– Press Release –

New book on R&D partnerships highlights the challenges and risks faced by small biotechs and academia when collaborating with big pharmas

London, United Kingdom, 15th February 2016

The global trend in ‘David & Goliath’ R&D partnerships continues unabated in biopharma. Every month sees a slew of new or expanded collaborations announced between large multinational pharma corporations (‘Goliath’) and small biotechs or academia (‘David’). Since the start of 2016 alone, more than 25 such deals have made the news, including for instance AstraZeneca’s messenger RNA collaboration with Moderna Therapeutics and Sanofi’s deal with Innate Pharma to develop bispecific NK cell engagers. But how many of these partnerships eventually lead to innovative new medicines? R&D success rates in the biopharma sector have historically languished in the single digit range, and as Robert Thong’s new book — Biopharma R&D Partnerships: From David & Goliath to Networked R&D — points out, partnerships add significant execution and collaboration risks, especially when both parties are dramatically mismatched in size and culture.

Drawn from the partnering experiences of over 40 different organisations, Mr. Thong’s new book highlights the additional challenges and risks when big pharma partners with small biotech or academia. Partnering with a giant pharmaceutical corporation can provide the depth of resources and market know-how that an academic laboratory or smaller company simply does not have. But this path also brings unexpected challenges and new demands for these smaller entities. Written from the perspective of the smaller David partner, the book delves into the practical aspects of what can be done to improve the odds during the various stages of such partnerships. If these asymmetric collaborations are to deliver real value for both sides, the Davids in these David & Goliath partnerships must develop the practices and mindset to face these issues and challenges head-on.

Despite the aforementioned concerns, David & Goliath partnerships represent biopharma’s best hope for converting the most innovative ideas and technologies from around the globe into ground-breaking new medicines. Mr. Thong’s book goes on to document a number of case studies that illustrate the emerging trends in this space, including the multi-project strategic alliance between Bayer HealthCare and the German Cancer Research Centre to jointly discover new drugs; the biocluster networking approach adopted by the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Centres to find new collaborations; and the model adopted by non-profit drug discovery units such as MRC Technology to bridge academic science and industry.

Biopharma R&D Partnerships: From David & Goliath to Networked R&D by Robert Thong is available in hardback (ISBN: 978–0–9935181–3–3) or paperback (ISBN: 978–0–9935181–0–2) from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Blackwell’s, Hugendubel, Thalia and other quality booksellers worldwide, and as a downloadable e-book (ISBN: 978–0–9935181–2–6) from the Apple iBooks, Kobo, Nook, Inktera or Tolino e-book stores. An overview of the book’s contents is available at: http://scitechstrategy.com/biophpart-book/.

Contact Information for Journalists

If you would like to interview the author or to receive a copy of Biopharma R&D Partnerships: From David & Goliath to Networked R&D for review, please contact:

Robert Thong
Tel: +44–7930–337–385
E-mail: robert@scitechstrategy.com

About Robert Thong

Robert Thong is an independent consultant, speaker and writer on business strategy and collaborations in the biosciences. Over the past 25 years, he has worked with more than 100 different pharmaceutical, biotech, medical equipment and healthcare organisations. During the 1990s, Mr. Thong co-headed the Gemini Consulting (now Cap Gemini) Life Sciences Group and then led the European Bioscience Business Unit at COBA-Renaissance. In the 2000s, he led Datamonitor’s Healthcare Division, founded two boutique consultancies and served as a non-executive director on the board of Alpharma Inc. (an NYSE-listed mid-sized pharmaceutical corporation). Mr. Thong holds a Bachelor’s degree from Imperial College London, and a Master’s in Management from the MIT Sloan School of Management.