Magazine Article | April 1, 2014

Are You Embracing The Life Sciences New Innovation Ecosystem?

Source: Life Science Leader

By Rob Wright, Chief Editor, Life Science Leader
Follow Me On Twitter @RfwrightLSL

At this year’s BIO CEO and Investor Conference in New York, I had the opportunity to meet Annalisa Jenkins, EVP and head of global R&D, Merck Serono. Jenkins has been busy working on a game-changing, singlesource CRO collaboration model with Quintiles. Understanding how and why she did it first requires insight into the leadership approach of her risk-enabling CEO, Belén Garijo (see page 24), followed by Jenkins’ detailed explanation of creating the model, along with some pretty good advice on building game-changing collaborations (see page 30). Finalizing this collaboration model won’t make her schedule any less busy; in fact, it just got busier.

On the day of our meeting, the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) publicized Jenkins as a 2014 Woman Of The Year (WOTY). Just two weeks later, TransCelerate BioPharma announced Jenkins as the new chairwoman of its board of directors. When you combine her positions with TransCelerate and HBA along with her advisory roles with the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) and PhRMA, you get a sense for her willingness to engage outside her own company. This is a pivotal first step toward embracing one of our industry's major trends — the new innovation ecosystem, which is where Jenkins anticipates the next wave of life sciences industry R&D innovations will come from. She is not alone in her opinion.

Her vision of this new ecosystem is similar to what EY (Ernst & Young) Global Life Science referred to as "Pharma 3.0" back in 2010. It is described as collaborating in radically different ways with very dissimilar partners. For example, consider how pharma companies could collaborate with Google to incorporate Google Glass into QA/QC monitoring of a manufacturing process. Or, how about a pharma company partnering with Verizon — which already has an FDAapproved remote monitoring software platform — for a clinical trial? Essentially, engaging this new innovation ecosystem requires going well beyond the traditional partnerships the industry is accustomed to.

Perhaps an example will help.

In 2012, Coca-Cola established a partnership with DEKA R&D to bring DEKA's "Slingshot" water purification system to communities where potable water access is limited. This is a real game-changer when you consider the Slingshot's distribution is not money motivated and the potential impact for the nearly 1.8 million children who die annually from diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation.

Since the initial announcement, the collaboration has expanded to include IBM, Inter- American Development Bank, McCann Health, NRG Energy, Qualcomm Technologies, and UPS. Its mission has expanded as well, now including the planned delivery of EKOCENTER — a kiosk designed to improve the well-being of communities — to 20 countries by the end of 2015. The collaboration intends to place between 1,500 and 2,000 EKOCENTERs, offering a locally tailored mix of products, services, and resources to jump-start entrepreneurship opportunities and community development, along with the Slingshot water purification system.

The original collaboration simply was designed to provide pure water, yet it has evolved to providing opportunities. I wonder what new innovation ecosystem opportunities Annalisa Jenkins might discover through her external engagements. If you want to embrace the new innovation ecosystem, start interacting outside of your company's ecosystem. Networking opportunities can evolve into trusting relationships — the foundation for establishing any successful collaboration or partnership.