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How Contract White Space Becomes the Gray Area of a Deal (Part Three)

Posted By Genevieve Fraser, Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Updated: Saturday, October 28, 2017

Panelists were discussing the very different worlds of deal making vs. alliance management when ASAP Media left off in Part Two of our coverage of “Reading Between the Lines: Living in Contract White Space” explored the “gray area” between contract signing and actual implementation on day two of the 2017 ASAP BioPharma Conference September 13-15 in Cambridge, Mass. USA. The presenters were Christine Carberry, CSAP, chief operating officer at Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Andy Eibling, CSAP, vice president of alliance management at Covance, the drug development business of LabCorp, and Brian O'Shaughnessy, a partner at Dinsmore & Shohl and president and chair of the board of LES, the Licensing Executives Society (USA and Canada), which focuses on licensing and commercial transactions involving intellectual property (IP) rights. Now the panel is discussing the handoff from deal to alliance management implementation of the partnership.

 

How does effective handoff happen?

  •  Knowledge transfer.
  •  Art meets science.
  •  The deal leader needs to have significant EI, emotional intelligence.
  •  Sometimes working through difficulty can be bonding.
  •  You don’t want everybody involved in every step, but you need an effective handoff. Bring in the alliance early on and as things wrap up, so the knowledge transfer occurs. Make a note of potential problem areas.

O'Shaughnessy: “There are problems with getting a person to read the contract. He tells me ‘he trusts me,’ but this is HIS business. He needs to bear down and read the terms. Too often a client signs off on details but has never read the contract. That’s when you need to document the visits and confirm the statements he made. Granted, this is difficult to do diplomatically. Frankly, if the boss isn’t going to read the contract, the boss isn’t going to read the contract.”

 

Carberry: “The executive sponsor, whoever that person is, needs to take ownership of it. What will this mean in a year’s portfolio? Is this a big deal or small? If this is a primary revenue driver, you will pay greater attention.”

 

“In terms of anticipating problems, a lot has to do with how you get started. Building a relationship in the beginning is helpful when things get contentious. Everyone should state what they consider to be successful and what concerns them, so everyone has an understanding. Whatever the ‘noise is in your head,’ get it out on the table. Think about having everyone come up with an evaluation of the project, then share it. In the end, the value may be the same, but they used totally different assumptions to get there. Also, set up an easy achievement to drive momentum.”

 

“Remember, people who created the deal are not the ones who implement it. It’s important to reset it with the people involved with the process. You need to get the teams together to discuss process and reinterpret the contract based on what each believes is the deal.”

 

O'Shaughnessy: “The third phase is when the respective implementers and deal makers get together to see if there are fundamental differences. Deal maker drafters will hear the implementers out. Feedback is critical. Don’t drag the last contract out as a basis to begin; instead, examine hot buttons. Sometimes you discover ‘the last time we did this we got burned,’ so seek to avoid it again.”

 

Takeaways:

  •  Success means: parties up-front agree on a set of values.
  • Nothing was agreed to ‘til everything was agreed.
  • Look at everything in development, then made sure it sticks—is held together.
  •  Put details into a ledger.
  •  Teams work through areas as they come up and acknowledge that processes happen within companies so they can move on with negotiated details working in parallel.
  •  Autonomy is a good thing. If lawyers create a massive structure, the results may be too bureaucratic. Flexibility is needed to reflect variables that crop up.

How can we apply previous experiences to future deal negotiations?

According to the audience, there’s a need for “common learning,” sharing it back. You need to discuss what could have been done differently and, in the end, retain some collective understanding, such as capturing what is of value and problem areas.

