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Maximizing the Alliance Management and C-Suite Relationship Through the Eyes of Biopharma Conference Plenary Speaker Stéphane Thiroloix

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, August 1, 2016
Updated: Sunday, July 31, 2016

Stéphane Thiroloix describes himself as a “reasonable generalist,” having been involved with partnering in multiple waysfrom business development, general management, marketing, and sales to R&D and legal affairs. The CEO at Mayoly Spindler, an emerging family-owned, independent French company with a focus on gastroenterology and dermocosmetics, will present a plenary talk on The View from the C-Suite: Partnering and Alliances Today and Tomorrow,” Thursday morning, Sept. 8, during the 2016 ASAP BioPharma Conference. This year’s conference, “New Faces, Unexpected Places in Partnering: The Foresight to Lead, the Foundation to Succeed,” will be held Sept. 7-9 at the Revere Hotel in Boston. Mayoly Spindler’s revenue originates half in France and half abroad through activities in over 50 countries, mostly via local partnerships. The company’s portfolio strategy is based almost exclusively on partnering. Thiroloix provided this preview of his topic on how alliance management functions can best be viewed and leveraged by company senior leadership.

What are some of the challenges when coordinating the alliance management and C-Suite relationships?
The first challenge is simply understanding the role of alliance management. When you have skilled and proactive alliance managers, it does not take long for the C-Suite to appreciate their work and turn to them constantly. Another challenge is keeping the alliance manager in play at all times, even when a partner is tempted to take a more direct CEO-to-CEO route. While that’s a perfectly legitimate move, it’s then the CEO's responsibility to keep the alliance manager in play, even if it’s transiently unofficial. One interesting challenge is accepting contradictions from the alliance manager as they stand for partner interests. It’s easy to state and posture that the alliance manager is our partner's ambassador in our ExCom [executive committee], but when they make the partner's case in a difficult decision, we may feel a little strain as we remind ourselves that we hired them to do so and should pay attention.

Among your proposed discussion topics is the importance of establishing an alliance management function and its value to the senior executive team. Why has this become increasingly important in the new ecosystem?
The pharma model has become tremendously fragmented. When I started my professional life, large pharma companies were the norm, and they were fully integrated—from fundamental research to sales. Partnerships were the exception rather than the norm, and we relied mostly on our internal dynamics to succeed. Today, not only is there a constellation of small, ultra-specialized players, but even the large pharma players outsource vast quantities of strategic activities, including entire components of their R&D, most of their manufacturing, and frequently their commercial activity. As a result, the way we work today is intrinsically alliance-based. Additionally, it’s not about whether you're big or small. If you are a big, dominant player, there is high risk that you will be overpowering in your partnerships. Partners used to accept this because partnering with big pharma was the grail. That’s no longer the case, so big players need alliance management to maintain a healthy balance in their dealings with smaller players who have a variety of other doors to knock on. If you are a small player, you must be agile, humble, and alliance-focused in order to quickly build a strong partnering track record.

Describe some effective strategies partnering professionals can use to support the C-Suite?
A straight answer may be a little simplistic. The company (and its C-Suite), its partners and the alliance manager themselves, have a specific profile and style that may call for different approaches. The C-Suite requires a difficult balance between boring them with systematic activity reporting and appearing to withhold knowledge that provides an edge—which is unbearable to the C-Suite. What I've seen work well is to use the pace of partnership governance: at ExCom meetings before key alliance governance moments, provide relevant updates and gather C-Suite insight. That way you will not be covering all topics all the time. Make sure you share partner milestones to provide the C-Suite with opportunities to react in a constructive manner. If a partner cleared an FDA hurdle or raised capital, some C-Suite members may want to send a congratulatory note—but if you don’t point it out, they might miss the occasion. The best way to work the C-Suite is unquestionably to work more with their teams than with them. Similarly, make sure the C-Suite's personal assistants know where to find alliance reports, and develop flexibility and opportunities for them to connect with bosses whenever they need to deal with the alliance. Be ready to explain the same things again and again. And never, ever surprise them.

Tags:  alliance management  alliances  C-Suite  ecosystem  FDA  governance  Mayoly Spindler  partners  partnership  Stéphane Thiroloix 

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What’s Brewing in the 2016 Biopharma Conference Beaker? | Part 2

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, July 19, 2016

In a recent interview, ASAP CEO Mike Leonetti, CSAP, provided a sampling of what’s to come at the 2016 ASAP BioPharma Conference. He offered insights into the changing landscape for partnerships and how alliance managers and others need to adapt, as well as a preview of speakers and cutting edge sessions and workshops. 

