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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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Sharing Insights and Successes at the 2017 Global Alliance Summit ASAP Issues Call for Topics and Presentations and Opens Nominations for 2017 Alliance Excellence Awards

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, August 29, 2016
Updated: Saturday, August 27, 2016

The ASAP Global Alliance Summit is a great place to learn, grow,  and network. It’s also a tremendous opportunity for your company and its workers to shine. Please pull up a chair at the programming table, brainstorm with us, and help ASAP create the world’s largest and most prestigious gathering of alliance executives. We’re asking you and your company to be part of our team and submit ideas to the Call for Topics & Presentations by September 15, 2016, the deadline for the 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit in San Diego, California, Feb. 28-March 2. If you have questions or comments about ASAP’s Call for Topics & Presentations, please visit our website at www.asapweb.org/cft 

While you’re at it, don’t forget to mark your calendars for the 2017 Global Alliance Summit to gain exclusive access to the most current models, methods, research, and practices, as well as metrics and tools in the part­nering and alliance management profession. Imbibe the latest developments and practices in the industry through powerful keynotes, presentations, and executive panels, as well as extensive networking opportunities.   


As the insider, you know what your company is up to behind the scenes. Maybe it needs to be made public and shared for others to emulate. It may be time for your company and colleagues to be recognized for exceptional alli­ance practices. Please consider submitting a nomination for the 2017 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards, to be an­nounced at the 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit in San Diego. We want to hear about your successes
and so do others! Use the Quick Form for pre-screening, followed by completion of the standard, long form in a specific award category for review. Is your company having a significant so­cial impact through partnering? If so, consider submitting for the Corporate Social Responsibility Award. Let your colleagues know, too, about this exceptional award oppor­tunity. You can learn more about the submission process by going www.asapweb.org/awards.

Tags:  alliance  ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards  ASAP Global Alliance Summit  Call for Topics and Presentations  metrics  networking  partnering  practices  programming  research 

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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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