Partnering and Managing Partnerships (Personalized Medicine: What Pharma Should Do to Get Ready) - Diaceutics

Partnering and Managing Partnerships (Personalized Medicine: What Pharma Should Do to Get Ready)

September 30th, 2015

Tessa Sandberg

In Part 3 of the series, ‘Personalized Medicine: What Pharma Should Do to Get Ready’, Tessa Sandberg of Diaceutics discusses the ways to establish and manage partnerships between pharma and diagnostic companies and how to keep the relationship healthy.

Have you ever experienced a couple breaking up within your circle of friends or family? Sometimes, everyone will agree that the relationship could never have lasted, they were just too different. But the reaction might also be, “I don‘t know why she left him, he is such a nice guy.” A nice guy, maybe, but not the right guy for her, it seems.

In a relationship, we are all looking for the right person to suit our different needs. For instance, one might need an adventurous partner while another wants a steady partner with no emotional swings. In a relationship, partners may fulfill all, some or not enough of our needs, as in the case of Mr Nice Guy and his finally not-so-convinced fiancée. But whatever your differences are, there are three critical success factors to make a relationship last: understand your own needs, understand your partner‘s needs and understand how to make the two fit together sufficiently well to carry you both through the good times and the bad.

A personal relationship is similar to a partnership between a pharma company and a diagnostic company. Should a pharma company partner with a well-established diagnostic company or a small and highly specialized one? As we have illustrated, there is no right answer to this question because every situation is different – companies are looking for different types of partnerships according to their needs. For instance, Eli Lilly partnered with Primera Dx while Bayer partnered with Ventana, two completely different diagnostic companies in terms of size and assets. So how can companies maintain a healthy pharma-diagnostic relationship‘? We have identified three relevant best practices that lay strong foundations and will hopefully avoid a business ‘divorce‘ (Figure 1).

  1. Identify your needs
    Are we lacking any specific expertise? How many partnerships do we want to engage in? Do we want to partner with different companies or with the same company for both the development and the commercialization process?
  1. Select and engage with a partner
    Based on the pharmaceutical company’s needs, a shortlist of potential partners should be drawn up. The company will select the final partner(s) by giving weight to additional criteria such as development capability, medical platforms, clinical application and commercial experience.
  1. Manage the partnership
    Managing the partnership over the long run is essential to keeping a coordinated dialogue. We would advise that companies delegate rather than leave full responsibility to the partner, as we described in the article “[php snippet=34 param=”title=Integrating and Aligning the Diagnostic Strategy with the Drug Strategy&id=966&useTitle=true”]”.

As you will have noticed by now, there is no single winning partnering model that every company should follow. However, the three best practices we have mentioned are vital to keep in mind when engaging with a partner. Based on our experience in the field of personalized medicine, managing the partnership is the practice most often forgotten. Pharma tend to assume that the partner will do everything as it has the expertise. However, forgetting to manage the partnership and leaving one partner—often the diagnostic company—with full responsibility may lead to a break up, especially if the needs of a company change during the process or there is any miscommunication.

In conclusion, after selecting your ideal partner, make sure you keep working on the relationship. Isn‘t that also good advice for you and your own special someone?


Figure 1. The steps pharmaceutical companies should take to ensure a long-term partnership.



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