This year’s Bio Convention, again, underlines a state of tremendous activity in the biopharma industry.

Not limited to transactions, companies large and small are implementing their broader corporate strategies and third-party relationships. This involves the considerate building of trustful long-term alliances – while some take a punt favouring speedy engagement over detailed diligence. The importance of supplier choice and management today is of unprecedented importance and carries through to what previously were integral parts of a company’s inner competences. Resulting front-of-mind questions for principals including management, boards and investors alike relate to responsibility and accountability, risk management, transparency, and confidentiality. Companies who succeed will have significant knowledge and ownership expertise in the domains they outsource,or proficient at identifying partners who are not only “available upon request” but drive processes independently and responsibly as hired principals. For the services industry, this has long opened opportunities for differentiation; that said, the state of the bio industry economy is also favourable to those who are in for a quick buck, a quality that often yields significant long-tailed risks for drug developers.

Biopharma value creation continues to be driven by data generation. As we meet companies, it continues to be clear that a solid set of compelling data articulated in intuitive ways greatly supplements meaningful business development dialogue. We also continue to see companies that do not reach their full potential, inefficiencies have accumulated over time, as a function of resource allocation, evolving technology, and occasionally oversight challenges; notably driven by different requirements from regulatory, industrial or financial audiences. Examples include phase two studies absent a commercial target product profile, comparisons to today’s gold standard in neglect of market evolution over the development time ahead, or early stage work that misses to harvest relevant data which then requires time-consuming remedial task repetition. One potential winning strategy is to build lasting bridges early between the various disciplines involved in successfully developing a novel drug for market.

China has long been termed a “raising giant”. To bridge cultural differences, Chinese players initially strategy pursued working with returning expatriates. Today, we see significant value is still left on the table. New insights show, however, Chinese “Westernization” has taken a new dimension where players are competitively capitalized, densely staffed, and are hiring senior expertise across a range of capabilities into newly formed corporate setups within the United States . These provide not only for a uniquely attractive environment for individuals concerned, but foster environmental conditions that forcefully tackle industry problems with expert groups that otherwise may not have come together. Also, there is rarely a discussion on building a “two lane street ” and improving it later, when an “eight lane highway” can be built today. In that context, companies need to navigate not only the changes in competitive environment and forces at play, but also recognize that the transaction ask from China is now different. Where earlier the sourcing of products and technologies for the home market has taken a prominent role, players are now competing in Western territories for capital, talent, and markets. What will the future hold?

The evolution of the immune-oncology market also continues to be of far ranging importance and provides a kaleidoscope l of possible future developments in other therapeutic areas where the landscape of combination therapies continues to advance. In the past, biotechs were striving to find a home for products with largecap pharma, development and partnering strategies for the bio industry needs to evolve with the contemporary environment, as do investors’ value creation strategies. Combination with existing flagships no longer can be the primary strategy; and the range of combination partners now extends deeply into biotech peers. However, both sides structurally have limited experience in working with each other. A new, fresh perspectives essentially required contemplating what it takes to be relevant and successfully compete in the I/O market, and likely will take a few quarter cycles of time to be commonly adopted by key stakeholders.

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