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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Collaborate to Innovate

Heather Fraser at the IBM Institute for Business Value discusses the importance of establishing a strong basis for biopharmaceutical collaborations, and explores the ways to ensure that they work for the life of the alliance

Biopartnering – the sourcing, formation and management of alliances – is now a multi-billion dollar business. Between 2004 and 2006 the number of alliances remained fairly constant, but their value tripled from US$30 billion to US$90 billion according to data from Recombinant Capital (1). Some US$30 billion worth of new deals were announced in 2006 alone. US biotech companies still dominate the industry, and European firms remain the preferred partners of those operating outside North American borders, according to recent research by Datamonitor (2). But the Asian biotech sector is also expanding rapidly, as changing regulations and better access to large patient populations make the region a more attractive place in which to conduct Phase I trials (3).

Given the rising value and increasing geographic spread of the biopartnering market, the ability to create successful alliances is becoming vital. In 2006, we conducted our fourth survey of biotech and pharmaceutical companies, along with Silico Research, to identify the key alliance-making trends (4). Our survey draws on the responses of 312 individuals from 235 companies. Seventy-four per cent work for biotech companies and 26 per cent for pharmaceutical companies. Fifty-two per cent are based in the US, reflecting the composition of the sector by market share.

EMERGING TRENDS IN BIOPARTNERING

The results of the 2006 survey confirm a troubling trend that first emerged in 2000. Despite the maturing of the biopartnering market, biotech companies reported that 52 per cent of the alliances in which they had participated during the previous five years failed to live up to their expectations. This is marginally better than the situation at the start of the decade, when the failure rate was 59 per cent – but it is hardly encouraging.


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Heather Fraser is a Pharmacist with over 20 years of industry experience and has held positions within R&D, consultancy and community pharmacy. Heather is currently the global leader of the Life Sciences & Pharmaceuticals team at the IBM Institute for Business Value.
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