Magazine Article | October 1, 2015

Ask The Board: What Is The Biggest Challenge For Biopharma Companies In Terms Of External Innovation?

Source: Life Science Leader

Q: What is the biggest challenge for biopharma companies in terms of external innovation?

A: To be successful, you have to gain continuous access to future innovation. To do so, you must: (1) Not be locked out of emerging breakthrough innovations by ensuring access to the IP; (2) Leverage open innovation strategies to go beyond traditional licensing/BD; (3) Enhance the connectivity at the right innovation hotspots. It is crucial for companies to have robust engagement strategies, more than just physical presence. This enables them to be part of the local innovation. Further, organizations must embrace a future world of partners who transcend traditional agreements into an open innovation space with no clear boundaries. Another important pillar is the aspect of successfully steering the collaborations and generating value to all parties.

Senior director of innovation strategy and global program head of life sciences external innovation initiatives at Bayer AG.

Q: What is the best leadership advice you ever received?

A: I don’t know that i have received specific leadership advice, but I do have multiple leadership examples. My father instilled in me the value of persistence; if you want something bad enough, go for it. Do not be dissuaded by temporary setbacks, and practice persistence daily. Persistence has helped me in recent years as I have returned to playing piano, something I did as a child and disliked. I love it now, but I must practice for hours to maintain some proficiency. I also pride myself on exploring new ways of doing things. For example, years ago I made a commitment to creating a series of coaching videos. Over the years I have become much more adept with this medium and many have found my videos instructive as well as helpful.

Chair of the leadership development practice of N2growth, a global leadership consultancy, and author of more than a dozen books, including MOXIE: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership.

Q: What is the greatest insight you gained from attending a conference this year?

A: We attended the patients as partners in clinical trials conference in March 2015. Presentations discussed specific examples not only of how patient-oriented approaches could be used to promote clinical trial enrollment and retention, but also of how such programs were being used to refine overall approaches to studying and treating disease so as to provide more meaningful results to patients. We brought back and were able to incorporate specific approaches to gathering and utilizing patient feedback about the scientific and logistical aspects of Purdue’s protocols, as well as an understanding of key success factors for such programs.

Head of medical research and drug safety operations at Purdue Pharma, L.P.