Tags:  ”First patient  alliance management  alliances  Andy Eibling  Brian O'Shaughnessy  change agent  Christine Carberry  compromise  contract  Covance  Dinsmore & Shohl  due diligence  emotional intelligence  first visit”  governance  Implementation  Keryx Biopharmaceuticals  Licensing Executives Society 

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How Contract White Space Becomes the Gray Area of a Deal (Part Two)

Posted By Genevieve Fraser, Monday, October 30, 2017
Updated: Saturday, October 28, 2017

This picks up where ASAP Media left off in Part One of our coverage of “Reading Between the Lines: Living in Contract White Space” explored the “gray area” between contract signing and actual implementation on day two of the 2017 ASAP BioPharma Conference September 13-15 in Cambridge, Mass. USA. The presenters were Christine Carberry, CSAP, chief operating officer at Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Andy Eibling, CSAP, vice president of alliance management at Covance, the drug development business of LabCorp, and Brian O'Shaughnessy, a partner at Dinsmore & Shohl and president and chair of the board of LES, the Licensing Executives Society (USA and Canada), which focuses on licensing and commercial transactions involving intellectual property (IP) rights.

All presenters agreed that in general no one talks about when things go wrong. People focus on success. But change agents happen. People need to think more about likely situations that arise, about what can change. According to Carberry, biopharma negotiations offer special problems when teams spend 80 percent on work related issues and 20 percent on the exit. The exit can be what’s tricky.

“How should you run an alliance?” Eibling asked, shifting the focus of the discussion. “There’s a boilerplate we’d like to follow vs. figuring out what happens when everything blows up. Think of audit provisions; once you pull the trigger, everyone shifts into distrust mode.”

He reminded them that governments impose transparency and accounting, a carefully defined system of disclosures so the process is established. But it’s your responsibility to address issues early on, before they become an issue. 

“Trust is everything in an alliance. Trust is key,” Eibling stated. “Some think controls run in the face of trust, but it’s the opposite. The process helps establish trust building. If you have trust, you can more easily get to benchmarks. My motto is ‘no deal without a meal.’ Sit down over lunch with your counterpart to build trust.”

 

Shifting focus once again, Eibling questioned what’s missing from agreements. “External communications need to be on-going. ‘What’s material and what’s missing’ is what’s needed when everything blows up. The question is, what can be done during the deal making process to improve success?”

O'Shaughnessy: “Licensing is a full contact sport and needs the full team—lawyers, tax experts, scientists, business folks. Speaking from a LES prospective, they don’t appreciate the growing field of alliance management, so there’s not an effort to bring alliance into the deal process. They need to understand that an alliance team can analyze the details to see problem areas.”

“I had no idea what went on after the deal was signed.”

“Too often, LES views alliance management as a hindrance, as the folks who throw up roadblocks. Alliance management needs to stay in the background and define simple defining principles: This is how we work—from cultural differences to operating principles. When in the grey space, the alliance team will make it work, will look to principles to get through the grey area.”

Eibling: The alliance will shepherd the process, but the alliance needs to remain in the background and let others negotiate. The alliance folks tell them to finish the deal and then we’ll focus on governance, commitments etc. Meanwhile, they need to remain vigilant to see what was contentious, to remain alert to problem areas.

This interaction continues in Part Three of ASAP Media’s coverage of the 2017 ASAP BioPharma Conference session, Reading between the Lines: Living in Contract White Space.”

Tags:  ”First patient  alliance management  alliances  Andy Eibling  Brian O'Shaughnessy  change agent  Christine Carberry  compromise  contract  Covance  Dinsmore & Shohl  due diligence  first visit”  governance  Implementation  Keryx Biopharmaceuticals  Licensing Executives Society 

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How Contract White Space Becomes the Gray Area of a Deal (Part One)

Posted By Genevieve Fraser, Friday, October 27, 2017
Updated: Thursday, October 26, 2017

There’s a place—a twilight zone— that exists between the high “expectations of a deal well struck and the hard reality of implementation. “Reading Between the Lines: Living in Contract White Space” explored that “gray area” on day two of the 2017 ASAP BioPharma Conference September 13-15 in Cambridge, Mass. USA. The presenters were Christine Carberry, CSAP, chief operating officer at Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Andy Eibling, CSAP, vice president of alliance management at Covance, the drug development business of LabCorp, and Brian O'Shaughnessy, a partner at Dinsmore & Shohl and president and chair of the board of LES, the Licensing Executives Society (USA and Canada), which focuses on licensing and commercial transactions involving intellectual property (IP) rights.