What about ASAP? What’s brewing in the beaker and will be shared at the conference?

We will be unveiling, and introducing the author of, ASAP’s new study “The Economics of Alliances, Social Capital, and Alliance Performance,” which is scheduled for release after the conference as ASAP’s 6th State of Alliances study. You can read a preview of the study and view some of the research data in the upcoming Summer Strategic Alliance Magazine. Dr. Shawn Wilson, the author, has worked with ASAP to provide financial and economic return on investment (ROI) analytics that are a direct outcome of alliance/partnership management excellence.

What are some of the cutting edge, not-to-be-missed sessions you recommend?

While every session is going to be fantastic, the session that discusses digital or tech partnering capabilities, “New Partnerships between High Tech and BioPharma and the Alliance Management Practices to Support Them,” led by Russ Buchanan, CSAP, head of corporate alliances, Xerox Corporation, and “New Partnerships Between High Tech and BioPharma and the Alliance Management Practices to Support Them,” facilitated by Donna Peek, CSAP, director, partner enablement & operations at SAS Institute, will be timely. The unveiling of ASAP’s research and “Applying the Latest Alliance Management Research to Your Partnering Practice,” by Shawn Wilson, in conjunction with Stuart Kliman, CA-AM, who is presenting Vantage Partners’ research findings, should not be missed.  I think the sessions on “Strategic Perspectives on a Partnership's First 100 Days” offer a new twist on partnering with new players. Another session on partnering in China addresses the crucial need to understand and learn about that country, “A New Model for Western and Chinese Pharmaceutical Partnering,” by Brent Harvey, CA-AM, director, alliance management at Eli Lilly and Company.

Every year ASAP provides workshops for the alliance management toolbox. What’s new in the box this year?

There are several fantastic “Tools and Techniques” pre-conference workshops, the CA-AM and CSAP prep workshops, the Eli Lilly and Company “Alliance Management, Tools and Techniques, “ which never fails to draw rave reviews, as well as one from Candido Arreche, CA-AM, global director of portfolio & partner management, six sigma black belt at Xerox Worldwide Alliances, on “How to Resolve Conflict in Your Alliance.” New to ASAP is the workshop “Next Generation Alliance Management, Lean and Agile,” facilitated by Lynda McDermott, CA-AM, president of Equipro International, and Annick De Swaef, CSAP, president of Consensa, which will preview ASAP’s new corporate alliance management and certification program designed to offer a customized workshop for a company wishing to quickly add to its partnership capability and value creation.

To view the program and download brochure information, go to www. asapweb.org/biopharma.

Tags:  Alliance Management  Annick DeSwaef  Brent Harvey  Candido Arreche  certification  Consensa  digital  Donna Peek  Dr. Shawn Wilson  Eli Lilly and Company  Equipro International  Lynda McDermott  partnership  Russ Buchanan  SAS  Stuart Kliman  Vantage Partners  Xerox Worldwide Alliances 

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What’s Brewing in the 2016 Biopharma Conference Beaker? | Part 1

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, July 19, 2016

In a recent interview, ASAP CEO Mike Leonetti, CSAP, provided a sampling of what’s to come at the 2016 ASAP BioPharma Conference. He offered insights into the changing landscape for partnerships and how alliance managers and others need to adapt, as well as a preview of speakers and cutting edge sessions and workshops.  

Why is this a must-attend conference for alliance managers, CEOs, and others working in the biopharma, healthcare, and life sciences industries? 

Partnership management is changing. If they are performing their jobs the same way they were two years ago, they likely are leaving money on the table or missing great new opportunities. This year’s conference offers programming to learn how to partner in new environments, which includes tech, academic, and healthcare system partnerships. An ongoing message of the conference is to understand that the ecosystem is getting larger, and their enterprise now represents their company, partners, and the entire healthcare system. As alliance managers, we can no longer be comfortable defining our box as an asset partnership and staying there. We will limit our creation of value in our companies unless we harvest the enterprise. 

What’s new at this year’s conference? 

We are going to talk a lot about the changes in partnerships across the industry. We are not only going to talk about biopharma and healthcare, we are going to hear from people on the tech side of ASAP regarding what’s important and best practices when partnering with tech. It will provide key opportunities to learn about tech companies and how they partner. If biopharma and healthcare are going to partner with tech, each of these industries needs to have a clear understanding of the others’ expectations. 

