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WHEN THE RHYTHM OF BUSINESS PRESENTED the results of its 2012 Practice of Alliance Management in the Biopharmaceutical Industry Study at the ASAP Biopharma Conference last year, the overarching conclusion we shared was that the performance of alliance managers is now in the spotlight—and it’s executive leadership that constitutes the principal audience.
Based on formal interviews and many interactions with biopharma alliance managers and executives since publishing the results of the study, we’re convinced that the focus is only getting more intense. At the same time, new roles for alliance managers are spreading to additional parts of the organization and industry.
The opportunity for biopharma alliance professionals to make significant contributions has never been greater—nor has the re- quirement to produce tangible, measurable value.
The Importance of Being Strategic
Let’s start with the increased attention on alliances and, by ex- tension, alliance managers.
Our study summary report notes that the industry is experienc- ing an acceleration of certain trends. In particular, we are seeing greater emphasis on the strategic nature of alliance management duties, the development of expertise throughout the organization, and greater engagement of the executive suite. These trends repre- sent a platform for the next stage of alliance management maturity. This isn’t happening in a vacuum. With at least 50 percent of both revenue and pipeline being driven through alliances (see Figure 1), what has been referred to by some as alliance or collaboration “fatigue” cannot be allowed to set in.
Because of the significant financial implications of partnerships, commercial alliance managers are being tasked with realizing the intended value of therapeutic franchises that depend on alliances and expanding value through life cycle management and new proj- ects with existing partners. At the other end of the pipeline, alliance professionals working in research and development are expected to contribute to research productivity. This bottom-line focus is in- creasingly part of the remit of the alliance management groups that have the ear of the executive suite—and thus will get the resources and executive engagement they need to be successful.