O'Shaughnessy cut right to the chase. “Typically, the problem is that people negotiating the deal are talking the same lingo. You need to look at common deal terms that cause collaborations to falter. Too often short shrift is given to definitions, to defining terms. Spelling out definitions doesn’t seem important because you and the others know what you mean. But contracts need to be written so non-experts understand. Spend time writing definitions in plain, simple terms. For example, technology patent and patent applications are two different things.”

 

“Three months from the signing of the contract, you will not be living in the world you had envisioned,” Christine Carberry added. “When you are caught up in the excitement of creating the deal, it’s natural to avoid looking at inherent risks. The likelihood is that X drug may not move to blockbuster status. Then, how do you navigate? How do you avoid having the reality of the situation, the reality you must deal with, keep from pulling people apart?”

 

“There areas often missing that are not even gray space—with nothing there to give guidance,” Andy Eibling began, throwing it out to the audience. “Name some areas in a contract that cause issues. What are your pet peeves?” Responses included:

  • Milestones based on study initiation (When does a study really start?)
  • “First patient, first visit” doesn’t mean what most thinks it means.
  • Every single compromise is going to come back—because the people who work on the contract were not part of the compromise.
  • Implementation time is not realistic. The contract states six months, but WE KNOW it takes nine months.
  • There are definitions within definitions. Check to see if the contract is still in alignment.
  • Due diligence—Best efforts—Clear process is needed for dispute resolution. The idea that you will just specify “arbitration” doesn’t cut it. You need to set up a process.

 Carberry rattled off a few scenarios: You couldn’t come to agreement, so you punted. Even worse, you know going into a contract, tension exists, so you opt not to deal with it. And, it’s contentious because you know it’s likely to happen!

 

“You can come up with complicated solutions that sound great—but how to execute it is the issue. It’s important that alliance people are brought in early to assist with ironing out conflicts,” she emphasized.

 

Let LES, the Licensing Executives Society draft the front end and the company draft how it will work, O'Shaughnessy suggested. “How do we prevent this and that from becoming a problem—such as scheduling meetings? And there’s always a risk of shifting provisions. Business people like to say, ‘that’s all legal stuff. Let the lawyers figure it out.’ But what they figure out might not align with the business model. If I absorb more risk, I need more attention.”

Tags:  ”First patient  alliance management  alliances  Andy Eibling  Brian O'Shaughnessy  Christine Carberry  compromise  contract  Covance  Dinsmore & Shohl  due diligence  first visit”  Implementation  Keryx Biopharmaceuticals  Licensing Executives Society 

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Mapping a TE-AM Road to Successful Alliances

Posted By Lynda McDermott, CA-AM and founder of EquiPro International, Ltd., Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Next Gen Alliance Management TE-AM workshop which recently took place at the 2017 ASAP BioPharma Conference, delivered an initial message, through a business exercise, that “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).”  Therefore, when you work in an alliance management role it is essential that you facilitate and advocate for an organization-wide alignment of all people who support alliances and partnerships.  If you cannot create a collaborative corporate culture across your own organizational functions how can you expect to create successful alliances with your partners?

 

Every person who works on an alliance, beyond those who are ‘officially’ in the alliance management function, need to understand their organization’s alliance strategy and values, engage in developing alliance team skills and share lean and agile alliance common practices and processes.  And as an organization’s alliance investment strategy becomes more complex with multi-partners, and the number of alliance relationships increases it is essential that there is a common understanding and set of best practices across the organization in three critical areas: strategic framework; team dynamics; and lean and agile processes. Each of these areas have benchmark assessments that can be used to identify the largest gaps keeping your organization from becoming a Preferred Alliance Partner. For example, workshop participants were asked to identify their organization’s alliance best practice: “We assess alliance performance and develop action plans to improve success”.  The lowest ranked item on average was: “We are fully committed to being a preferred collaborative/alliance partner.” These assessments provide a roadmap for improving cross-functional alliance team performance across the organization.

 

The pre-conference workshop provided an overview for a new ASAP offering called TE-AM Training, which is a one-day in-house workshop customized designed for alliance managers and alliance extended team members in an organization to help them answer the question:  how do we move from a loosely-collaborative group to one that effectively functions as a community of alliance practitioners that are aligned to actively collaborates with our partners?

