We have been working in the pharma/biotech industry for 20 years now and recognize the changes it has and now is going through. Some of these changes put tremendous financial pressure on product launches, particularly global launches, requiring shifts to take place. One of the major shifts taking place is the understanding of what collaboration really is. The industry is just opening up to the aspect of launching a drug that is interpersonal collaboration. Most of what has been considered to be collaboration was seen as technology improvements, like video teleconferencing and the sharing of data. Due to the current shifts in the industry and the failed expectations of product launches, the lack of human collaboration is coming to light. Let’s look at an article in Pharma Voice called Global Launches as to the industry shifts:


Yesterday Today Tomorrow
4-6 major brands Larger # of smaller multi indication brands Genetic profiling and biomarkers segment brands further
1-2 launches per year 3+ Launches per year RWE extends launch across lifecycle
Mature market focus Parallel focus on mature and emerging markets Increasing pressure for pharmerging to deliver
Primary care focus Specialized care focus Mix of highly segmented specialist and primary care markets


Prescribers key stakeholder Payers increasingly dominant Patients become significant stakeholders
Traditional distribution channel Distribution channels more complex RWE, feeding into HEOR measures and lifetime pricing accelerates competition complexity
Easy to manage competition More competition against generics and other brands Slow impact of biosimilars

“Creating this type of coordinated launch requires collaboration between all customer facing teams, including; medical affairs, sales, marketing, and market access which will result in more orchestrated customer experiences.” – Mr. Shawah of Veeva Systems from Pharma Voice.

All of this is pointing to the need for the different departments within the companies to be in dialogue as well as requiring the individual collaborative capabilities of the key executives involved to be highly developed. Everyone knows the pain caused by working in silos or one function coming late to the launch, delaying and softening the uptake curve of a new launch.

There is an assumption that creates many of these problems and that is “executives should know and have the capability to collaborate – to listen, dialogue passionately and safely, give and receive feedback, work through disagreements and facilitate the process and each other into productive outcomes.” Based on the results of many launches and alliances, this is simply not the case.

Thus the case for the need of the “elevation of the capability to collaborate” comes into play. This capability does not happen over night and must be worked through an executive’s belief structure, attitude/emotional disposition and behaviors, while concurrently elevating the skill level in specific areas. What is needed is not more intelligence – it is more collaboration!!!

This is the new understanding of collaboration in the pharma/biotech industry.

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