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The Living Heart Project: Insights from a Global Collaboration

Posted By John M DeWitt, Wednesday, March 13, 2019

“If We Work Together, Can We Build a Human Heart?” This was the tagline for Steve Levine’s March 12 Leadership Spotlight session at the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit. His captivating presentation detailed, in TED Talk style, his multi-year journey as a collaboration leader to find the answer to this question. (Spoiler alert: The answer is yes.)

Levine is the senior director of life sciences at Dassault Systèmes, as well as the founder and executive director of the Living Heart Project. He holds a PhD in materials engineering from Rutgers University, and in 2015 was elected as a Fellow in the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Levine opened his presentation by describing his current company, the 40-year-old Dassault Systèmes, a computer-aided design company that evolved to offer a “3D experience” software platform used by many industries and the public sector. Most cars on the road today, Levine said, are designed by Dassault software, which renders three-dimensional experience with visually as well as technically exact realism. Car manufacturers use Dassault simulation technology to not only design cars, but to crash test them as well. For example, BMW, a Dassault customer, stopped physically crash-testing cars in 2013.

Also in 2013, Levine began to explore the idea of building a virtual human heart, one that could be used to diagnose ailments and educate people about the organ. Even in the big data era, this was a truly enormous task, given the amount of detail that he and his team needed to fit in. They needed new models for tissue, fiber orientations, coupled multiphysics (the electrical impulses that control the heart muscle), valves, and hemodynamics (flow of blood through the heart), among other things.

The medical community already has the understanding of the heart necessary to build a digital one, but that knowledge is “deconstructed,” as Levine says, distributed around the globe in many minds and texts and databases. The single greatest challenge, then, was getting all of that knowledge into one spot, then applying it. Or, as Levine asked the audience, once the pieces are gathered, “Can we put it back together?”

In order to put the heart back together, Levine needed to bring together many of the best medical and engineering minds from around the world (his team had members from 24 different countries) in order to pool their knowledge and capabilities. To accomplish this, while protecting what most partners would consider their proprietary intellectual property, he designed a hub-and-spoke collaboration, with Dassault Systèmes at the center. By centralizing trust, he maximized the amount of information exchanged. Not surprisingly, as trust in the Dassault hub grew, the spokes became increasingly comfortable and increasingly open with sharing their knowledge to support the common mission.

In the end, this Herculean feat of collaboration allowed Levine and his team to launch a completed and realistically rendered digital heart into the cloud in 2015. This digital model is expected to pave the way for personalized heart models, used to determine more exact treatments, safer and faster tests for drugs, image diagnostics, and, one day, for this technology to be applied to a patient’s entire body. Doctors and pharmacists would then be able to better design a specific treatment for the patient in question, with no guesswork involved—because the treatment can be tested on the virtual model before given to the real human.

To learn more about Steve Levine and the Living Heart Project, visit www.3ds.com/heart. Stay tuned to the ASAP blog and Strategic Alliance publications for the ASAP Media team’s comprehensive coverage of the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit.  

Tags:  3D experience  ASAP Global Alliance Summit  collaboration  Dassault Systèmes  life sciences  partners  partnership  Steve Levine  The Living Heart Project 

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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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New ASAP Workshop Offers Toolbox for Adapting to Industry Change with an Agile, Lean Alliance Management Practice

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, September 8, 2016

“Do the people in your company really understand alliance management?” That was a key question Lynda McDermott, CA-AM, president of EquiPro International, a consulting and coaching company specializing in leadership, team, and business development for Fortune 500 and medium-size companies, posed during the workshop “Lean and Agile: Next Generation Alliance Management” at the 2016 ASAP BioPharma Conference Sept. 7-9: “New Faces, Unexpected Places in Partnering: The Foresight to Lead, the Foundation to Succeed” at the Revere Hotel Boston Common, Boston. 

“No-o-o-o-o!” came the resounding response throughout the room. 