 

Check out these related blogs that appeared on the ASAP Blog:

 

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

 

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

 

If you would like to talk about how EquiPro International can help you identify the results you want to improve in your alliance organization’s development and alliance team skills contact Lynda McDermott at  lmcdermott@equiproint.com

Tags:  alliance team  Alliances  ASAP TE-AM Training Workshop  Collaboration  EquiPro International  lean and agile processes  Lynda McDermott  preferred alliance partner  strategic framework  team dynamics 

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How to Make Your Alliance Stories Newsworthy (Except When You Don’t Want Them to Be!)—Part Three

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Updated: Saturday, September 30, 2017

In a lively presentation punctuated by pithy quotes, interesting cases, and vivid stories underscoring the “dos” and “don’ts” of alliance public relations, Lori McLaughlin, corporate communications director at Anthem, and ASAP Chairman Brooke Paige, CSAP, staff vice president, strategic initiatives, and chief of staff, HealthCore, explored the topic in their Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 ASAP BioPharma Conference session, “Why Keep the Good News to Yourself? Internal Partnerships for External Promotion: How to Work with Your PR/Communications Lead.” ASAP Media’s coverage of the session concludes below in Part Three of this three-part blog series.

 

Elaborating on recommended practices for sustaining stories, Paige noted that HealthCore maintains an editorial content calendar tracking key events, key milestones in collaborations (and whether they are newsworthy internally or externally), major publications or presentations, and significant accomplishments. “Not only does this become a huge part of our potential press, items on our website, LinkedIn and Twitter, but the story could make our company newsletter, our Anthem intranet, it could become talking points for senior executives in a variety of settings, and so on. So these elements are very much reused and the story is extended,” she explained.

 

“No presentation about PR would be complete without the ‘know your role in the event of a crisis’ topic,” Paige continued. “We say we need to err on the side of transparency. When a potential threat becomes known, advise your alliance partner around the possible impact.” The presenters then cited a real-life case of a reporter who believed that a partnership created a conflict of interest—and was sniffing around for proof of his allegations after discovering an old press release announcing the partnership. “We contacted the partner, said here’s the essence of allegation, the reporter is claiming some sort of conflict of interest, then we told the partner the facts and why we didn’t think there was a conflict,” Paige explained. “The partner prepped their leaders. The story did come out but it amounted to nothing. Still, we wanted to make sure we covered all our bases.”

 

McLaughlin and Paige’s final checklist for partnering with communications to tell your alliance stories:

  • Make sure you know who to work with in PR long before ready to share story.
  • Approach the team long before you’re ready.
  • Don’t ask for a press release. “Ask how they can help you tell a story to a specific audience or broader audience. That will make you look so sophisticated as you make that request,” McLaughlin emphasized.
  • Understand news value and lead with it when pitching the story to your communications team.
    Coordinate with alliance partners. Share talking points and plans across collaborators.

In response to a session participant’s question, McLaughlin wrapped up the discussion by returning to the importance of ensuring your alliance announcements are newsworthy stories—and of NOT pushing an announcement that the media would consider a throw-away put out by PR hacks.

 

“More than putting out press release, it’s pitching the story,” McLaughlin explained. “Reporters say they like me because I don’t pitch a story unless I have one—so they at least give me the benefit of doubt. [That’s important] because they get so many stories thrown at them. Certain companies shoot out a release when anything happens, but this so-called ‘news’ is not really relevant, and therefore, they don’t have that credibility that I’ve earned with media. That’s your long-term argument” when you push back on your boss’s request to issue a release on a story that isn’t so newsworthy—“you want that credibility.”

Tags:  alliance manager  alliance partner  alliances  Anthem  AstraZenica  Brooke Paige  credibility  Dow Jones News Service  FiercePharma  HealthCore  Lori McLaughlin  Medical News Today  news value  newsworthy  partnering  Pharmacist elink  pitching story  press releases  SmartBrief  spokesperson  threat  WSJ.com 

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