Life Sciences


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 Life Sciences/Technology Alliances

Since the early 1990s, research and discovery collaborations between biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies have increased to the point that they now provide more than half of the total capital invested in the biotechnology sector. Although smaller biotechnology companies may be engaged in only a few alliances at a time, some of the most active pharmaceutical players may be engaged in anywhere from thirty to forty alliances at once.

Any single alliance relationship may be the lifeblood for a small biotechnology company, while the same relationship may be just one of many for the pharmaceutical partner.

Research alliances with small, close-to-the-science companies are the source of many of the innovative ideas of today and the future, but they present formidable challenges.

Successful collaboration depends not only on the solution of scientific and technical problems, but also on the successful resolution of many leadership and organizational problems.

The book 'Leading Biotechnology Alliances' (Sapienza, Alice M. / Stork, Diana / Lombardino, Joseph G.) presents a tightly focused discussion regarding issues and questions that are unique and critical to the effectiveness of alliances, including:

  • Power differences and other asymmetries between partner firms and some implications for alliance dynamics .

  • Sector history and evolution as a basis for understanding the cultural divide that characterizes many biotechnology-pharmaceutical relationships.

  • Why leaders on the biotechnology side must assume the greater leadership responsibility in these alliances.

  • Different and predictable challenges over the alliance life cycle, from start to completion/termination.

  • Leadership roles needed for productive and effective collaboration across groups, locations, and companies.

From societal and economic perspectives, it is important to lead Life Science alliances right, right from the start. The intent of the Life Sciences/Technology Initiative is to help scientists and executives from large and small companies do just that collaborate productively and effectively.

Mentioned book includes a case study, numerous interview excerpts, general theory and background, a delineation of alliance responsibilities, and a set of alliance effectiveness questions. Together, these ingredients provide the reader with a clear understanding of the complicated dynamics of alliances and leadership issues and roles within the alliance life cycle.



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