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Dr. David Williams to Keynote 2017 ASAP BioPharma Conference Focused on Accelerating and Fine-Tuning Collaboration in Life Sciences and Healthcare

Posted By John W. DeWitt and Cynthia Hansen, Wednesday, September 13, 2017

As see in PR Newswire... 

The Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP), the world’s leading professional association dedicated to the practice of alliance management, partnering, and collaboration, announced the theme and programming for the 2017 ASAP BioPharma Conference Sept. 13-15, “Accelerating Life Science Collaborations: Better Partnering, Better Outcomes,” to be held at the Royal Sonesta Boston, Cambridge, Mass. This year’s conference theme delves into maximizing the value of partnering in life sciences.

“Partnering has been essential to long-term asset development in the life sciences for decades. This has never been more apparent than it is today, especially across the expanded partnering network of the healthcare ecosystem,” commented ASAP President and CEO Michael Leonetti, CSAP. “Patient-centric healthcare, personalized medicine, and new technologies teamed together in the healthcare system are creating new ways to leverage important innovations, which lead to positive outcomes for patients. This year, the ASAP BioPharma Conference will bring together the world’s leading practitioners and experts on partnering in the life sciences to share their perspectives on innovating in this highly complex ecosystem.”

Wednesday morning, Sept. 13, begins with a series of professional development workshops focused on enhancing participants’ alliance management capabilities. . The full conference program kicks off later in the afternoon with a keynote address by Dr. David Williams will take place at 5 p.m. Dr. Williams is chief scientific officer and senior vice president for research, Boston Children's Hospital, and president of the Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. His research laboratory has been the recipient of continuous funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for 31 years, since 1986.

“Williams is an exceptional leader who has fostered a collaborative portfolio of successful partnerships at Boston Children's, making it one of the best children's hospital systems in the U.S. today. He has extensive clinical and research experience having investigated, co-investigated, or sponsored extensive clinical trials in the area of gene therapy for blood, immunodeficiency, and neurological genetic diseases,” said Leonetti. “Looking at what BCH has accomplished through its partnership efforts, it is clear Dr. Williams understands and has achieved extensive accomplishments through business and scientific collaboration in healthcare. We are privileged to have him as a keynote speaker—and his talk should be a great way to kick off a great conference program.”

Click here to read the full press release.

Tags:  2017 ASAP BioPharma Conference  Boston Children's Hospital  Collaboration  Dr. David Williams  Healthcare  Life Sciences 

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Academia and Industry—Creating a Seamless Fit (Part Two)

Posted By Genevieve Fraser, Wednesday, June 7, 2017

In the session “Making the Most of Industry-Academia Collaborations,” Mark Coflin, CSAP, head of alliance management at Shire Pharmaceuticals was joined by his colleague, Joe Sypek, PhD, director and external science lead at Shire, as they explored cultural differences between partners in academia and industry working together to find a cure for a disease (see Part I of this blog post) http://www.strategic-alliances.org/blogpost/1143942/277595/Academia-and-Industry-Partnerships-Creating-a-Seamless-Fit--Part-I. Joining them at the 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Profit, Innovation, and Value for the Part­nering Enterprise,” were Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute’s (SBP’s) Paula Norris, PhD, laboratory director and project manager, and Sarah Hudson, PhD, R&D project and operations associate director. The 2017 Summit was held Feb. 28-March 2 in San Diego, Calif.

 

Norris works with principal investigators (PIs) to develop strategic plans for lab operations and policies. On any given project, she might work with four or five partners at a time. Some are smaller start-up companies; others are larger pharmaceutical companies. “In the past, we were grant-centric, but now less so as we work with industries,” she explained. “We explore a partner’s expectations, then go back to our group and discuss what we need to do to make it work. But there’s a language gap with industry. The language in industry is not necessarily the same as ours. So at times, there’s miscommunication. But we’ve gotten better at asking questions about what they mean, especially when we’re not sure [of] what they want or their end goal.”

 

“We’ve spent time working on culture and skill seton education across the institute. For example, what is a hit or lead?” she asked rhetorically. “We need to educate in terms of the basic terms of an alliance partner’s language.”