What timely message is Dr. Samuel Nussbaum, strategic consultant at EGB Advisors, Inc., likely to provide during his keynote address? 

The keynote, “Healing the U.S. Health Care System: Collaboration is Essential,” which is scheduled for the afternoon of Wed., Sept. 7, will tie directly into our theme. Sam is going to talk about his background and expertise with the impact of public policy on healthcare systems and healthcare reform. He will talk a lot about how important collaboration is to finding a solution to our system crisis; my guess is he may try to give examples of how manufacturers, payers, policy experts, academics, and anybody else in the healthcare system can collaborate and partner to overcome major obstacles regarding healthcare reform. 

Who will give the plenary address? 

Our plenary will be given by Stéphane Thiroloix, CEO of Mayoly Spindler, on the morning of Thurs., Sept. 8. Mayoly Spindler is an emerging family-owned, independent French company, originally founded by a husband-and-wife team working to provide gastroenterology and dermatology healthcare solutions. Stéphane joined as managing director in 2014, and he has lots of leadership experience from working in multiple biopharma executive roles before joining Mayoly Spindler. He is an advocate who understands what it takes to be successful in a partnership and basically created the partnership management function in his last two roles.  He will share what a CEO’s expectations are for alliance management success. 

To view the program and download brochure information, go to www. asapweb.org/biopharma.

Tags:  alliance management  biopharma  collaborate  Dr. Samuel Nussbaum  ecosystem  healthcare  healthcare reform  Mayoly Spindler  partner  partnership  Partnership management  Partnerships  public policy  Stéphane Thiroloix  tech 

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Minding Your P’s & Cues When Managing an International Alliance: Lessons Learned for Citrix and Fujitsu

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Updated: Saturday, May 21, 2016

Running an alliance is a lot like running a marathon, said John-Marc Clark, managing director of global SI sales at Citrix Systems. “Both cover long distances at a fast pace over a long period of time. Strategy, planning, perseverance, consistent training, and teamwork are critical success factors.  And you can measure the results,” he noted during his talk “Going Global: When the Whole is Greater than the Sum of the Parts,” at the 2016 Global Alliance Summit“Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem,” held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland.  

Clark has been “running” in international alliance marathons for years for Florida-based Citrix—with record-breaking companies such as Tokyo-based Fujitsu, an information technology equipment and services company. Fijitsu is Citrix’s No. 1 partner out of the company’s 10,000 partners, said Clark. It is the largest IT company in Japan—providing technology ranging from super computers to smart phones. “Two or three of the largest Citrix-led deals worldwide were with Fijitsu. We share a pipeline, and we have an open kimono in regard to our business together. We have top-down sponsorship at the CEO level for entire regions, which is very important.” 

The metrics show the partnership is “growing like crazy,” he added. The Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) has been 15 percent over five years for Citrix-based bookings. “Both companies bring tremendous assets to the equation” and incredible customers, such as the German Federal Employment Agency, which is working on locating jobs for one million refugees streaming in from Syria, he noted.   

This marathon “has really been a fantastic journey,” he continued, while launching into the fascinating cultural aspects of doing business with a Japanese company. In the beginning, the 15-year plus partnership “was not a true global alliance. It was more like an assembly of relationships. I was not an alliance manager—I was asked to go into this role because I am highly international. I speak four languages,” he explained. “I knew no one at Fijitsu, which was a big problem.” In one early meeting, “the Fijitsu participants never said a word,” he recalled. “It was more like a ceremonial meeting.” 

As he studied Japanese culture and the new business dynamics, Citrix’s alliance with Fijitsu blossomed. The following hurdles were critical in developing the international partnership, Clark said: 

