from the lineup at this year’s ASAP BioPharma Conference that the biopharma/tech partnering relationship is a very hot topic. How pervasive is the interest on the tech side?

Every tech company that’s out there is trying to figure out how to get into healthcare. It’s this world of FitBit. It’s this whole world of software, hardware, and device companies exploring the healthcare world.

This session is an extension of some of the topics you’ve been discussing and advising on for some time.  What’s different in this session?

There is a lot of focus on understanding the healthcare landscape, defining the problems that the healthcare landscape is creating.  For example, there might be things related to better data, trial efficiency, or the context of a specific therapy, or the need to track value. The first thing you need to do is make sure you have thought through what the different problems are, what capabilities you need to partner with, consider different kinds of players that are out there, and be thinking about the right kind of business model to work with them, and how to design overall relationship around that shared vision.  We will spend more time talking about this notion of problem definition and think through tentative problem types. Does that lead to something that feels like an innovative alliance relationship or a more traditional one?

Stay tuned for more of the ASAP Media team’s coverage of this and other sessions at the 2018 ASAP BioPharma Conference. 

Tags:  alliance  Ben Siddall  healthcare landscape  licensing-type alliance groups  partnering  pharma  Stu Kliman  tech  Vantage Partners 

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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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Summit Panel Discusses ‘Herding Your Lawyers’—How to Turn Attorneys into Collaborators Using New Tools and Tricks of the Trade

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, March 27, 2018

At the 2018 Global Alliance Summit, attorney Bill Kleinman, a partner at Haynes & Boone, LLP, leads an intriguingly titled panel discussion on “Herding Your Lawyers: Turning Negotiators into Collaborators.” Law schools prepare lawyers as zero-sum negotiatorsnot collaborators, Kleinman asserts. But when alliance professionals can turn their attorneys into collaborators, it benefits their partnerships. Kleinman’s panel includes two seasoned alliance managers to help him demonstrate approaches, techniques, and tools for negotiating collaboration: Nancy Breiman, CSAP, director, global alliances at IBM, and Bernie Hannon, CSAP, strategic alliance director, Citrix.  The panel plans to use interactive tools for negotiating a strategic alliance to prepare for a mock negotiation between a municipal lighting supplier and an artificial intelligence company for smart cities lighting. For the March 2018 edition of eSAM Plus and for this blog post, I had the pleasure of interviewing all three session leaders about their insightful session before the 2018 Summit, whose theme is “Propelling Partnering for the On-Demand World: New Perspectives + Prov­en Practices for Collaborative Business” and will be held March 26-28 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. The following article continues the conversation that begins in eSAM Plus.   

How can these techniques and tools be applied in multi-party collaborations?

Bill Kleinman: I’ve set up the tools for a two-party alliance, but I have used them in multi-party alliances. I have used them in five- and six-party alliances.

Nancy Breiman: Using these tools, even if it’s only with two parties, has incredible value. But I have tried to work in partnerships where there are multiple parties involved, and no one has figured that out yet. It’s very challenging on multiple fronts. Where I’d like to test the waters on this is with IBM’s blockchain ecosystem strategy. With blockchain technology, you have to have multiple parties in the ecosystem. It’s the nature of the beast.

Kleinman: Multiple parties are exponentially harder. But one of the tools we look at, which we call alliance swim lanes, permits as many partner lanes as we want.

Breiman: But then you will have five sets of KPIs, five sets of IPs, etcetera, to deal with.

Kleinman: It’s definitely a multiplier.

Hannon: The more complexity, the more need for structure. What Bill is proposing here for a two-party agreement is all the more critical when it involves multiple parties. It speaks to the need to come up with something that is structured and allows for the same discovery and results when multiple parties are involved. That is so much harder to achieve without tools. I wouldn’t even attempt to do a multi-party collaboration without tools like this.

What are some of the other collaboration challenges this session will address?

Breiman: There is no way to separate the legal construct and thinking from the alliance construct. A good alliance manager will have both party’s needs top-of-mind. You need to represent your own company while being sensitive to the needs of other partners. The legal team needs to be part of the team up front and part of the collaboration process. I don’t think they are separated.

Hannon: If you can avoid some of the trial-and-error aspect of the maturation process, you are going to be in a better position to produce better partnerships sooner.

