IBM Study: Biopharmaceutical Companies Risk Delays In Producing Targeted Treatment Solutions When They Fail To Partner

February 23, 2009 at 11:00 am Leave a comment


A new survey released
today by IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Silico Research reveals that if
biopharmaceutical — or life-sciences — companies fail to
collaborate, they risk costly delays in the production of new
medicines, medical devices, diagnostics and support services.



The survey, “An Imperfect Harmony: Alliances within the life sciences
industry,” spotlights a paradox: while the number of alliances
between larger and smaller life-sciences companies has increased over
the past decade, the companies’ abilities to effectively work
together and produce new medicines has not been achieved. In fact,
the IBM study found 55 percent of life-sciences chief executives
surveyed do not plan to partner extensively over the next three
years. Moreover, while many large biopharmaceutical companies have
the strength to collaborate, they fail to act.



According to the IBM study, many large life-sciences companies have
made marginal, three-to-four percent improvements in their abilities
to find new partners, negotiate terms, and manage the alliances they
have established over the past two years.



For life-sciences companies to grow smarter about healthcare, they
must attract the best scientists, develop targeted treatments and
services for specific disease pathologies, and move into new or
emerging markets. To accomplish this goal, especially in the current
economic environment, companies must collaborate even more
extensively than they currently plan to do.



The IBM study uncovered many factors that drive a company to partner
with another. Size is not one of them. Larger companies do not always
dictate the terms when it comes to alliances. Today, smaller companies
with promising molecules can drive a much harder bargain. Development
expertise and overall reputation are among the top factors companies
seek. Conversely, scientific expertise ranks only eighth on the list
of factors, primarily because most companies believe they have a
strong background in pure research.



Creative Partnering



The growing use of co-promotion and equity arrangements is an
important sign that biopartnering is maturing. Almost half of
biopharmaceutical companies are now using more creative, risk-sharing
arrangements to finance the development of new medicines.



Several companies have adopted new business models for developing
products using different partners at different stages in the R&D
process. For example, Debiopharma in-licenses the molecules it
develops and registers them before out-licensing for sales and
marketing.



Furthermore, many large firms are expanding their links with academia
and adopting a more strategic approach to such alliances. Rather than
using academic medical centers to design and conduct clinical trials,
pharmaceutical companies are now commissioning university scientists
to solve specific research problems in areas of mutual interest.



Four steps to becoming an alluring biopartner



IBM survey analysis suggests that life-sciences companies can take
four steps to developing productive partnerships in a world where
delivery models are rapidly changing.



— Start from a position of strength: Since one of the factors industry
and academic researchers consider when they are looking for a partner is
the product position of the company concerned, it makes sense for any large
biopharmaceutical company to start building alliances in their strongest
areas and only moving into others when they have worked out strategies that
help compensate for any weaknesses.



— Search for a win-win: Once a potential partner is identified,
opportunities to “sweeten” the deal include not only financial
considerations, but also development expertise and leveraging
relationships. For example, biopharmaceutical companies more frequently
take the career goals of industry executives and academic researchers into
account.



— Look after the “ABCs” of managing alliances: Looking after three key
areas — the internal alignment of a company’s business strategy and
functions with its research goals, the definition and management of its
boundaries with other parties in the extended enterprise, and ongoing
commitment to the alliance — is essential.



— Develop partnering skills throughout the extended enterprise:
Successful alliances demand development of those skills required to engage
different kinds of partnerships. While some companies try to force-fit all
their alliances into one mold, those that succeed work beyond their own
boundaries and tailor their approaches to a variety of partnering models
identified in the survey.



“The Industry is at risk of delaying new targeted treatment
solutions if biopharmaceutical companies do not collaborate more
effectively,” said Guy Lefever, who leads IBM’s Global Life Sciences
practice.



The 2008 biopartnering survey — the fifth to be conducted since 1999
— aims to assess how well large pharmaceutical and biotech companies
interact with their partners. It draws on the responses of 223 people
from 209 commercial and academic organizations around the world.
Fifty-five percent of the 223 respondents work in biotech companies,
while 29 percent work in other areas of the life sciences sector
(including pharmaceuticals, medical device manufacturing, contract
research and contract services). Academic researchers comprise 16
percent of the total sample.



For more information and to download the study, please visit
http://www.ibm.com.



For more information on Silico Research please visit
http://www.silico-research.com.



Silico Research

[Via http://www.medicalnewstoday.com]

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