Issue 12 | June 2010 www.plg-uk.com
& Licensing Journal
For the Pharmaceutical Licensing Groups
a successful model
Trends in dealmaking
products to license
Plan B: when
Finding new products
There are many ways to get advice on best practice for product selection,
deal structure, contract negotiation and partnerships, but little on where
to find the products to license and partners to do business with in the
first place. Fortunately, technology can help.
By Asa Cox, founder, Generic Licensing
ig pharma and generics used to made to feel more substantial by the multiple
do battle at patent expiry; now we automated emails churning out the
see the companies playing in each same story.
other’s sandpits more often. Big pharma is Why is this? Is it because too few of the
jumping into ‘established products’ as a way products available are attractive? Is it because
of utilising brand equity and oversized sales there is not enough money to acquire new
forces. Generics are adding value to older products? Is it that deals are frustrated due
products through formulation development to lack of capacity or capability? Or is it that
and need marketing to add a barrier to entry everyone is competing with each other to do
for copycat products. deals with the same companies for the same
Historically mergers and acquisitions products?
have been a key means of growth for the Our hypothesis is that there are many
dominant players on both sides; product stones left unturned, and that as emerging
licensing deals have been the major force in markets and technologies begin to dominate
more recent years and it is likely to remain other industries, so pharma needs to use
that way for as long as shareholders want to different ways to exploit the potential of
see results and not just potential. both.
Of course with licensing, profit margins
are reduced, as is research and development The challenges
kudos (a factor that now seems to have There are challenges to overcome. Common
been rightly exchanged for a closer focus issues include the fact that engaging
on commercial value). Time to market, risk potential partner organisations in emerging
and tactical fit are good enough reasons to markets can be hard work, with differences
make such concessions. For those without in language, business culture, commercial
a pipeline to perk up sluggish share prices it experience and ethics. In addition, when
About the author is a matter of survival. Licensing is not to be it comes to new technologies and partner
Asa Cox is founder of genericlicensing.com, viewed just as ventilator though, more like a channels some will work; some won’t. You
the pharma industry’s first searchable internet Statin or an Aspirin for those of longer tooth. need to know what the acceptable risk/
database of generic products available for investment for progress or future return is.
licensing. He is a dedicated web evangelist Finding potential And breaking the mould can be a lonely
and online networker. Asa is also a Director of Given the numbers involved in the venture, with unfamiliar situations and
IPG Pharma, a 13-year-old technical services combination of human ailments, healthcare unfamiliar faces. Everyone prefers the
company based in Berkshire. companies and research strands, one would comfort zone.
T: +44 (0)845 453 1363 have thought there would be a torrent of As Confucius said: “I know why the path
E: firstname.lastname@example.org licensing news flooding our email inboxes is not trodden; the clever ones overstep it
on a daily basis. But it is really just a trickle, and the stupid ones do not reach it.” For
20 Business Development & Licensing Journal www.plg-uk.com
some companies, the drive for efficiency in too late and now everyone will be keeping an To find new
deal-making channels means the business eye on them.
development teams back into tried and Some of the larger data houses and partners or products
tested sources and techniques. Such platforms are beginning to realise they are and to avoid license
companies believe that they already know the
best places to find products and expect that
behind with regard to partnering. Recently
developments have seen the integration
auctions, it is
highly tuned management systems will drive of user-specific information with editorial, important to seek
the licensing teams to be more productive. combining lead searches with contact lists to new opportunities
They step over the path. create a more dynamic environment. These
Other companies believe that licensing innovations are the only way in which such in uncharted waters.
a new product is easy, and is a matter conglomerates are going to survive against Everyone needs
of keeping an eye on the industry press,
attending as many conferences as possible,
the onslaught of free web products.