Breiman: Bernie and I together have a lot of years of alliance management under our belts. For new people, its hard to bring them into the business because its one of those roles where maturity, seniority, and experience are needed. New alliance managers without a lot of world experience can avoid a lot of the pitfalls using these tools.

How do you apply these techniques and tools in your alliance management positions?

Kleinman: I’ve probably been using these tools over the last 10 years, and they have developed over time. They are based on things that I have come up with and read about in literature.

Hannon: I am just learning about this process in this engagement with Bill and Nancy. I have a very forward-looking view of this. A lot of the negotiations I’ve been involved with until now were done the old-fashioned way. Things have changed enough in these industries that we need to find new outcomes. Partnerships tend to be more enduring when founded on objectives and outcomes that are perhaps more mutually desirable than in the past.

The views represented by Nancy Breiman and Bernie Hannon are their own and do not necessarily reflect their company’s perspectives. For more information on this and other Summit sessions, go to http://asapsummit.org/.

Tags:  alliance  alliance professionals  Bernie Hannon  Bill Kleinman  Citrix  Collaborators  Haynes & Boone  IBM  Lawyers  Nancy Breiman  Negotiators  partnerships  techniques  tools 

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ASAP Announces 2018 Alliance Excellence Awards Finalists—and the List Is Worth a View

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, January 29, 2018

ASAP officially announced (see http://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/01/prweb15131526.htm) this year’s finalists for the annual ASAP Global Alliance Excellence Awards, and the contributions of companies on the list are substantial—from unusual alliance key performance indicators (KPIs), to programs for crisis management, to collaborations to create social good, to consolidation of alliance data that provides visibility across the organization. The list goes on and on.

Nine candidates will vie for awards in four different categories: Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibility; Alliance Program Excellence; Individual Alliance Excellence; Innovative Best Alliance Practice. Winners will be announced March 27 during an end-of-day awards ceremony at the 2018 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Propelling Partnering for the On-Demand World: New Perspectives + Proven Practices for Collaborative Business,” to be held March 26-28 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.

The 2018 awards finalists that were singled out for their exceptional leadership and contributions are:

Amgen for a biopharma alliance program recognized for being founded on the three pillars of building a strong foundation with clear roles and alignment of strategic objectives and value drivers through a partnership; ensuring best practice execution on every alliance through an alliance kickoff and playbook; optimizing oversight of Amgen’s alliance portfolio.

Cisco-Dimension Data for their 25-year celebration of alliance success, a milestone that prompted them to kick off 25 projects focused on creating social good, ultimately resulting in a record year for the partnership.

Dassault Systèmes for putting together an effective social video marketing campaign to build awareness and spark interest among customers. The extent to which Dassault has embedded social video marketing into its partner program and scaled it across its technology alliance community is unusual, innovative, and engaging.

JDA for re-architecting its partner program in response to new market opportunities and a shift in customer demand for solutions in the cloud. The Partner Advantage Program launched in April 2017, employing many best practices of modern partner ecosystems.

Medimmune for an alliance information management system and dashboard reporting tools that enable widespread visibility of alliance performance in near-real time, including consolidation of alliance data that provides visibility across the organization.

Merck KGaA for collecting and managing some unusual alliance KPIs for value creation, risk mitigation, and problem solving, resulting in multiple improvements on several levels.

MSD–Julphar for forming the DUNES alliance to serve seven therapeutic areas for six countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, a problematic area of the world for business development. Through the introduction of alliance management tools, processes, and training, the companies created sustainable businesses.

Pierre Fabre for successfully deploying SharePoint Alliance Management, which unifies how alliances are managed by providing common alliance management tools to more than 400 people; implementing tools that can be shared with partners; facilitating onboarding of new team members.

Shire for introducing a new best practice for partner crisis management, a unique approach for managing stakeholders through a crisis situation. Originally developed to help navigate a merger, it has since been tested and validated across several crisis situations.

