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The C-Suite Takes Front Seat in Lively Panel Discussion at ASAP BioPharma Conference (Part 3)

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, November 1, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2018

This is a continuation from the panel discussion “Speak My Language: How to Have a High Impact Conversation with the C-suite,” which took place at the 2018 ASAP BioPharma Conference. See Part 1 of this blog post for background information on the panel, which included:

  • James C. Mullen, chairman of the board of directors at Editas Medicine, Inc., who has grown many organizations dependent on partnerships
  •   Samantha Singer, chief operating officer at the Broad Institute, whose organization partners with multiple industries to achieve the Institute’s mission to impact human health throughout the world
  • Alex Waldron, chief commercial officer at Pear Therapeutics, who is highly skilled at bringing in business development and alliance management expertise to grow a company through partnerships

Christine Carberry, CSAP, chief operating officer at Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, moderated the session. At this point in the discussion, Carberry had just prompted panel members to answer the following: “Let’s dig into where things tend to go awry. How do alliance professionals demonstrate their value to the organization? The second half of my question is, what are some of the pitfalls? Where do alliances get in trouble, and how can an alliance manager avoid those pitfalls?” After listening to the responses (see Part 2 of this blog for panelists’ answers), she added her thoughts.

Carberry: Build C-suite-to-C-suite [connections] early on in the relationship. I use to joke that it’s important to have relationships between companies that play golf so the CEOs can get together. You need to be comfortable getting on the phone with them and having a conversation that can go like this: “This is what we’ve done, tried, and this is why it didn’t work.” This is helpful to an executive. We need to implement what will remove barriers and allow us to go forward. The value proposition may have just changed for the companies: That beautiful future might not get created, because we all know divorce is part of the deal. One of the things you will discover as an alliance manager is  you will get people in the organization grumbling about the partner.

Mullen: How many of you inherited a contact, and you were not at the table? [At this point, nearly everyone raised his or her hand while laughter rippled through the room.] Look for the wishy-washy language. Those are the issues that never got resolved during the contract negotiations.

Singer: No matter how good your business development is, the reality is [your perception of the contract] will not match three months later.

Mullen: If you are talking about “stage gate,” make sure it means the same thing between the partners. It may seem really obvious, but it’s not. Make exactly sure of what they are saying.

Carberry: Have clear definitions. For example, “First Patient In.” You may think things are commonly understood, but lawyers say it’s important to make sure definitions are as clear as they possibly can be.

Carberry then fielded an audience question from Jeremy Ahouse, CSAP, vice president alliances, Merus. “A lot of alliance people complain that when they have to bring bad news, the C-suite thinks they only bring problems. How can you do that so that the messenger doesn’t feel like they will get shot?”

Mullen: You need a fairly straight scorecard for the goals of the partnership, and you need a record against that. That way,  it becomes evident that you are making progress. The fact is, [otherwise], you are just raising problems. Check off the problems, and let them know that they talked to you about it, that work was done, and here’s how it got resolved. Keep a high-level scorecard.

Waldron: I agree on the scorecard. And talk about successes, don’t only talk about problems.

Carberry: Everyone is conditioned to success. So if you are doing your job well, you are having those conversations about problems with us.

Waldron: If your company doesn’t have some kind of periodic review, push for that—even if it’s a 15-minute review. Push for that so you can get in front of them. We had a lot of customers, and both the customers and our company didn’t do everything perfectly. But when I had that review of information first, then when they called me up and let me know, 90 percent of the problem was already solved. I knew about it, cared about it, and it got solved.

See parts one and two of this blog and ASAP Media’s ongoing coverage from the 2018 ASAP BioPharma Conference on the ASAP Blog at www.strategic-alliances.org. You will find interviews with conference presenters and other coverage of leadership and strategy, biopharma-tech partnerships, and other trending conference topics in recent and forthcoming editions of Strategic Alliance Magazine and eSAM Plus

Tags:  Alex Waldron  alliance managers  Broad Institute  Christine Carberry  collaborations  c-suite  Editas Medicine  James C. Mullen  Keryx Biopharmaceuticals  partnerships  Pear Therapeutics  Samantha Singer  scorecard 

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The C-Suite Takes Front Seat in Lively Panel Discussion at ASAP BioPharma Conference (Part 2)

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, October 31, 2018

This article continues ASAP Media’s coverage of the panel discussion “Speak My Language: How to Have a High Impact Conversation with the C-suite,” which took place September 25 at the 2018 ASAP BioPharma Conference in Boston. After introducing the panel members (see Part 1 of this blog post for background information on the panelists), Christine Carberry, CSAP, chief operating officer at Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, prompted the panel members to answer the following: “Let’s dig into where things tend to go awry. How do alliance professionals demonstrate their value to the organization? The second half of my question is, what are some of the pitfalls? Where do alliances get in trouble, and how can an alliance manager avoid those pitfalls?”