  • Be like Tom Sawyer, who convinced 15 people to paint a fence—build virtual teams and communication. Don’t make it your project. Make it our project. Use E-mail distribution lists and Share File on the cloud. Communicate constantly, and do your best to link people together. Go out of your way to take your alliance into company events, and always have a one-line elevator pitch. Global organizations don’t collaborate very well: “Your role is the connective tissue.”
  • Don’t default to travel, but don’t underestimate the power of travel. If you really want to build a relationship, go there to seal the deal: “’When in doubt, go on the road,’ a boss once told me. In the beginning, it was imperative. It legitimized me in the eyes of Fijitsu,” he recalled.
  • Establish trust and integrity: If trust is lost, all future negotiation is lost. In a massive and complex organization, identify the critical people with which to establish relationships: “I first worked on integrity and building solid relationships because it was a way to handle potentially contentious and litigious situations.”
  • Create and review a plan; apply precise metrics. Have a tight explanation on what the value proposition is for your company, your partner, and the client. Act on things that are measurable. Read the book The Four Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Jim Huling, and Sean Covey.
  • Have well-written, organized, and fair contracts. “When I came onboard, there were 70 contracts with Fijitsu. It was like black magic: We had people who only knew what the terms were. There is only one now. I believe in the model that when Dec. 31 comes around, everything should auto-renew and harmonize,” he added.

Tags:  alliance manager  Citrix Systems  communication  Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR)  contracts  culture  Fijitsu  global alliance  IT  John-Marc Clark  Metrics  partnership  The Four Disciplines of Execution 

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The Final Handshake: What’s an Alliance Manager To Do When the Time to Terminate Comes?

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, October 8, 2015

Best practices can be just as important in the final stretches of a partnership as they are when development and trials are proceeding apace or the revenue stream is peaking. How to gracefully negotiate that last stretch before the parting handshake was the focus of “The Graceful Exit: Preserving Value and Relationship at the End of the Lifecycle” presented at the 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference on Sept. 10 by Diana L. Brassard, CA-AM, of external partnerships at Basalta US Inc., Mark Coflin, CSAP, senior director of alliance management global business development & licensing, bioscience, at Baxalta US Inc., and Julia Gershkovich, head of US R&D alliance management at Sanofi.

 

Good preparation for terminations preserves companies’ reputations and secures future opportunities. “Preparation is critical,” said Gershkovich. “If a partner decided to terminate, the project team may not be already there. When you get to the termination point, all internal stakeholders need to be aware and agree on this point. There needs to be respect toward the partner and transparencya lot of times we are dealing with smaller companies, and it means a lot to them.”

 

“One termination that comes to mind was with a Japanese company that was well-prepared and respectful,” recalled Coflin. “We thought about how we were going to communicate with them and how to deliver the message, including whether we should be meeting with them face-to-face. It needs to be done in mutually respectful way, because there might be future business.”

 

The termination process often is very long and termination activity can take two years, observed Brassard. “There is a need internally to lock in and assure that you have resources, budgets assigned, and clarity with respect to senior leadership and with respect to obligations.”

 

Go through very defined, structured procedures, followed by putting together a table for when the transactions would go throughbefore the termination is completed, she added. “This is all very important for business development and legal procedures, and eventually for resource allocations to maintain the core team.”

 

When is it appropriate to wear more of a project management hat as an alliance manager during the termination process? “There were one or two projects where I played both roles,” said Brassard. “When things started getting more negative, and the data coming in was negative, there was a decision that the alliance manager was going to take more of a key role. The alliance management best practices were not complimentary to each other, so it was very helpful to have project management tools. A lot of what I was trying to do was maintain a respectful relationship.”

 

“I was fortunate in most of my cases,” added Gershkovich. “I had project managers working with me, and they were great. We had to deliver the messages, and in one case it was clear that it was mutually understandable because the data didn’t work out. But in another case, we had to go to district resolution to stop the program, and we were still able to continue the relationship and preserve the value.”

 

A smattering from their list of dos and don’ts:  

  • Let partners know as soon as possible.
  • Map out a communication plan.
  • Meet regularly.
  • Get together with legal stakeholders, and go through the legal provisions of the contract.
  • Be aware of cultural differences, sensitivities, and time zones.
  • Negotiate in a way where value is preserved; present it in a way that they can take it right away.
  • Intellectual property is importantbe prepared that all checkpoints are done.
  • Prior to a termination notice, communicate with your partnerthe process is so much easier with good communication if the program doesn’t work out.
  • Include public and investor announcements, but if a company may go bankrupt and/or the product may be taken out of the pipeline, minimize the announcement.
  • Craft the termination carefully, and keep in mind there may be ongoing studies.
  • Don’t assume your partner is going to be as organized and experienced as you are.
  • Don’t assume they have plans for receiving the asset that you have made.

Tags:  2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference  alliance management  Basalta US Inc.  Baxalta US Inc.  Best practices  communicate  Diana L. Brassard  Julia Gershkovich  Mark Coflin  partner  partnership  project management  Sanofi  stakeholders  terminations  transparency 

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