Critical Ingredients at the Outset of Collaboration

A number of critical ingredients need to be in place at the outset of R&D collaborations between smaller biotech/medtech companies or academic research groups (‘David’) with much larger multinational corporations (‘Goliath’). In this second instalment of our three-part series, we discuss how these ingredients greatly improve the chances of success in such collaborations.

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Hidden Reasons for Collaboration Failures

Continued industry-wide decline in R&D productivity has led to the tremendous growth of R&D externalisation in bioscience and health technology over the past decade. In particular, there has been a dramatic proliferation of “David-and-Goliath” collaborations between small companies or academic research groups (‘David’) with much larger multinational corporations (‘Goliath’). But can this ultimately reverse the productivity decline? In this article, the first of a three-part series, we describe (in addition to the usual scientific and marketplace challenges) some hidden reasons for R&D project failures in this sector. Unless the industry gets better at managing these less visible risk factors, the productivity gains from increased R&D externalisation could be rapidly eroded.

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Emergence and Evolution of R&D Alliance Management

As bioscience R&D collaborations have grown in volume and complexity over the last decade, so has widespread adoption of formal alliance management, especially by the larger companies. Yet despite the emergence of formal tools such as balanced scorecards and alliance health surveys, this approach has its limitations. As the nature of many collaborations shifts from outsourcing or intellectual property transfer to true innovation partnerships, formal alliance management needs to be supplemented by other informal ingredients to ensure successful outcomes.
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BioPharma R&D Focus Paradigms when Payers are the Customers

Most Pharma companies focus their R&D activities by therapeutic area. But in the New Pharma world of Payers as Customers, does this continue to make sense? In this article, we will look at the history and evolution of therepautic area focus in R&D, highlight today’s new requirements and suggest a pragmatic approach for focusing R&D to create tomorrow’s transformative medicines.
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Brand Stretching or Brand Destruction? A cautionary tale from a British Post Office counter

“Stretching” a brand into new products and services is a well known strategy for generating new revenues. The idea is to exploit customer brand loyalty with new offerings while retaining or even enhancing the original brand values. However it’s not always quite this straightforward, as illustrated with this cautionary Tale from a British Post Office counter

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Common Misconceptions in Strategic Innovation Initiatives

Initiatives to cultivate innovation are rapidly proliferating. From my regular dialogue with Marketing and R&D executives of science/technology-based organizations, I notice many initiatives are built on at least one of these underlying assumptions:

  1. Innovation can be Outsourced
  2. Ideation = Innovation
  3. Technological Novelty = Innovation

Per se, these assumptions are perfectly good starting points – the mistake is to believe that’s all you have to focus on.
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Why is Collaboration so hard in Networked R&D?

A recent article in Sloan Management Review on Organising R&D for the Future highlights the hot new trend for companies to organise their R&D by establishing satellite units that operate and collaborate as a network. But the article also points out that “the art of collaboration is one that many R&D organisations have yet to master”.

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Two Decades of Biomedical R&D Improvement Initiatives

Throughout the past two decades, biomedical companies have learnt painfully that industrialized management of R&D does not deliver. Using illustrations from the pharmaceutical sector, this article looks back on the principal approaches that were adopted to transform R&D productivity over this period. We reflect on what has definitely not worked well, and in consequence, we discuss how the emphasis is now shifting back to people, relying on human ingenuity and teamwork to innovate – through focus and an open architecture. We conclude by identifying the key success factors and the new challenges that R&D leaders need to manage.

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Igniting Sustainable Change in Scientific & Technical Organizations

Whether driven by pre-emptive thinking or business pressures, many scientific and technical organizations need to raise their game. Under the banner of contemporary catchphrases such as “open innovation”, “customer centric product development”, “strategic outsourcing”, “customer partnering” and “R&D transformation”, such organizations have been striving to initiate change programs for achieving the same two age-old aims:

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