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Key Relations

Outsourcing in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry is becoming more the norm than the anomaly in today’s industry. Looking back 15 years, drug discovery for new products was rarely outsourced and seen as a core activity for pharm acompanies, which should thus remain in-house. Fast forward to today, outsourcing core activities such as R&D to utilise expertise within the field to remain competitive is common practice. According to a 2014 Wall Street Journal article by Jonathan D Rockoff, approximately 33% of all drugs in the pipelines of the top 10 pharma companies were initially developed elsewhere (1). Furthermore, over 80% of biopharmaceutical companies report increased alliance activities compared to five years ago according to Vantage’s alliance benchmarking report (1). The industry is becoming increasingly competitive with the rise of R&D costs, biosimilar development, and the growth of biotech companies. Therefore, the need to remain innovative, agile, and responsive is more important now than it has ever been.

Alliance vs Partnership vs Relationship

The pharma and biotech industry’s alliances with pharma service providers such as drug discovery, distribution, manufacturing, supply chain, consulting, generic development, and clinical trial outsourcing is forever increasing, and the words ‘strategic alliance’ and ‘partnerships’ are regularly heard when discussing outsourcing activities. However, what differentiates a strategic alliance to a partnership to a tactical relationship between two companies abiding by a set contract? Do we know what relationship we are looking for, or does that depend on the activity outsourced? According to Jonathan Hughes and Stuart Price from Vantage Partners, “the notion of ‘strategic partnerships’ or ‘alliances’ remains somewhat controversial”(3).

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Shanelle Mehta is a Business Development Director at The Clinigen Group, based in Weybridge, UK. After graduating with a first class BA (Hons) degree, she has spent the last eight years working for various pharma service providers in sales and business development roles, initially managing recruitment platforms into pharma and medical device companies, before moving into clinical trials supply. Shanelle is responsible for managing global comparator portfolios for the top 20 pharma companies, CROs, and biotechs, providing an end-to-end service that ensures organic growth and seeks new business opportunities.
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Shanelle Mehta
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