 

“It’s also important to hone in on expectations. If partners have different expectations, it can cause problems,” Norris stated. “Instead of going off on a tangent, we need to understand the scope and what the goals are and stay focused. Otherwise, we will fail to line up with the milestones. The criteria are only met when the milestone is achieved. “

 

“It can be a challenge if a partner says it’s a ‘no go,’ and we think there is an avenue. We need to remember that the money comes from a partner. If there’s scope creep, we need to draw them back to achieve the milestone. To do that you must have the right people involved and have communicated broadly. You need to define the statement of workmake sure the language is conciseso both parties are clear about what they need to do for the project.”

 

Hudson acknowledged that she and Norris are proud of the innovation and knowledge base of PIs, but to retain the culture, academia must adapt to make industry-academia projects run more smoothly. This only happens if someone is designated as the point person: “It’s quite important for long-term capabilities. A manager makes sure deadlines are met for milestones.”

As the leader of the project manager group at SBP, Hudson’s role is to partner with scientific project leaders in collaborations and initiatives. “These pharmaceutical and biotech companies, as well as alliances with other academic institutions, all have the same flavor but run differently,” Hudson conceded. “So, we do what we must to adapt with projects run by a joint steering committee.”

It’s important not to assume everything is going well, Coflin added.  As in every kind of relationship, the person talking needs to be truthful so that members of the team come to you with issues.  Being a good partner involves communicationsmonthly meetings. “Scientists tend to be reserved so they won’t get scooped. You need to create trust. Labs operate in a silo working by themselves, but to have an effective partnership, you need to work in a collaborative environment,” he said.

 

Scientists need to develop basic alliance management skills, Hudson stressed. “Because we don’t have large infrastructure, it’s important that we impart these skills to scientists so we can be proactive, instead of merely responsive.”

 

Since their groups have been working on alliance skills, both Hudson and Norris have personally seen a difference in greater productivity and efficiency through collaboration as their projects progress.

 

Sypek agrees that things break down when there is a lack of communication. If you are to reach the next level, you need to feel comfortable about talking with partners, he said. “The more you communicate, the better you get. But each project must be treated as individual, as unique, especially if the PI and/or goals are different.”

 

“What you are doing is transformative to an institution, Coflin stated. “Just as we do at Shire, you must prepare your institution to partner. Despite the fact they might be uncomfortable, it’s important to give them tools to be ready to partner. That sort of preparation is how you build capability.”

 

The entire panel then agreed on one axiom: A common goal helps make it work!

Part I of this blog post focuses on Shire Pharmaceutical’s perspective on academic-industry partnerships. http://www.strategic-alliances.org/blogpost/1143942/277595/Academia-and-Industry-Partnerships-Creating-a-Seamless-Fit--Part-I

Tags:  alliance partners  alliance skills  biotech  collaboration  communication  Joe Sypek  Mark Coflin  partner  partner language  partners  Paula Norris  principal investigators  Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute  Sarah Hudson  Shire Pharmaceuticals  transformation 

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Academia and Industry Partnerships—Creating a Seamless Fit (Part I)

Posted By Genevieve Fraser, Friday, June 2, 2017

Though their organizations are quite different, the shared goal partners in an academia-industry life sciences alliance is to find a cure to address the disease, emphasized Mark Coflin, CSAP, an oncologist and head of alliance management at Shire Pharmaceutical, during a candid, rapid-fire discussion on the cultural differences between academia and industry. Coflin kicked off a session featuring several panelists  discussing “Making the Most of Industry-Academia Collaborations” during thePartnering for Performance in Life Sciences” track at the 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Profit, Innovation, and Value for the Part­nering Enterprise,” Feb. 28-March 2 in San Diego, Calif.

 

Joining Coflin on the panel was Paula Norris, PhD, laboratory director and project manager at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP); Sarah Hudson, PhD, a biochemist, organic chemist, and associate director of R&D projects and operations at SBP; Joe Sypek, PhD, director and external science lead, comparative immunology at Shire Pharmaceuticals. The pharmaceutical company is dedicated to creating specialized medicines for patients with rare diseases.

 

Coflin opened the discussion with a major consideration for this kind of partnership: “From the science side, when you’re handed a project, if you haven’t been involved from the beginning, it’s difficult,” he offered. “Having someone on the alliance side helps a lot.”  Coflin said he has managed some one-off projects, but for the most part, his target institutions are involved with pediatric research where he is responsible for putting agreements together.

