Another 7 tips to creating brilliant biopharma partnerships

We all know that partnerships are the lifeblood of the biopharma industry. Understanding what makes them work can mean the difference between disaster and blockbuster success for biotech and pharma alike.

Is there a secret formula?

It became apparent after speaking to several biotechs that there is no one ‘secret to success’ when it came to striking a successful partnership. Everyone has their own formula. Some focused on purely the numbers. Others emphasised the human and ‘softer skills’. There are however, patterns that emerge and there are definitely certain tips that life science companies looking to partner could benefit from. In view of this, a month or so ago I posted a blog about 7 simple rules to successful biopharma partnerships. I thought I’d expand on that here and outline an additional 7 tips we’ve come across.

7 additional tips to striking a fruitful partnership

‘Preparation, due diligence and relationship: the 3 things biotech CEOs told us made for successful partnerships’  Tweet: 'Preparation, due diligence and relationship: the 3 things #biotech CEOs told us made for successful #partnerships'

  1. Be ruthless in sticking to value creation. Be a company that is building really substantial value rather than just doing nickel and dime things for larger companies.
  2. Know your limits. Whatever you do don’t overpromise. You will be found out and it will come back to bite you.
  3. Be open and up front with the data. This will put you in the driver’s seat when pitching the deal. Present the real situation of where your asset is. If you say your product is farther along in development than it really is, the pharma partner will find out in due diligence. If it is dressed up or overhyped, it’s a disservice to both parties.
  4. Put the data into context in the initial proposal. What is the medical sense behind this approach? How is it competitive with other technology?Does the data support the hypothesis? Does the development plan make sense? Does the intellectual property support making money? You’ve got to be able to answer these in the initial proposal.
  5. Don’t just talk to big pharma. The great thing about big Pharma is that they bring experience and deep pockets. However, there’s actually a lot of advantage in talking to the mid-sized players as well – cast your net wide.
  6. Do your homework on any potential partner.  It’s not just about whether they are a strategic fit.  You need to know everything about their history, reputation and if there are any skeletons in their closet.
  7. Speak to current and past partners. The best place to get the truth from whether working with a prospective partner will be a pleasure or a pain is from their current and past partners. Make sure you speak to them!

As I mentioned, there were many more than just 7 tips that have come out of our conversations at Biotech and Money. If you’d like to find out some more tips on partnering download our ebook ’21 Partnering Tips for Biotechs’ 

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