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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Thinking Outside the Box

Richard Barratt and Natalie Kingston at Morgan Lewis examine the use of outsourcing in the life sciences industry

The life science industry is in a state of constant flux – largely as a result of an unrelenting need for innovation and the threat of competition, both of which can have a dramatic impact on a life science company’s profits and future. History has shown that companies, whether pharmaceutical, biotechnology or device focused, must find ways to adapt and be flexible in this challenging environment in order to truly prosper.

THE IMPORTANCE OF OUTSOURCING TO THE INDUSTRY

In the last decade there have been two important developments in practices in the life science sector. The first of these has been a shift in focus away from pure innovation in favour of strategic partnerships and acquisitions as a means of growing product portfolios and increasing market presence. The second has been a move to drive down costs by outsourcing internal processes and procedures, thereby freeing up funds for selective R&D projects and to fund strategic partnerships and acquisitions. As a result, outsourcing of critical functions is now a key strategy for most life science companies.

The types of operations which life science companies can outsource are many and varied. Numerous functions have long been outsourced to contract research or similar organisations – clinical trial and data management, pharmacovigilance and quality assurance processes are a few examples. However, the more recent advent of offshore outsourcing to countries such as India and South America, and the focus on larger outsourcing arrangements of mainstream finance and accounting, human resources, information technology and other business processes, has led life science companies to realise the benefits of outsourcing these types of functions as well.


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Richard Barratt is a Partner in the Business and Finance Practice in London. He joined Morgan Lewis in 2004 and is head of the UK outsourcing practice. Over the last 20 years Richard has developed a substantial commercial intellectual property and technology practice. A large part of his work involves international joint and cooperative ventures for the development and exploitation of products and technology. He has advised corporations, government authorities and financial institutions on the procurement of IT systems and services, as well as distribution and supply arrangements in a variety of commercial and industrial sectors.

Natalie Kingston is an Associate in Morgan Lewis’s Business and Finance Practice and is a member of the Global Outsourcing Group. She handles a wide range of regulatory matters, commercial agreements and transactions for clients in the life sciences sector. In addition to acting for pharmaceutical and medical device companies, she also has particular experience advising in relation to foods and cosmetics. Natalie is involved with outsourcing and general commercial and corporate issues including joint ventures, intellectual property and technology agreements.

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Richard Barratt
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Natalie Kingston
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