By Dan Schell, Editorial Director, Life Science Leader
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"Many companies are seeking to lower risk by reducing their focus on innovative medicines. This is not our path. Our strategy is to create value by accelerating the flow of innovative new medicines that provide improved outcomes for individual patients.” That’s a statement John Lechleiter, Ph.D., Lilly’s president and CEO made in December 2009 in regard to the recent acquisitions other pharma companies have made to deal with thinning pipelines. Beginning in 2013, Lilly says it will introduce two new medicines a year. That’s an aggressive goal, and I think one of the key phrases in Lechleiter’s statement is “accelerating the flow.” To churn out more new drugs in less time obviously will require a retooling of current industry processes (e.g. implementing lean and six sigma initiatives) and a reevaluation of the feasibility of in-house resource models. None of these revelations are new, of course, as outsourcing in all facets of the drug development life cycle has steadily increased in recent years.
As a life science executive, the prospect of switching from an in-house model to an outsourcing one in any part of the drug development process is daunting, considering the plethora of competitors that have cropped up in recent years. Everything from analytical testing to full-service contract manufacturing can be outsourced. Furthermore, you need to determine if you need a global outsourcing partner, which may not only save you more money but provide you with regional expertise in a certain area (e.g. patient recruitment).
This guide is intended to give you a starting point in your outsourcing journey. The articles in this guide range from how to choose the right medical device CRO (p. 17) to best practices for language translation services in a clinical trial (p. 29). There are also a number of listings for key companies in various outsourcing categories that can help you right now with your project. I wish you luck in 2010 with all of your outsourcing challenges and encourage you to keep this issue on hand all year and use it as a reference.