 

Sypek’s role at Shire is to identify and foster new academic alliance partnerships. This complex of new partnerships, in turn, feeds the early-discovery stage pipeline in the rare disease space within discovery biology and transitional research.  Shire’s milestone-based agreements are tied to contingent payments for each gene target if specified research, regulatory, clinical development, commercialization, and sales milestone events occur.

 

“We’ve tried other models,” Sypek said. “Each institution has nuances. Each has upfront money and needs money to start up. So, we start with initial payments and set the budget, year to year.”

 

“We do milestones because we need to get meaningful data.  We want data that is robust and statistically significant. If it doesn’t work out, the principle investigator (PI) can take the project and partner with someone else,” Sypek continued. “Treatments are an internal project that require regular lab meetings. Both parties must be committed to getting to goals, but all projects have regular meetings where we try to pour all necessary resources together for success.”

 

When setting up a team, if it doesn’t have a molecule, Shire might outsource and pay for its development, even if it’s outside of the budget.  In 2012, Shire entered a broad, three-year research collaboration in rare diseases with Boston Children’s Hospital, and since then has expanded to other pediatric hospitals. 

 

“Shire’s plan is to cast a broad net to get the best of the best to target the disease. That’s what the intentions are, but what are the challenges?” Sypek asked.

 

“Central to the challenges are the cultural differences between academia and industry. But the goal for both parties is to find a cure to address the disease,” Sypek concluded. “You can work for years in a lab, but it’s the research collaboration that allows a breakthrough [to be] possible. Today, academia seeks out industry partners. The boundary walls are not as high as they use to be. They are more in tune to working with industry. NIH budgets can be tight, and there are always questions about what might happen to funding. That’s where industry might be able to step in and fund research and materials.”

Part II of this blog post focuses on Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute’s perspective on academic-industry partnerships. 

Tags:  academia  alliance  Boston Children’s Hospital  collaboration  Joe Sypek  partner  Paula Norris  pediatric research  research  Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute  Sarah Hudson  Shire Pharmaceuticals 

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NetApp’s Trackable System Garners Best Practice Accolades at ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards Ceremony: A Q&A with Ron Long, CSAP

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, April 3, 2017
Updated: Friday, March 31, 2017

Finding new ways to implement alliance management tools and processes is valuable for the entire ASAP community because it sets a new standard for best practiceswhether in the area of measurement, communications, conflict resolution, training, or other applications. This year the Innovative Best Alliance Practice Award was presented to NetApp at the 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Profit, Innovation, and Value for the Part­nering Enterprise,” Feb. 28–March 2, at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley, San Diego, California. This award highlights how NetApp has strived for exemplary partnering tools and practices. While many companies still try to manage partnering processes through spreadsheets, NetApp invested in technology and governance with stringent trackable processes that produce measurable results for its alliance co-selling program. The program assists NetApp and partner representatives proactively involved in account mapping, account planning, and pipeline management in the most difficult aspects of go-to-market alliances. The system also provides detailed reports on joint co-selling activities. I spoke with Ron Long, alliance director, who explained the progressive change undertaken that now acts as a valuable model for other companies tracking multi-alliance details.

What challenge were you problem-solving?
We were problem-solving the lack of ability to effectively manage and measure multi-alliance sales engagements. The challenge had to do with multiple partners pursing the same sale and having an impact when closing the deal.  The question was, “How does a system that is originated toward single-product sales measure revenue across several different companies?” We also wanted to improve the ability of teams to collaborate across multiple companies.

Describe some of the benefits of the new trackable system?
We were able to track investments and results, and that resulted in executive alliance growth. We also were able to track results for paying out commissions to salespeople. It was the impetus for growth and investment. When we could track those alliance partners, we had tangible data we could take to management and ask for investments for growth. Revenues have clearly improved through measurement and collaboration. We also use the system to set up sales pursuits to get partners to collaborate. This type of a problem is across multiple alliances, not just technology. Because it’s a problem that exists across multiple industries, it’s applicable outside the tech industry.

How did the new system evolve?
Two years ago, we started with some self-design, but we modified the sales tracking systems already in place with cloud technology, such as Salesforce.com. It’s adaptable because it’s a cloud-based service, and you can link in different information sources in the cloud. It’s easier to link that in than to do an in-house modification system. For governance, we do quarterly APRs, and each of the alliance leads added tracking of their progress, pipeline, revenue, investments, and training to ensure that what we’re doing plan-wise meets with results.