The new instructive workshop is designed to improve the role of alliance managers and familiarize participants with what’s needed today to streamline their alliance management practice. Co-facilitated by Annick De Swaef, CSAP, managing partner of Consensa Consulting, it addresses pressing industry changes, such as the impact of digitalization and cross-industry partnering, through basic questions and key objectives such as: 

  • Identifying that your team’s current alliance best practices and skills are future-
  • Assessing if these practices and skills are lean and agile

 The facilitators focused on the three practices they consider critical to a successful partnership: Framework, team dynamics, staying lean and agile. 

For a successful framework, your team needs to be aware of strategic investment, the alliance lifecycle, value co-creation, and alliance governance, McDermott said.

“So many clients don’t understand alliance governance. It’s about all the people in the room, different experiences, different cultures, and how I can service this team so we can come together in this challenge,” she added. 

Participants at tables were then asked to take part in an interactive game with building blocks, and McDermott linked the unique outcomes of each group to the reality many alliance teams face. “What you think is an alliance may not be what someone else thinks looks like an alliance,” she said. “We are trying to take the burden off of you of being the sole person responsible for the success of the alliance.” 

 “Poor implementation of the governance structure is the No. 1 reason alliances fail, according to the research,” she added. “Never assume that what you know is what everybody else knows. Your team members need to be able to see the big picture and how alliances fit into corporate strategy. It’s important that you provide sufficient learning material and experiences to other members of the team.” 

She then probed another key question: “In general, do you think collaboration is a skill that comes naturally to people?” 

“No-o-o-o!” came the cacophonic response again. 

“Toddlers don’t collaborate. They have sandbox issues,” she responded. “It depends on how you’ve been socialized. And people have their own points of view and agenda. But you can learn how to get better.” 

Fundamental to good team dynamics is the concept of the ladder of trust; sensitivity to cultural differences; a networked organization; and collaborative skills, De Swaef added. Pay attention to spoilers of those healthy team dynamics, such as: 

  • A lack of trust
  • Communication that is not always open, which could be cultural
  • Ill-defined responsibilities
  • Differences in company sizes, power struggles

“An alliance manager is not a therapist. Never assume people will behave collaboratively,” she said. “Make sure you create those skills in a safe setting. Give them training on conflict management from the start. Reward your team. Keep the team dynamics flowing in a positive way. And award problem solving, which is often not done.”

The third critical component is to stay lean and agile, she advised. Lean is about proceeding without wandering around and following up with steps in the shortest possible ways. Agile is as fast as possible, but in an interactive way where you reduce the risk for your organization, she continued. “It’s important to be a shape shifter when you are working with a partner. You need to rejuvenate your alliance practices,” she added, while citing the analogy of the hare and tortoise. 

“There is so much regulation and compliance that the culture creates the tortoise,” said McDermott of the challenges that arise particularly in life sciences and health care. “The question becomes, are you so tied to that that you can’t become agile” she continued. 

“When doing alliances with IT, not many companies are turtles. Those kinds of alliances are coming into the [biopharma] industries,” De Swaef noted. “My way or the highway is over.” 

Empower your teams, map out processes, and figure out where they can be more efficient, innovative, and creative. “You are not a therapist, but you are a change facilitator,” observed McDermott. “Think about the least developed competency or best practice in your organization, and then go to the ASAP sessions and find an answer. ASAP is really in the process of trying to connect with you to develop your teams and provide training so you can make sure your teams can learn and connect with each other with a lean and agile mindset.” 

Tags:  alliance manager  Annick De Swaef  biopharma  communication  Consensa Consulting  EquiPro International  Framework  governance  IT  ladder of trust  life sciences  Lynda McDermott  staying lean and agile  team dynamics 

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From Entrepreneur to Intrapreneur in the Healthcare Industry: Marcus Wilson’s ‘ASAP Quick Takes’ Tutorial at the 2016 ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, February 22, 2016

ASAP is introducing an exciting new presentation format at the ASAP Global Alliance Summit March 1-4:  the “ASAP Quick Takes, patterned after “TED Talks” and well-received at the 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference, will bring four provocative speakers to the stage to provide specific, complementary insights relating to emerging ecosystems. Organized around the theme “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem,” the summit will be held just outside the US capital at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland. Among the executives in the line-up is Marcus Wilson, president and co-founder of Anthem’s real-world research subsidiary, HealthCore. With reams of background information and perspective, Wilson is well-placed to speak on his topic “The Alliance Professional as Entrepreneur.” His experience as an entrepreneur has positioned him as a guiding force in his current mission to improve the safety, quality, and affordability of healthcare through data and research. He previously developed and ran the Health Outcomes and Clinical Research program for BCBS of Delaware, on which HealthCore is founded. 

