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Alliances - A Key Source of Industry Value

Collaborative alliances are now commonplace and increasingly core to companies' operations. In 2002, over 190 deals were signed each month and some 35 per cent of these required active collaboration between the parties. Despite their prominence, some two thirds of alliances fail to meet all or some of the collaborating partners' expectations. Alliance management has a vital role to play as organisations look to unlock maximum value from their collaborations now and in the future.

Alliance management is still a nascent competence within most organisations and there is, as yet, no industry norm for the organisation or role of alliance management. One reason for the diversity of alliance management structures and organisation is companies' continuing uncertainty about the optimum role that alliance management should perform - how does alliance management unlock maximum value from an organisation's portfolio of collaborations? Three questions may serve to clarify this:

1. What is alliance management's scope? To what extent is the alliance manager responsible for value creation, contract enforcement or asset protection?

2. Where should alliance management focus? Does the alliance manager concentrate solely on relational issues or does he have a responsibility for project/operational performance too?

3. What role should alliance management take? Should the alliance manager facilitate, coach and intervene operationally or monitor and control?

A recent seminar entitled 'Managing Pharmaceutical Alliances: Closing the Performance Gap', explored these and other issues. Thirty two delegates from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies participated in a one day interactive event. This article covers some of the points that arose from the seminar.


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By Stuart Pavelin, Senior Director, Consultancy Group at PharmaVentures

Stuart Pavelin is a Senior Director for the Consultancy Group at PharmaVentures, a specialist health care consultancy focused on deals and deal making. He has spent the past decade working as a Management Consultant with pharmaceutical, biotechnology and other life sciences companies. In his work with these companies, Stuart has led international assignments covering corporate strategy, alliance management, product development strategy, performance management, process development and therapeutic/marketing strategy. He also serves as coach and mentor to some of his senior executive clients. Stuart holds an MBA from INSEAD, France, and a Masters degree from Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine, London.

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