Successfully Managing Strategic Partnerships For Product Development
I’m a strong proponent of partnerships with life science companies and research institutions. I’m motivated by the inherent synergies of these partnerships, and the opportunities they represent to expedite drug development cycles and lengthen the amount of patent exclusivity once on the market.
The main objective of these partnerships is to spur innovation and ultimately develop a new and valuable treatment for a particular disease-state or condition. While these partnerships offer significant opportunity, it is always a challenge to manage projects conducted through collaboration.
Here are my thoughts on best practices for decreasing the day-to-day challenges encountered when collaborating with strategic partners.
- Relentlessly pursue alignment on goals and priorities – Make sure both entities are aligned and moving in the same direction. It is both frustrating and time-consuming when the partners are moving in different directions.
- Document everything – In any group effort it’s imperative that there is clarity around what decisions were made, who agreed to them, and who will implement them. At the end of each meeting verbally summarize the decisions made in that meeting and who will implement them. After the meeting, document these decisions and actions either through summary minutes or partnership reports. Consider instituting a process for approving these documents at the next meeting if necessary.
- Develop contingencies in advance – Engage the team to think about likely scenarios and develop contingencies in advance. It is imperative to be prepared to take quick action when problems arise. Developing contingencies in advance allows the team to do this in calmer circumstances, and not in the heat of a stressful situation. Also, think about succession planning for the team. Leaders and team members may leave the project for other opportunities or promotions. Losing key team members can be significant challenge. Develop a succession plan and on-boarding process for new team members.
- Open communication amongst team members – Many times team members don’t want to bring up potentially negative topics with the team. It is better to bring concerns out in the open, as long as it is done constructively and appropriately. Think in advance about the process for bringing forward sensitive topics and resolving conflicts.
As the industry continues to face pressures to identify new revenue opportunities and decrease the amount of time and money spent on development activities these partnerships will be optimized for the future.
I enjoy talking with top pharmaceutical executives about their business. Please call me if you would like to discuss how to improve the way you manage your strategic partnerships for product development. I can be reached at 1-866-766-9489.
I’ve shared my thoughts and recommendations. Now I want to hear from you. Have you considered partnership with research institutions? If so, have you pursued these partnerships? Share what went well and what didn’t with us. If you haven’t pursued these partnerships, why not? What are the hurdles and challenges that are keeping you from trying this? Join the conversation and share your questions, challenges, and best practices.
If you’re interested in more information on unique partnerships for product development, we recently published a White Paper titled “Identifying Strategic Partners for Product Development”.