Samantha Singer, chief operating officer at the Broad Institute: Alliance managers demonstrate their value in their ability to escalate appropriately and bring issues to senior management. We don’t always understand where relationships are going to stumble when we go around the corner. Where I’ve seen situations fall down is when alliance managers think they need to solve problems first; coming to the senior executive when there’s something wrong without ideas for how to solve it. Also, treat the relationship as a relationship. Make sure the transactional doesn’t get in the way of the relationship for you and the entire team. The last point is: Keep the conversations honest. When people are collaborating together, someone usually wants to impress someone else or know more. But we all know, on projects, that is not how you get things done: Tackle problems, and be creative. And make sure that honest dialog really happens.

James C. Mullen, chairman of the board of directors at Editas Medicine, Inc.: Understand whoever is running around the C-suite, they only know so much. You need to decide what they need to know. The tendency is to over-communicate. I’ve received 40-page project reports that I never read. I only care about the problems. Focus on escalating the exceptions. That’s what I need to know about. The best way to get my attention is: Don’t try to tell me everything as if I am on the same level as you are. If you dump those 40 pages in my in-box, they never get read. Escalate it, and escalate it quickly. If there is an issue, highlight it and tell me what the implication of this issue is. I want to hear ideas on how to solve the problem. Finally, I want to know if you need help from me to work on a problem. Those are my four steps. The last thing is: You need to know the details of the contract. And if the realities of the partnership are drifting to someplace else, you need to address that contractually. If they drift too far, then you are in a no-mans land of who-was-supposed-to-do-what.

Alex Waldron, chief commercial officer at Pear Therapeutics: I am empathetic in one area: You are the people who need to implement the contract that has just been written. You’ve got to translate the three million pages into what it means for the company and get that going forward. The quickest way to do this is to create as much transparency as you possibly can with the partners out there. Alliances are like marriages: When you get married, you are star struck. It’s a wonderful idea that is almost never accurate. As both companies grow, the priorities will change over time: Your job is to remind everyone of that. Don’t use the “E” wordEscalate. Try to understand the alliance manager on the other side of the table, and create as much transparency as you can, even if it means saying “I understand why you are saying ‘no’ to me, but I must insist based on this contract….”  Managing the contract is absolutely critical. To ensure the success of the contract is essential to avoid pitfalls.

See recent and forthcoming editions of eSAM Plus and Strategic Alliance Magazine and revisit the ASAP Blog at www.strategic-alliances.org for continuing, comprehensive ASAP Media team coverage of the 2018 ASAP BioPharma Conference. 

Tags:  Alex Waldron  alliance managers  Broad Institute  Christine Carberry  collaborations  c-suite  Editas Medicine  James C. Mullen  Keryx Biopharmaceuticals  partnerships  Pear Therapeutics  Samantha Singer 

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The Value of the Alliance Watchdog—Flagging and Wrestling with ‘Wicked Problems’

Posted By Geena B. Richards and Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Updated: Monday, September 17, 2018

“Wicked problems”—those stubborn, persnickety alliance challenges that defy easy answers—are sometimes difficult to pinpoint, discuss, and address in partnerships. Which is why Jeremy Ahouse, CSAP, vice president of alliances at Merus Pharmaceuticals, selected the topic to address head-on in his upcoming session “Grappling with Wicked Problems in Alliance Management” at the 2018 ASAP BioPharma Conference. The September 24-26 conference will be held for a second year at the Hyatt Regency Boston—conveniently located in the back bay near several esteemed academic and research institutions.

Never one to avoid a grueling topic, Ahouse developed his session after interviewing several senior alliance members about the hardest parts of alliances. Some of the seemingly intractable challenges were downright wicked, he concluded. Hence, his session on helping alliance managers learn how to confront and wrestle with the tough stuff.

“Wicked problems” can be particularly corrosive to meeting dynamics and challenging to contract clauses and/or shifting priorities. Ahouse pulls heavily from renowned public leadership guru Ron Heifetz for ideas on how to deal with such issue. There are three types of problems, he says. “In Type 1 problems, you agree on the problem definition and potential solutions. Project managers can often successfully address these,” he states. “In Type 2, we agree on our understanding of the problem but are still working on the solutions. In Type 3, we don’t even agree on what the problem is.”

An alliance manager must determine which type of problem they are facing to address it. Sometimes this process requires deep thinking and analysis because the problems are difficult to recognize and complex, which makes them so “wicked.” But there can be great value in wrestling with complexity, he purports. They may be tough to identify, but resolving problems is vital to partnerships. “Alliance managers are uniquely positioned to see problems that come out of interactions between companies and functions,” Ahouse points out. “This puts us in a position to notice early and alert our teams.”

