“It was the first time we agreed on our criteria, visualized how our ideas
stacked up, and established real priorities.” ~ C. Sushak, Novartis
A major pharmaceutical company was concerned about too many projects, not enough resources and poor R&D efficiency as measured by new product revenues per R&D dollar spent. An advocacy practice has existed where champions of projects used their persuasive skills to gain support for project plans. A concern about the acceptance of a more objective approach was that it could pose a threat to successful individuals. There was a history of poor success with prioritization models for early stage projects and, therefore resistance to try any “new flavor of the week” that has not been proven internally yet. Some teams and managers did not recognize the urgency of the need to manage portfolio priorities within the capacity constraints for accommodating the growing number of projects. An understandable, effective, transparent and quantitative method was requested – that respects the science, deals objectively with uncertainties and sales forecasts and lives within the resource constraints.
We focused on a manageable group of projects in the pilot phase, defining the criteria, the relevant information and the involvement of the teams who were impacted. It was critically important that the model reflected the scientists’ view of their world, was transparent and understandable, and could be well communicated to those affected by portfolio review. The process was able to:
- Identify the management team’s objectives for each drug candidate
- Facilitate the generation of creative development strategies
- Unearth all considerations that bear upon the potential value and risk
- Structure an analysis that takes all of these factors into account and,
- Gather the best available data and expertise to populate the analysis.
- doubled the R&D portfolio efficiency rating (“bang for the buck”),
- achieved a reduction in drug development time of 20%, and
- reduced R&D costs 23% on average for each project.
Shaping a Licensing Culture and Process – Case Study
When a company changes strategies, culture and behavior changes must follow. For a pharmaceutical company, this meant assessing and coaching key managers, clarifying process ownership and enhancing teamwork.
Patents on chemical compounds, research and technologies are staples of competitive advantage in pharmaceuticals. Yet, globalization and pricing pressures have forced major pharmaceutical companies to alter long-standing business models and strategies.
The emphasis has shifted from internal innovation-only to more licensing and co-promote agreements. The shift in strategy requires a transformation in culture and behavior. A new Vice President of Licensing and Development (L&D) for a pharmaceutical company engaged Innolect consultants to achieve Clarity, Capability and Connectivity regarding structure, talent, behaviors and performance measures. With Innolect’s assistance, the VP implemented a change initiative in three phases.
During Phase I — Build Talent Capability
Innolect consultants performed a 360-degree analysis of L&D directors and direct reports, and created individual development plans. In addition:
- Innolect coaches were engaged to accelerate adaptation of new leadership and management skills
- Innolect designed and implemented customized “capability continuums” which helped the division become self-sufficient in performance measurement
In Phase II — Define Core Processes
We learned that there was poor coordination between various company divisions and functional groups. The “newness” of the L&D division and differing perceptions of its “charge” added further complication.
- Innolect consultants designed and facilitated a teambuilding offsite that clarified process accountability
- “Quick Cycle” meetings were implemented to improve workflow, socio-technical, cost-benefit and other process analyses
During Phase III — On-Demand Interventions
Innolect consultants provided on-demand coaching and facilitation when conflicts arose over process ownership and strategies.
The L&D Vice President reported that the positive impact of aligning L&D managers and improving cross-functional teamwork was“immeasurable.” L&D became critical to the growth of company revenues.