In Part 8 of the series, ‘Personalized Medicine: What Pharma Should Do to Get Ready’, Tessa Sandberg of Diaceutics discusses how the internal capabilities of a pharmaceutical company, like that of a successful soccer team, are essential to a well-designed organization.
When you are watching a soccer game at the European Championships or the Women’s World Cup, there are often one or two players who immediately catch your eye as they play amazingly well. These players seem to be individually responsible for the final score and the victory. However, team sports – and the clue is in the name – are all about the team performance and every player plays a part in its success. In fact all the players have skills and contribute to the team with their specific expertise, for instance, as the striker or goalkeeper. If ever one of the eleven players is weaker or even has to leave the pitch, let’s say it is the defender, then the team will find it harder to win the game even though the strikers are still scoring goals. Isn’t it really straightforward?
Being part of a company is like playing a team sport, where every member or player is necessary and contributes his specific skills and expertise. Over the years, employees of pharma companies have acquired significant expertise in drug development and commercialization. Today, pharma invests in personalized medicine, an area where diagnostic tests play an important role. To play this personalized medicine game, pharma should invest in the diagnostic expertise of the company by building internal capabilities in the field. How can pharma buy its own version of Manual Neuer in goal, or the Robin van Persie of diagnostics to keep scoring goals, or an equivalent of the three times Olympic women’s soccer gold medallist, Christie Rampone? To address the challenges of building internal capabilities, Diaceutics has identified the following three best practices to help you win in the arena of personalized medicine.
In summary, pharma companies need to develop the right internal capabilities, using the most valuable resources—people—to work on both the drug and the diagnostic development and commercialization processes. However, not all expertise needs to be in-house and pharma companies are encouraged to partner in order to fill in the gaps. Partnering with a technology company to develop an assay or leveraging another company’s expertise in measuring the laboratory and testing landscape could build strength across the organization.
In 2015, New York honored the US Women’s National Soccer Team’s victory at the 2015 World Cup with a ticker tape parade. Fans lined the Manhattan streets to show their appreciation for the players. The final against Japan was a masterful display of a team at the top of its game. Personalized medicine commercial teams of today (the joint drug and diagnostic commercial teams) are, for the most part, still on a learning curve but the skills required to deliver superior return on personalized medicine investments are no longer a mystery. Which company will get on top of its game and win the next gold medal?
Figure 1. Personalized medicine teams from a pharma company need to ensure they have integrated drug and diagnostic commercialization skills across all levels of an organization.
[iii] Diagnostic Landscape