This watchdog role is important to keep the collaboration running smoothly and most efficiently. There is no magic potion to addressing these issues, he quickly points out. “I don’t have simple answers to these problems.”

But discussing them makes them less “wicked,” he adds. And there are good, better, and best ways to communicate when a “wicked problem” surfaces.

Ahouse plans to focus on the challenges rather than success stories associated with these kinds of alliance problems. This way, the audience can have first-hand experience wrestling with real-life, hard problems that might get ignored in an alliance management situation.

The goal for the session is to create “an opportunity to start talking about [problems] and get ASAP members wrestling with them in a public forum,” he concludes. He plans “to stay away from simplistic answers” and encourage ASAP participants to think deeply about topics that need confrontation but many shy away from because of their complexity.

For more about Ahouse’s session, check out “'No Whitewash': Going Beyond 'Simplistic Answers' to the Toughest Alliance Management Challenges” in the July 2018 issue of eSAM Plus.

Tags:  alliance challenges  Alliance Management.#ASAP BioPharma  alliance manager  Jeremy Ahouse  Merus Pharmaceuticals  partnerships  Ron Heifetz 

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Fascinating Mix of Case Studies Woven Into ASAP Conference Programming This Fall

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, September 17, 2018

Trio of conferences this September, October, November will include plenty of practical sessions with real-life examples of partnering success stories

The next issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine will include a fascinating case study on the Dutch Alliance for Data and Tax on Wages and Benefits, a complex alliance between the Dutch IRS, National Social Security Administration, and Statistics Netherland. The two alliance managers in the article will also provide details on how they formed, managed, and problem-solved the complex collaboration in a session at the upcoming 2018 ASAP European Alliance Summit: “Owning Your Ecosystem & Building the Future,” in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Nov. 8-9 (location to be announced).  

Case studies are a powerful way to make a point, demonstrate useful tools and techniques, and highlight the best practices used to solve alliance challenges. There’s nothing quite as impressionable as a real-life alliance success story packed with examples of problem solving, effective frameworks, and cutting-edge techniques. In fact, the European Summit will kick off with a “Case Study of a Large-Scale Bi-Lateral Strategic Alliance,” presented by Christophe Pinard, director of global strategic alliance at Schneider Electric and Jean Noel Enckle from emerging solution ecosystem development at Cisco. The two speakers plan to provide their reflections and case perspectives on the dynamic, progressive alliance between the two companies. 

Their talk will set the stage for a summit where as many as 30 case studies will be tucked into sessions spanning a wide range of cross-industry topics, including

The Internet of Things (IoT), telecom, financial services, pharma/life sciences, digital ecosystems, telecom, energy, fintech, consumer goods, and other areas of interest. Presenters will include the heads of alliance divisions, CEOs, and other professionals.

A similar trend is afoot at the upcoming 2018 ASAP BioPharma Conference: “Creating Valuable and Innovative Partnerships by Driving the Alliance Mindset,” at the Hyatt Regency Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, Sept. 24-26.  Case studies are a great tool for teaching, and they will be central to the session “Let’s Make a Deal: Driving Better Contracts to Win in Clinical Genomics,” presented by Katherine Ellison, CA-AM, associate director of alliances at clinical genomics leader Illumina, Inc. Attendees will be asked to consider several of Illumina’s case studies and then delve into key areas where the alliance teams worked collaboratively with business development throughout the deal negotiation process.

Participants are asked to prepare for the session and bring their own case studies to share and discuss with peers on relevant topics, such as:

  • Methods to transform working relationships
  • Shared process models and governance structures to facilitate collaboration
  • Fit-for-purpose tools that drive internal and external information sharing
  • The merits of centralized and decentralized alliance and business development models

If you’re more interested in customer case studies on the tech side, join some of the biggest tech movers and shakers for one day, October 17, at the 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum: “Owning Your Ecosystem & Building the Future,” at the Four Points by Sheraton, San Jose Airport, San Jose, California. Keynote speakers Mitch Mayne and Wendi Whitmore of IBM, plans to weave some relevant alliance experience into his talk “Cyber Security Ecosystem Meets the Customer Experience,” and there will be plenty of concrete case study examples from Scott Van Valkenburgh, CSAP, vice president, global alliances leader at Genpact in his talk “Robotic Process Automation (RPA): Partnering Considerations.” Genpact has implements several successful RPA projects with Genpact’s RPA partnering strategy, and Van Valkenburgh plans to share lessons as well as customer case studies as he discusses Genpact’s launch and early RPA strategy.  