ASAP Media: What are some techniques or approaches you use to jumpstart innovation and creativity as an intrapreneur? 

Marcus Wilson: Making the shift from an entrepreneur to working as an intrapreneur, I have found that there are two major concepts to embrace.  First, I advise intrapreneurs to have patience. Second, innovative concepts have to be well-socialized ahead of formal introduction. Each group or department impacted by that idea needs to be on board with the idea or subtle undermining will limit or completely inhibit progress. As we mature new concepts, we also put into our plan a “campaign” of sorts to help recruit key influencers across the enterprise. It is one step we take to pave the way for these new concepts to gain momentum. 

How is being an intrapreneur different than being an entrepreneur in your industry, and how do they accommodate alliance managers to set the stage for the next levels of meeting customer needs? 

I would imagine for some the difference is significant. Though we have dealt with significant adjustment issues over time, the conversion to being a part of a much larger organization has gone reasonably well. We sold our company to Anthem in 2003 because we felt strongly it was an important step in accomplishing our mission. They had the resources and the position within the healthcare system that would allow us to build capabilities and influence healthcare evidence development in a way we could not do as a small, independent company. Though we have certainly had our challenges, we have benefitted from a solid business structure within Anthem that preserved much of our “entrepreneurial” culture, which was well planned prior to our acquisition, and strong executive level support over the last 13 years. Our alliance managers have played, and continue to play, a key role in both our internal and external alliances. 

What kinds of changes do intrapreneurs need to make in the evolving healthcare ecosystem? 

The healthcare ecosystem can be quite complex, and I am convinced that alliance collaborations are going to be at the heart of solving some of its current issues. Ironically, I believe we can simplify the experience for the patient by collaborating across the ecosystem itself. Thus, intrapreneurial alliance managers will be collaborating in alliances of all kinds, often with multiple companies or institutions working on the same issue. I see this as a huge shift from where alliance management first began in life sciences, traditionally between partner companies of relatively equal size.  

How do you stay ahead of the curve in terms of innovation and "outside-in thinking?" 

A good entrepreneur knows that great ideas can come from literally anywhere. We need to champion this viewpoint as we work to innovate. Just this week, we were talking about the Top 10 trends in healthcare, and asking ourselves for each item: “How might this development influence our future business? How might we organize ourselves to better leverage that innovation? Are we in a unique position to bring that innovation to others?  As a novel, care research organization, what insights can we bring to a given issue?”  As this is core to our business, it is critical to maintain and harness that outside-in thinking 

How is HealthCore on the cutting-edge of intraprenuership and understanding customer needs in the evolving healthcare ecosystem? 

Our early years were spent embedded in a large group practice in Delaware. We worked to support better decision making between the physician and patient at the point of care. Many tough lessons learned in those formative years led us to begin developing innovative ways to get the right information to those two key decision makers. Since our inception in 1996, we have felt the best means of impacting patient outcomes was to influence the many decisions made prior to new drugs and technologies getting to the patient. Realizing the innovators (e.g., the pharmaceutical industry), the regulators (FDA in the US) and policymakers had a major impact on what eventually makes its way to the point of care, we positioned HealthCore squarely on the lines where healthcare stakeholders intersect. Our position gives us rare insight into the needs, priorities, and unique language of each of these stakeholders. In this effort, collaboration is key. We are owned by a payer and leverage the resources and raw materials (data and their important relationships with the providers and patients) from that payer to close critical gaps in evidence in collaboration with the industry and regulators, which facilitates better technologies getting to the market with the right evidence to support their effective use in patient care. It is often a very tough line to walk, and alliance management is essential to our success. 

