Rx/Dx Partnerships - Four Basic Rules - Diaceutics

Rx/Dx Partnerships – Four Basic Rules

October 19th, 2012

Tom Zietlow, PhD, MBA

After working on over 20 Rx/Dx partnerships, Tom Zietlow, President of Diaceutics, believes there are four main issues you need to focus on when establishing an Rx/Dx partnership in order to make it a successful one.

A big part of the Diaceutics Pharma Readiness Report published last year [2012], and the 2011 Leadership eBrief that revisits several of the companies previously reviewed (email info@www.diaceutics.com for a copy), concerns the different kinds of relationships that pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies have in the personalized medicine space – from the traditional separate company/transactional-based relationship to fully integrated diagnostic competency inside the pharmaceutical partner. With such a wide range of options, there is naturally a search for some top-line rules for these relationships.

Through the Delphi surveys in 2008 and 2011 in which a number of you participated, along with our retrospective analysis of some fifteen years of Rx/Dx partnerships, we have together identified the good, the bad and the ugly of these relationships. In a quest for simplicity, we have produced a picture that many of our clients have used in their internal management presentations that visually explains the issues in this area.

We believe there to be four main issues you need to focus on when establishing an Rx/Dx partnership in order to make it a successful one. Some of the direct comments from the studies we did together are included.

  1. Establish a joint strategy
  2. Ensure appropriate levels of control
  3. Build a robust understanding of the other side’s business
  4. Agree realistic timelines

Agree realistic timescales – that’s about as simple as you can get, right? However, during the course of a clinical program, timelines can change due to new clinical data (“great data, let’s accelerate to get to approval in 6 months instead of 18 months”). In the traditional pharmaceutical world, many (although certainly not all!) timelines can be shortened by applications of significant new investment, with the expectation that the return on investment for 12 more months on the market can be substantial. From the perspective of the diagnostic, the return on a given diagnostic test may be much lower, not justifying a big investment to bring to market sooner. Of course, given a great ‘joint strategy’, differences in perspectives can be managed, but require both sides to truly understand each other’s business.



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