Magazine Article | September 15, 2010

Identifying And Using A SaaS-Based Solution To Accelerate Business Development And Licensing Activities

Source: Life Science Leader

By Alison Shurell

Efficiency and the delivery of results are paramount, whether you are with a large pharmaceutical company looking to standardize the way it manages the preparation and due diligence related to licensing, divestitures, and other strategic events or a small biotech seeking to maximize the results of capital raising or out-licensing activities. Pharmaceutical companies are tasked with maintaining top-line growth, and, as a result, business development and licensing teams are increasingly challenged to in-license promising new compounds and out-license those that are no longer a good strategic fit. Biotechs, meanwhile, must present their products in the most effective possible way to both optimize deal valuation and ensure closure.

In this day and age, the vast majority of pharmaceutical companies and biotechs use electronic-based methods for managing business development and licensing processes. While there is still a difference of opinion within the industry around whether it makes sense to employ in-house software or use Software as a Service (SaaS), an increasing number of companies have recognized the benefits of working with an external vendor.

A SaaS-based solution is typically flexible, scalable, and optimized as a secure online repository for information exchange, enabling both pharmaceutical companies and biotechs to accelerate business development and licensing processes. Companies benefit from a solution that alleviates administrative burden, reduces prep time, cuts direct costs, and expedites the deal process to maximize asset value both for the collection and assembly of due diligence material and the management of material review.

A Features Checklist For A SaaS Solution
When considering what vendor to use, you should have a checklist of features that will help determine the best SaaS-based solution for your needs. Items you should look at include:

  • how quickly a virtual data room (VDR) can be up and running
  • the level of support the vendor provides
  • whether you can control access to specific documents
  • the level of security features
  • the sophistication of the auditing trail
  • the ease and speed of uploading documents
  • the methods for notifying relevant parties about newly uploaded documents.

In addition to the above points, it is vital to identify a SaaS-based solution that addresses the specific needs of the life sciences industry. For example, in the out-licensing or divestiture of drugs, due diligence material often includes large documents that can be tens of thousands of pages, such as regulatory documents that cover requests to conduct investigational research (INDs) or applications to market new drugs (new drug applications [NDAs]). These documents usually include links to supporting information. As business development and licensing teams evaluate VDR options, it is critical to ensure that the solution they choose maintains the link integrity of such documents in the online environment, so that reviewers can leverage the links to conduct their due diligence. This allows reviewers to focus on interpreting the data instead of trying to find it and also enables the licensors to leverage the inherent capabilities of VDR technology, such as being able to access and review history reporting regarding the diligence material.

In conclusion, it’s clear that there are some specific capabilities that pharmaceutical companies and biotechs should look for as they assess SaaS-based solutions, such as VDRs to accelerate the due diligence process. Identifying and using a solution that is standardized, scalable and secure, and equipped with bells and whistles that are particularly meaningful to life sciences’ due diligence can only be a winning proposition for all involved parties.

Alison Shurell is VP of life sciences product marketing at IntraLinks. Her background includes 15 years of experience in corporate marketing roles in the B2B software and financial services markets. She holds an undergraduate degree from Miami University and an MBA from Baldwin-Wallace College.