Tags:  alliance management  alliances  Anthem  collaboration  data  emerging ecosystems  entrepreneur  healthcare  HealthCore  intrapreneur  life sciences  Marcus Wilson PharmD  outside-in thinking  pharmaceutical industry  policymakers  regulators  research 

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BioPharma Preview: IBM’s Heather Fraser on Orchestration in the Life Sciences and Healthcare Ecosystem

Posted By Cynthia Hanson, Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Heather Fraser, registered pharmacist and global life sciences & healthcare lead at the Institute for Business Value, an IBM think tank, gives an ASAP Plenary/Quick Takes talk and Deeper Dive session about “Redefining Partnering in the Healthcare and Life Sciences Ecosystem” on Thursday, Sept.10 at the 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference, “Alliance Expertise at the Forefront: Leadership for the Ecosystem,” at the Revere Hotel Boston Common. Fraser shares insights from her talk in a Q&A for the Q3 2015 issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine. Here’s a snippet from the interview. 

Why is there such a huge interest in ecosystems, especially in the healthcare and life sciences industries? 

There are two significant healthcare drivers—societal and economic. On the societal side, there are demographics, an aging population desiring care and quality for better outcomes, HIPPA and compliance regulations, the FDA continually putting pressure on the industries. Additionally, there is a shortage of the right skills and capabilities for this changing healthcare system. On the economic side, there are technology-driven forces, such as the proliferation of mobile devices and the Internet. Collaboration is becoming much easier because we’re seeing a system that is much more connected and open.  Technology is much faster and more scalable than in the past. We can almost look ahead of technology requirements, and the cost of using that technology to drive out innovative practices is reducing. Analytics are also helping to drive insights and decision-making. So you can look ahead at the requirements companies have and the cost of using that technology to drive out innovation.

 

How do alliance managers know they are on the right path during a time of uncertainty? Are there key areas to focus on when partnering in the ecosystem? 

The traditional guideposts are not always present. But one certainty is that you need to have mutual goals in place that align around the customer and patient. If you are serving the patient, you are on track. Putting the patient at the center is something the life sciences companies haven’t necessarily done in the past. Many now are going toward targeted treatments, such as measuring the patient for glucose levels in their blood. There are diagnostic devices businesses collaborating with diagnostic companies. Another device might measure the impact of insulin when injected into the system. Services such as a nutritionist advising on correct diet or a fitness clinic on exercise could be another component. Companies are looking beyond the pill to produce a total solution for the diabetes patient. Another example: Novartis just put out a heart drug. Typically, drugs for heart diseases are relatively low cost. But now they say the pricing will be based on patient outcomes. Think payment based on outcomes vs. those based on the sale of a pill.

 

What does your “Quick Takes” talk focus on?  

How ecosystems need orchestration, from a mutuality standpoint. Orchestration requires coordination and arrangements, and some companies are leading the way. We’re seeing IBM Watson Health acting as an orchestrator—bringing not just the platforms, the cloud, but also ecosystem members to the table, and the analytics skills as well. Philips is another example—helping with medical devices. They are very much getting in the healthcare space and acting as an orchestrator. Otsuka Pharmaceutical—they’ve got a therapeutic area for patients with mental health problems, and they are using technology, analytics, and alerts to make sure patients stay on their medications. The other component is mutuality—look at how we’re going to coordinate, setting goals we agree on, setting up mutual standards. There is the example of Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim working together on diabetes—bringing the best and brightest scientists from both companies and really trying to accelerate getting the molecules to market. They are still competitors, but they wanted to come up with a set of standards where they had a mutual interest for that particular need and set of drugs. The ecosystem is about the complex web of interdependent enterprises and companies, public or private, with patients at the center. But at the end of the day, the goal is to create and allocate mutual business value for the whole of the ecosystem. You have to understand what you’re putting in and how you’re going to drive that value out.

Tags:  ASAP BioPharma Conference  Boehringer Ingelheim  collaborating  ecosystems  healthcare drivers  Heather Fraser  Institute for Business Value  life sciences  Lilly  mutual business value  Philips 

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