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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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The Virtuous Cycle in Alliance Management—a Summit Spotlight Exclusive (Part 2)

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Updated: Monday, March 4, 2019

“The alliance manager’s role is to understand the importance of timing,” advises Christine Carberry, CSAP, in Part One of ASAP Media’s interview with the seasoned alliance manager and former chief operating officer of Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (now a subsidiary of Akebia Therapeutics). Carberry, who also previously served as chair of the ASAP board of directors, will be providing a leadership spotlight plenary session, “Collaborate-Create: The Value of the Virtuous Cycle,” at the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Agile Partnering in Today’s Collaborative Ecosystem,” March 10-13 at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. ASAP Media’s conversation with Carberry continues below.

Carberry’s role for six months of her year working for Keryx was as co-leader of integration planning with counterpart Akebia. Early on, she realized that her role wouldn’t continue with the new organization. She is philosophical about it. “You are working on trying to have everybody see the value of the merger—employees in the companies, investors, and shareholders. Yet people know you are not going to be part of it,” she explains of the challenge. “It’s about taking the time, if you can, to explore and not think that you have to jump right back into doing exactly what you were doing. Each experience leads to another.”

Alliance mangers are seekers of “the high road” trying to rise above conflict and egos, and keeping everyone focused on the common goal.  “You’re really a navigator,” she adds. “One of the criticisms that we’ve heard is alliance managers need to think of themselves much more broadly. And think of themselves as the people always looking for a portfolio of alliances and expanding value, not just be within the confines of agreements that you have today. That’s the challenge I want to give to the audience [at the Summit] in thinking about how we can have a greater impact by making better, stronger connections between ideas and resources, creating better conditions for collaboration. Your alliance portfolio is dynamic, and I think that alliance managers can create more value by really understanding that one alliance is one piece of a company portfolio and needs to align with company strategy.”

Before her one-year stint with Keryx, Carberry spent three and a half years with FORUM Pharmaceuticals (formerly EnVivo Pharmaceuticals) and 26 years with Biogen, where she stated out in an entry-level position during a time when genetic engineering was “scary science.” Biogen was a Fortune 500 international company that brought several drugs to patients “that changed their lives,” she adds. 

Despite being in transition between jobs, Carberry has “a very full plate.” In addition to her spotlight plenary session, as chairman emerita of ASAP, she will attend the Summit board and advisory meetings and will lead a roundtable about alliance management in a crisis situation. “It’s similar to what I’ve done in other transitional periods. It allows me to increase involvement in leadership roles,” she says.

Learn about Carberry’s talk and other leadership sessions and register for the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit at http://asapsummit.org. See the ASAP Media team’s comprehensive before, during, and after coverage of the 2019 Summit in Strategic Alliance publications and on the ASAP blog.  

Tags:  Akebia Therapeutics  Alliance Excellence Award  alliance manager  Christine Carberry  conflict  digital  expanding value  Keryx Biopharmaceuticals  partnership  Patheon  strategic partner  technology  Thermo Fisher 

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The Virtuous Cycle in Alliance Management—a Summit Spotlight Exclusive (Part 1)

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Updated: Monday, March 4, 2019

“There is a time and purpose for everything. So the alliance manager’s role is to understand the importance of timing.” Thus advises Christine Carberry, CSAP, a seasoned alliance manager and former chief operating officer of Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (now a subsidiary of Akebia Therapeutics). Carberry, who also previously served as chair of the ASAP board of directors, will be providing a leadership spotlight session “Collaborate-Create: The Value of the Virtuous Cycle” at the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Agile Partnering in Today’s Collaborative Ecosystem,” March 10-13 at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

A virtuous cycle connects right ideas with right resources in the right timing, she continues. “Timing is part of creating the right environment for collaboration and pulling those pieces together and then generating value,” Carberry explains. “That value often generates new ideas that just feed back into it. Growing new ideas may mean you need different kinds of resources. You may have an idea on how to improve a patient’s experience in a clinical trial. From that, you may come up with an idea that there’s a way to make that experience better using technology. Now you need different resources and skillsets to improve the patient experience in a digital way.”

Carberry’s talk is based on 30 years of management experience. Right now, she is between companies after Keryx Biopharmaceuticals and Akebia Therapeutics merged in December. The two companies are under consideration for a 2019 ASAP Alliance Excellence Award for their handling of a supply disruption where patients could not obtain a jointly manufactured drug. Access resumed after the companies teamed togetherfrom the C-level to the operational teamsto create a quick, viable solution.  