What ASAP tools and practices were useful when designing the system?
The greatest benefit came from ASAP Summit sessions that had to do with the overall management of multi-alliances. Also, we used several ASAP best practices as guideposts.

Tags:  alliance management  Alliance Managers  collaboration  governance  innovation  Innovative Best Alliance Practice Award  multi-alliances  multiple alliances  NetApp  partners  Ron Long 

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ASAP Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibility Award Presented to The Synergist-Sanofi for Innovative ‘Break Dengue’ Initiative

Posted By Noel B. Richards and Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibility award is an indispensable leg on the table of four ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards presented to finalists each year at the annual Global Alliance Summit. Submissions for the Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibility award were starkly absent in 2016, but this year three outstanding finalists stepped up to the plate to vie for the honor. The winner was pharmaceutical company Sanofi and The Synergist, a Brussels-based non-profit. Sanofi was looking for new and progressive ways to educate the public about dengue fever, and the “Break Dengue” multi-partner initiative with The Synergist and several other entities was hatched in response. The award was announced at the 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Profit, Innovation, and Value for the Partnering Enterprise,” which took place at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley, San Diego, California.

Sanofi is well known in the pharma industry; The Synergist is a nonprofit newcomer that builds collaborations by piecing together the right people and organizations for the project. The Synergist works to “bring together the stakeholders that can make a difference. These include corporations, academics, other experts, medical professionals, patients, and NGOs,” according to its website www.thesynergist.org. Founder Nicholas Brooke was CEO of ZN, a Brussels-based digital marketing agency, when he became inspired by a TED Talk by Simon Sinek called “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” (view talk here: http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action). Brooke had enjoyed financial success at ZN and decided to leave the company to build The Synergist with an agenda for solving social or societal issues and the motto “Partner for Greater Societal Impact.”

ZN began the Break Dengue project as a way to start building awareness for dengue fever, a neglected tropical disease. Sanofi Pasteur then seized the opportunity to join the effort and signed on to the project. This decision had a profound impact on Sanofi Pasteur’s corporate culture. Celine Schillinger, head of innovation and engagement, was one of many in her company who embraced the challenge. She told hundreds of partnering executives: “I want to change the way organizations work. I want to make business more humane and more relevant to what employees, customers, and stakeholders at large want today.” (See link on Sanofi’s goals at http://www.strategic-alliances.org/blogpost/1143942/270931/Changing-Corporate-Culture-To-Create-Social-Impact-A-Plenary-by-Celine-Schillinger .)

The Break Dengue multi-party alliance is unique because no one group or stakeholder promotes the answer. Instead, the alliance brings in different groups with diverse and unique strengths. For example, the Malaria Consortium joined to provide expertise in combating mosquito breeding grounds. Reflecting on the collaborative created for Break Dengue, Celine Schillinger remarked: “If we can overcome [the competitive mindset], we can fulfill something that’s bigger than ourselves and bigger than our organization's goals.”

Several innovative processes turned the project into a success. The collaboration has been in place for two years working to raise awareness and reduce incidence. It has become the No. 1 source and presence for public information about dengue fever by connecting healthcare providers, NGOs, researchers, local groups, and pharma. Break Dengue also has created an online scientific community known as “Dengue Lab.”

“This community is the greatest online platform used to collaborate and share efforts to combat dengue fever,” remarked Aaron Hoyles, program manager at The Synergist, during an interview shortly after the awards ceremony. For example, as part of its collaborative efforts, “Break Dengue was able to raise awareness about dengue fever during the 2014 World Cup through a campaign called ‘Red Card to Dengue.’ The campaign reached over one million followers, receiving over 81,000 views on its YouTube video.”

An online dengue tracking tool was then created to allow endemic areas to interact with a chat tool that helps them learn if they, or someone they know, has been exposed. The tool allows a map to pop up that people can view to determine the status of dengue fever in their area, along with information on sources of treatment or prevention. The Break Dengue website can be viewed at this link: https://www.breakdengue.org/

Tags:  “Break Dengue”  Celine Schillinger  collaboration  Corporate Culture  dengue fever  multi-partner initiative  Nicholas Brooke  Sanofi  Simon Sinek  stakeholders  TED Talk  The Synergist 

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