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Monthly Archives June 2012

White Paper: The Power of Clinical Data Gap Analysis

Through clinical data gap analysis, a company can determine if it is truly necessary to follow the common paths being taken by the competition, jump on the next important clinical use, and uncover very useful data that already exists and can be instrumental to further product growth. This paper provides insights based on years of experience and a pioneering approach, on how to unlock the value of clinical data through a data-rich, multi-disciplinary approach.

Learn how a clinical data gap analysis helps companies make the sound decisions with regard to planning for their products and using their precious resources most wisely.

Request a copy of this white paper today.

Posted by Dave Fishman  |  Comments Off on White Paper: The Power of Clinical Data Gap Analysis  |  in Management Consulting

Strategic Partnerships for Product Development: Cast a Wide Net to Identify Potential Partners

I am excited about the significant opportunities life science companies and research institutions have to work together to commercialize new molecules and treatments. Forming these strategic partnerships is a critical undertaking, and much time and money can be wasted if it’s not done well. I want to share with you the essential elements for identifying potential strategic partners that are well aligned with your goals and objectives.
When I converse with clients about expanding their product pipelines, I commonly hear that they are moving in a direction based upon one of their favorite investigator’s pet projects or free advice on areas the company should pursue. Alternatively, many companies start new product development partnerships by approaching the same short list of top institutions that are well-known in a given disease-state or treatment area.

This is farthest from the ideal approach. Our research shows that only 20% of optimal partners are “usual suspects”, i.e., institutions at which a company’s trusted medical experts are employed or those of great notoriety. Strategic product development isn’t about pet projects and anecdotal information it’s about making good business decisions that will help the company achieve future growth. Consulting with trusted medical experts is helpful, but it serves as only one element of a strategic product development plan. Additionally, the top institutions may not have the specific expertise you need. Often times it is the research institutions outside of the leading universities that are conducting the most innovative and compelling research into new mechanisms of actions or novel approaches to treatment.

At Snowfish we work with our clients to expand their pipelines through “casting a wide net.” What this involves is looking at all potential research institutions early in the process. Below are my thoughts on the critical steps to “cast a wide net” and develop a list of potential partners.

1. Develop a detailed disease-state understanding. Go beyond the current standard of care to dig into the novel approaches and mechanisms of actions being studied.

2. Look at all institutions doing research in the disease-state you’re interested in. Depending on the disease-state you may have 750 to 1,000 research institutions to consider.

3. Gather input from physicians practicing in the desired disease-state.

4. Compile and analyze all of this information.
With a list of research institutions that demonstrate strong expertise in the desired disease-state there will be at least a few that will fit the ideal partner profile. It is our experience that approximately 1% of the evaluated institutions merit an on-site visit by the life science company. To get to this point, more refinement is needed to determine if there is a fit between potential partners. This additional refinement will be the topic of my next blog post, so watch for it.

At Snowfish we have a developed a process to gather this information and analyze it to develop an integrated picture that provides real insights into potential partnerships. While it is more time consuming to complete this extensive research and analysis, in the end our clients ensure their limited patent time is valuable and productive, and they don’t waste time on partnerships that are misaligned. Please call me if you would like to discuss how to improve your process for finding strategic partners for product development. I can be reached at 1-866-766-9489.

We have a lot to learn from each other…what are your comments and thoughts on how your organization identifies potential product development partners. Do you have processes and systems in place to identify potential product development partners? If so, share your insights. If not, then how do you currently identify these partners? Is this working and effective? If not, what do you want to change? Please join the conversation and share your challenges so we can all do this better.

If you’re interested in more information on partnerships with research institutions for product development, we recently published a White Paper titled “Identifying Strategic Partners for Product Development”. Please click here to download it.

Posted by Dave Fishman  |  Comments Off on Strategic Partnerships for Product Development: Cast a Wide Net to Identify Potential Partners  |  in Management Consulting

Strategic Partnerships for Product Development: Research Institutions

We are all aware of the tremendous challenges the life science industry is facing. This industry is at a critical juncture and we need to do things differently if we want to survive. I’m passionate about the life sciences and I see many opportunities. I’m all about innovation and doing things differently because we have the insights to be confident these changes will make a difference. I started this blog to share my ideas and hear your thoughts on them. I suspect that at times we won’t agree, and I want to know your thoughts. I love to share ideas and learn from others, so please add your comments to the posts. When I jump into a topic I like to go deep and really understand it (it’s the analytical side of me), so my first few blog posts are going to focus on strategic partnerships. I feel very passionate about this right now.

In case you don’t know me, I’m Dave Fishman, President of Snowfish. I’ve worked in senior-level positions for business consulting and pharmaceutical companies for more than 20 years. I have run corporate partnerships, marketing, strategy, product development, channel development, and communications programs from the manager level all the way up to senior vice president.

At Snowfish, our mission is to “empower the life sciences with actionable insight”. We are driven to find new and innovative ways to quickly bring products to market and enhance their success. We are also driven by data and action. We seek to understand the problems and develop actionable plans to overcome them.

I will put it on the line – the industry has to come up with a new paradigm to building their product pipelines. The same-old-approaches of internal development and company or product acquisitions are not yielding the amount of innovation this industry requires. We all know the challenges of developing new products internally. Acquisitions are costly and difficult to implement.

At Snowfish we have developed a new approach for our clients that focuses on unconventional partners for product development that include clinical, academic, and government institutions. Research institutions are often overlooked because it is not self-evident how to best work with them and the perception is that are hard to work with. The challenges are different, but they can easily be overcome.

The current economic environment has meant budget cuts for research institutions, which are driving them to seek additional sources of revenue to maintain their research programs. Partnerships with life science companies are a primary source of this additional funding. These research institutions have the clinical and scientific expertise (and it goes deep) to identify new molecules and mechanisms for treating conditions. Life science companies bring a proven track-record in navigating the regulatory approval process for new treatments, as well as the expertise and resources to successfully commercialize a new treatment. These synergies are exciting and it’s obvious to look at joining them.

Forging any partnership can be difficult. Here are my top three tips for ensuring these partnerships are successful:

1) Take the time to understand the primary interests of each partner. Each institution will have unique interests and goals for partnering. Partnerships are successful when both entities share mutual interests.

2) Approach the partnership with the mindset that it is a long-term meaningful collaboration. Institutions want to be considered a partner and want to share in the development of the molecule or treatment. They do not want to be considered or viewed as a “contract research partner”.

3) Understand how an institution likes to conduct their technology transfer business. Many institutions will have Technology Transfer offices with an established process in place. Reach out to the Technology Transfer office, meet their team and understand their process.

Partnerships between life science companies and research institutions are significant opportunities for both entities to commercialize new molecules and treatments. For these partnerships to be successful mutual interests, synergies, and complementary areas of expertise must be understood. I’ll share the essential elements for identifying potential strategic partnerships in my blog posting, so watch for it.

Now, I want to hear from you…have you explored partnerships with research institutions as an option for expediting your new product development efforts? If not, why not? What are your particular concerns that are keeping you from exploring this area? If you have tried to partner with research institutions please tell us about your experiences. Are there best practices you can share?

If you’re interested in more information on unconventional partnerships for product development, we recently published a White Paper titled “Identifying Strategic Partners for Product Development”. Please click here to download it.

Posted by Dave Fishman  |  1 Comment  |  in Management Consulting