 

 “We had to navigate this partnership when Patheon merged with Fisher, and Keryx with Akebia,” Carberry explains. “Traditionally, biopharma companies treat CMOs as vendors, not as collaborators. … Applying all of the ASAP approaches and tools to the CMO I think creates a much stronger partnership, and it was demonstrated in this supply disruption situation. We needed high levels of trust with CEO engagement. It wasn’t business as usual. It was requiring people to go above and beyond,” she continues. “Agile is a good word for it. That willingness to be flexible and agile is less likely to happen if you are treating your CMO as a vendor rather than as strategic partner. “

 

See the ASAP Blog for Part Two of this interview with Christine Carberry, CSAP. Learn about Carberry’s plenary talk and other leadership sessions at the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, and register for the event, at http://asapsummit.org. See the ASAP Media team’s comprehensive before, during, and after coverage of the 2019 Summit in Strategic Alliance publications and on the ASAP blog.  

Tags:  Akebia Therapeutics  Alliance Excellence Award  alliance manager  Christine Carberry  digital  Keryx Biopharmaceuticals  partnership  Patheon  strategic partner  technology  Thermo Fisher 

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Finalists and Winners Share the Accolades at Upbeat 2018 Alliance Excellence Awards Ceremony

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Celebrating hard work, innovation, generous contributions to society, volunteer time, and other accomplishments, ASAP lauded several companies and partnerships at the 2018 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards on March 26 during the ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Propelling Partnering for the On-Demand World: New Perspectives + Proven Practices for Collaborative Business,” in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.

“All of our finalists are winners. They really are” through their thoughtful engagement, documentation, and impressive submissions, said Michael Leonetti, CSAP, president and CEO of ASAP. “It’s so difficult to select” a winner from such an outstanding pool of finalists, he then observed.

Referring to the 20th anniversary of ASAP’s beginnings, Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP, ASAP Advisory Board member and founding principal of Phoenix Consulting Group, provided some history about the first ASAP awards ceremony in 2001 and the evolution of the judging process. An “old-timer” and chair of the Excellence Awards Committee, she joined the judging process in 2003. “Some have been on the committee from the beginning of time, some are new recruits—reading, scoring, and deciding on nominees. They represent different industries,” she explained. What originally started as one lone awards category in 2001 evolved into multiple awards, which were captured at the ceremony by five of nine finalists for their exceptional contributions:

The Alliance Program Excellence Award, presented to organizations instilling the capability to consistently implement and manage alliance portfolios and demonstrate success of those alliances over time, was given to pharmaceutical Amgen for its exceptional biopharma alliance program. Secured by three pillars, the program delineates clear roles and alignment of strategic objectives and value drivers through a partnership; ensures best practice execution on every alliance through an alliance kickoff and playbook; optimizes oversight of Amgen’s alliance portfolio.

The Individual Alliance Excellence Award, presented to a specific alliance for excellence in planning, implementation, and resultseither between two companies or multiple organizationsfor instituting practices, tools, and methodologies in support of successful formation and management, was given to pharmaceutical partners MSD and Julphar for the formation of the DUNES alliance. The alliance serves seven therapeutic areas for six countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, a challenging area of the world for business development. “Alliances aren’t business as usual in that part of the world, and MSD-Julphar opened new doors,” commented Watenpaugh when presenting the award.

Two Innovative Best Alliance Practice Awards, presented to a company for individual alliance management tools, functions, methods, or processes that have made an immediate and powerful impact on the organization and/or discipline of alliance management, were given to pharmaceuticals MedImmune and Shire “for their big-picture view in their portfolio of alliances.” The high-impact tool or process used must show results, such as easing management, saving costs, increasing speed, and/or growing revenue. Medimmune received the award 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. Shire received the award for introducing a new best practice for partner crisis to manage stakeholders through a crisis situation. The system was originally developed to help navigate a merger; it has since been tested and validated for several additional applications.

The Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibility Award is presented to companies that demonstrate a profound, measurable, and positive social impact, with the principal objective social impact, not profit—although profit, especially if used to fund program expansion, is not discouraged. This year’s award was given to Cisco Systems and Dimension Data. The companies banded together for their 25-year celebration of alliance success by kicking off 25 projects focused on creating social good, which resulted in a record year for the partnership.

Not to be forgotten for their exceptional contributions, Leonetti also presented several Chapter Excellence Awards to members who have gone above and beyond in volunteer time organizing quality events within a local geography “because they love what they do.” The New England, French, Midwest (honorable mention), and Research Triangle Park chapters received awards for their use of best practices, development of relationships in the community, strong commitment, exceptional programming, and an array of additional contributions. Leonetti then extended special thanks to Becky Lockwood, CSAP, leader of the ASAP Chapter Presidents Council, for her leadership in organizing and keeping the chapter work effectively and smoothly flowing. 