2018 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards finalists will be honored—and the winners announced—at the 2018 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Propelling Partnering for the On-Demand World: New Perspectives + Proven Practices for Collaborative Business,” to be held March 26-28 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. Learn more and register to attend at http://asapsummit.org/.  Read ASAP’s January 25, 2018 official announcement at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/01/prweb15131526.htm

Tags:  2018 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards Finalists  alliance  alliance data  best practices  Cisco-Dimension Data  collaborations  crisis management  Dassault Systèmes  JDA  Medimmune  Merck KGaA  MSD–Julphar  Pierre Fabre  SharePoint Alliance Management  Shire  social good 

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‘Collaboration Is Not a Natural Phenomenon’: Mapping a TE-AM Road to Successful Alliances, Part Two

Posted By Genevieve Fraser, Thursday, September 14, 2017

“Study after study has shown that collaboration is not a natural phenomenon. It’s more normal to be competitive or to work within your team (tribe),” according to Lynda McDermott, (CA-AM), president of EquiPro International, Ltd., an international management consulting firm which specializes in leadership, team and business development for the Fortune 500, midsized companies, and professional services firms. McDermott made this assertion during her pre-conference workshop, “Next Gen Alliance Management: Moving your Organization to Ecosystem Performance Excellence,” one of the sessions on opening day of the 2017 ASAP BioPharma Conference, “Accelerating Life Science Collaboration: Better Partnering, Better Outcomes,” held September 13-15 in Cambridge, Mass. USA. (See Part One of ASAP Media’s two-part blog coverage of the workshop, a highly abbreviated version of the customized all-day ASAP TE-AM Training course McDermott offers to alliance professionals.)

 

The purpose of the all-day workshop McDermott teaches is to make alliances future proof. Based on exhaustive research, the ASAP TE-AM Training is designed to help put that structure in place so that teams that undergo the training can become a preferred alliance partner. The question is, how do we get from a non-collaborative group to one that effectively functions as a team and actively collaborates with partners?

 

McDermott took a head count of how many attendees considered themselves to be alliance professionals, regardless of their title. Most in the room raised their hand, except for one man who is involved in creating a start-up. She then asked, as alliance professionals, what skills or knowledge do they need? The responses ranged from the ability to communicate, having an awareness of resources, and seeing the overall picture, to understanding their roles and learning “what can be shared and what can’t, and when to share.”  

 

Even if people are not in an official role, they need to be on board with creating and sustaining an alliance, McDermott asserted. They need to know what the best practices are as well as which skills are needed.  But even after acquiring the needed skills, rarely might individuals be truthfully assessed as being part of a partnership, even an informal one. Partners need to do more than exchange business cards and talk on the phone periodically. For many, despite their training, nothing further happens because their training was geared toward individuals and a development of their unique skills. It is not targeted to acquiring group skills with a team that can then move on to build an effective alliance.

To address this oversight, ASAP applied mapping to figure out which techniques might work and which might not.  The result was an approach to creating better alliance teams—an approach intended to be customized to individual organizations.

 

The mapping involves the creation of three benchmark assessments with corresponding questions. The questions are grouped around a Framework assessment, Team Dynamics assessment and a Lean and Agile assessment. Based on responses to the questions, teams can assess what works and where they were most weak. Following the assessments, a road map can be based on areas that need the most development. This roadmap is a work plan that requires team action—which requires achieving a buy-in specific to that team.

“It’s important to get them on the same page,” McDermott explained. “The point is to teach people collaborate skills that involve skill-building exercises and debriefings. Sometimes, these assessments need to be refreshed every six months or so to keep the team on track,” she added.

 

“It’s also important to build a network that respects differences. There will always be cultural differences. The dynamic of adversarial conflict vs. building trust is always present. If a team isn’t having conflict, they will not be able to effectively organize,” she cautioned. (Be sure to read the Q3 2017 Strategic Alliance Magazine’s in-depth coverage of the topic of conflict management—which includes insights from McDermott and other experts on how to use creative conflict to advantage.) “Ask, how can we work together? The degree to which this can be accomplished improves the efficiency of an alliance, despite conflict. Truthfully, there will always be conflict, but you learn to manage it.”

 

Additional words of advice McDermott offered include:

  • Never believe that people naturally behave collaboratively.
  • Remember, you are not a therapist but a facilitator.
  • You must talk at deep level when something’s not right—for instance, there may be power issues, gender issues, etc.

Finally, McDermott noted, the TE-AM workshop is fast. It helps to focus on the strategic side of alliance management. It provides a process to uncover the gaps. “It allows the group to discover the group,” she said.

Tags:  alliance  alliance manager  Framework assessment  Lean and Agile  Lynda McDermott  partner  Strategic Alliance Magazine  Team Dynamics assessment  TE-AM Training  training 

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