Learn more about these and other case studies, review additional sessions and content, and sign up for early bird discounts at the following links:

BioPharma Conference: http://www.asapbiopharma.org/sessions.php

Tech Partner Forum: http://www.asaptechforum.org/index.php

European Alliance Summit: https://www.asapeusummit.org/

Tags:  alliances  ASAP BioPharma Conference  ASAP European Alliance Summit  ASAP Tech Partner Forum  case studies  Christophe Pinard  Cisco  Clinical Genomics  Cyber Security  ecosystem  Genpact  governance  IBM  Illumina  IoT  Jean Noel Enckle  partnering  partnerships  RPA projects  Schnieder Electric  strategy 

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‘You Give Me a Buck, and We Give You Back Three’: Pharma Partnering Leaders Discuss Roles—and the Value of Alliance Management

Posted By Genevieve Fraser, Friday, April 13, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The evolving roles of alliance executives—and capturing the value of the alliance function—were among the many topics that emerged as during the Tuesday, March 27 leadership panel discussion, “Driving Alliance Excellence into the Future,” moderated by Andy Eibling, CSAP, former Covance vice president of alliances, at the ASAP 2018 Global Alliance Summit, “Propelling Partnering for the On-Demand World: New Perspectives + Proven Practices for Collaborative Business,” March 26-28, 2018. Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.

 

Pharma executives joining Eibling for the discussion included Casey Capparelli, global product general manager in oncology at Amgen; Nancy Griffin, CA-AM, vice president and head of alliance management, global business development & licensing at Novartis; Mark Noguchi, vice president and global head, alliances and asset management, at Roche; and David S. Thompson, CA-AM, chief alliance officer, Eli Lilly and Company. (Editor’s Note: See the forthcoming April 2018 edition of eSAM Plus for more coverage of this fascinating leadership discussion.)

 

When Eibling threw out the topic of alliance management’s role in acquisitions, mergers, and divestments, and business development and licensing, he noted, “You need to differentiate between a stop and start in terms of divestments. Divestments can be ongoing. Someone in the group manages the ongoing process.”

 

Capparelli: In Amgen that holds true for small acquisitions, but large complex acquisitions need to be managed separately.

 

Thompson: You need to look to someone else to run a large acquisition.

 

Eibling: There’s lots happening in the pharma world today, but will it continue?

 

Thompson: There are more and more partnerships. The trend grows and grows. Today each alliance manager is involved with 20 to 30 alliances. How do you manage ever increasing volume? It’s hard to predict if something will come to fruition.

 

Eibling: Let’s look at the role of the alliance manager, and how it has shifted between project management and alliance management. Alliance management and project management need to be connected at the hip and carve out space through the partnership management team. There are three roles in a partnership management team. The question is who drives those team meetings? Who is accountable? Does the project manager manage the success of the alliance?

 

Thompson: Most M&A integration gets done in 100 days. The work looks the same except it’s compressed. It takes 100 days to swallow an alliance. It’s at a pace you need in an M&A.

 

Capparelli: Deal making is a transactional approach, but building trust generates respect.

 

Griffin: You build an operating model in the core so that you build consistent capabilities.

 

Noguchi: The Roche alliance group is modeled after Lilly. The skill set is there but compressed.

 

Eibling: There’s a shift between deal makers and an alliance manager with a partner. No one understands the dynamics as well as an alliance manager. With ever expanding projects, it’s the alliance manager who understands motivations and how to construct the alliance and M&A deal.

“Let’s look at value,” Eibling said, wrapping up the panel discussion. “How do you capture the value of alliance management? How do you define value?” he asked Thompson.

“Alliances are not efficient but effective,” Thompson asserted.

 

“Fear is a great motivator,” he continued. “I’ve seen too many alliances go out of existence. They focused on relationship management but didn’t expand beyond that to the legal and business risk. That contributed to their demise. They didn’t feel valued in the organization. So, in times of hardship, they’re an easy target to eliminate,” he explained.

 

“We saw it happening and so became open about our model. We measure continuation. We are adjudicated by leadership. It’s valuable to talk about your own contributions. You get the [internal] client you’re supporting to agree based on what they think—what they value or don’t value. Is this a risk reduction or efficiency game? You build to be efficient but it’s the face-to-face that often counts.  As for monetizing the value of alliance management, it’s simple. You give me a buck, and we give you back three.”

Tags:  acquisitions  alliance management  alliance manager  Amgen  Andy Eibling  Casey Capparelli  David S. Thompson  Eli Lilly and Company  leadership  M&A  M&A integration  Mark Noguchi  Nancy Griffin  Novartis  partner  partnerships  Pharma executives  project manager  Roche 

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