Tags:  2018 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards  Amgen  biopharma alliance program  Cisco Systems  collaboration  dashboard  Dimension Data  DUNES alliance  Julphar  MedImmune  MSD  partnership  Shire 

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The Beatles, Alliances in the C-Suite, and a Company Built on Strategic Partnerships (Part 1): Citrix Chief Marketing Officer Kicks off the ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Tuesday, March 27, 2018

“Our entire business is predicated on ‘any-ness,’ so we recognize you can’t go it alone,” said Tim Minahan, senior vice president of business strategy and chief marketing officer of Citrix and the keynote speaker at the Tuesday, March 27 opening session of the 2018 ASAP Global Alliance Summit. “Citrix was founded 29 years ago [and] has built its entire business on nurturing and fostering strategic alliances and strategic channel relationships. We have dozens of alliances today and nearly ten thousand channel partners that are building entire businesses atop of Citrix.”

Minahan took the stage after opening comments from ASAP President and CEO Michael Leonetti, CSAP, and an introduction by ASAP Chairman Brooke Paige, CSAP, vice president of alliance management at Pear Therapeutics. Leonetti emphasized to a jam-packed ballroom how, historically, more than half of alliances fail or fail to deliver—but today, “we’ve reversed that trend of alliance failure,”  citing ASAP and other research data indicating “those organizations that have implemented ASAP best practices, and have certified practitioners, are able to achieve up to 80% success rates.” The recent ASAP 6th State of the Alliance research study, he added, “shows that alliances that use best practices make more money. That was something intuitively known for a long time in the ASAP community, but now the data show it as well.”

Leonetti emphasized—and Minahan exemplified—that today, alliance management has a seat at the leadership table and correspondingly, the C-suite itself better understands, is more engaged, and more than ever emphasizes business collaboration and partnering strategy to drive growth, innovate, and deliver better experience and value to customers. Leonetti clicked to a slide citing a slew of business research studies “since 2014 that consistently say CEOs now get it” and rely upon “new strategic alliances for growth, innovation, and go-to-market.” Indeed, “KPMG’s CEO Outlook study in 2016 said 40 percent of CEOs believe we need to move alliances to the C-level.”

For the ASAP community, this advance—of partnering as profession and alliances as core to company strategy—has been a two-decade journey. This year ASAP celebrates the 20th anniversary of its founding. (See the Q2 2018 issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine for a look back at ASAP’s formative years.) Leonetti did a shout out to ASAP’s Founding Chairman Robert Porter Lynch, CSAP, asking him to stand up and be recognized. “Talk about a visionary,” Leonetti exulted as the audience enthusiastically applauded Lynch. “We appreciate everything you’ve done, Robert.”

Leonetti concluded his comments by emphasizing, “We really need a vibrant community. Engagement is the key to our growth. We have the tools, the people, and we have the attention of every CEO. The table is set.”

To introduce the keynoter, Leonetti invited the ASAP chairman to the stage, recalling that he and Paige both “started in ASAP in 2003. Brooke is now VP at Pear Therapeutics. Brooke has worked with companies with 80,000 people and now, I think, with 50.”

Paige took the handoff. “Here at ASAP we love to talk about the ASAP family, a close community of alliance practitioners. But the question is, what kind of family are we?” she asked. “I was talking to my teenage stepson about alliance management, describing what we do. I said sometimes we see things way ahead in the future that others don’t see. Sometimes we’re dealing with a derailment of a partnership and helping to fix it. Sometimes we’re doing things that nobody else sees. My stepson said it sounds like alliance managers are superheroes,” she said, clicking to a slide with images from recent Marvel comics movies, then to the next slide with the headline on the front page of Superman’s Daily Planet: “Alliance Managers Save the World!”

Paige then introduced Minahan, an English and political science major and graduate of the Kellogg School of Management’s Chief Marketing Officer Program, who joined $3.2 billion Citrix about two years ago. Minahan framed his presentation around the theme of “everything I ever needed to know about strategic alliances I learned from the Beatles.”

Read more of Minahan’s comments—and alliance management insights he derived from Beatles songs—in Part 2 of this blog post.

Tags:  alliance managers  Brooke Paige  Citrix  Michael Leonetti  partnership  Pear Therapeutics  Tim Minahan 

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