There are, however, a few sites that
working the rolodex and networking. They proactively seek out new companies innovation.
do not reach the path. that have products to license and need
To find new partners or products and help getting more visibility. These include
to avoid license auctions, it is important to pharmadeals.com, pharmalicensing.com,
seek new opportunities in uncharted waters. pharmaprojects.com, sourcegenerics.com
These ideas are not just relevant for big and farmavita.net. On some of these sites
pharma or generic giants; everyone needs it is possible to save searches and have new
differentiation and innovation. There are companies that match criteria sent via email
existing opportunities and future ventures automatically, so you need only visit once to
that could unearth the new opportunities, get a stream of potential leads. The internet
including online databases/portals, is now the first place companies research
virtual partnering forums, internet speed potential new marketing partners.
networking, niche partnering events and
collaboration platforms. Virtual partnering forums
Although there are a few events in the
Online databases/portals calendar already, this is going to be an
Companies that offer deal data are nothing area of massive growth in coming years.
revolutionary; the advent of online news feed Modelled on real-world conference centres,
aggregation means that press statements are each has exhibition booths with multimedia
distributed from every angle instantaneously. displays and live chat (with video and voice if
While such news sites can provide a lead list desired), keynote speaker presentations and
of active licensing companies, the fact they networking lounges.
are announcing a deal normally means it’s Improving broadband connections, >>
www.plg-uk.com Issue 12 | June 2010 21
To discover unknown companies and
exciting products, one needs to get out of the
zoo and into the jungle. Such exotic terrain
requires a specialist tour guide.
>> streaming media and browser-based 20 minutes over 2 hours) and not have to
applications are all making virtual reality even leave the office?
a much richer and more stimulating Webcams, Skype and simple web
environment. interfaces will soon enable licensing teams,
Reduced budgets, increased focus on brokers and industry associations to host well
carbon footprints and greater time pressures researched events that have a better than
are all factors which count against the average return on time invested.
traditional big shows and live partnering
events. This pressure is increased when Niche partnering events
considering emerging markets with excellent Bigger isn’t always better. The giant
IT infrastructure and executives that are a partnering events like Bio, while enabling
little less inclined to travel or blow budgets on thousands to meet under one roof, is focused
only a few trips a year. on volume of attendees and meetings. To
Events already in the calendar discover unknown companies and exciting
include bioconferencelive.com, products, one needs to get out of the zoo
pharmapartneringlive2010.com, and into the jungle. Such exotic terrain
cardiocarelive.com and informex.com/virtual. requires a specialist tour guide; one with
Some of the larger pharma companies local knowledge and a connection with the
now have their own partnering web environment.
presence; although not well promoted, they There are already a number of key events
provide a 24/7 opportunity for engagement on the calendar in high-growth markets,
and information sharing with potential including innchinc.com/wpcs2010, cphi-sa.
partners. Expect to see many more of these com, eilat-aeds.com and kenes.com/ipa.
virtual meeting spaces as a cost-effective way We can expect to see an increased focus on
to attract interest from every corner of the therapy areas and research and development
Expect to see industry. technologies.
many more virtual Internet speed networking Collaboration platforms
meeting spaces as a Sometimes introductory meetings can take
much longer than necessary or desired and
The future of licensing deals, ie one company
acquiring the rights to another’s intellectual
cost-effective way to can be especially unproductive if they are part property, is a model that will morph as
attract interest from of the mandatory requirements of partner technology and business structures develop.
every corner of the events.
What better than to have multiple
In other industries where innovation,
consumer (patient) alignment and long-term
industry. meetings in a short space of time (say every value is a high priority, companies are joining
22 Business Development & Licensing Journal www.plg-uk.com
together in collaboration like never before. networks may not be an effective channel Given the global
Web 2.0 is about integration, open source
and user content creation. Business 2.0 (or
into the new opportunities. To connect with
the developers of tomorrow is going to
spread of future
more like 200.0) will mimic this trend, as require a more high-tech approach. intellectual workers,
corporations seek to compete with the next The internet is making the world and personal contacts
Facebook/Spotify/Apple of their space and every industry smaller; companies from
start-ups discover game-changing ways to every corner of the globe should be seeking and networks may
work together, disrupting the establishment. ways to do business with each other before not be an effective
How will the pharma industry look in 10
years’ time? How will that affect licensing?
someone else does.
If, as forecast, the BRIC countries are going
channel into the new
Pharma is founded on research and to dominate the future economy, are you opportunities.
development (more development in already connected in those markets? If not,
generics) and finding better ways to bring why not? If, as forecast, technology is going
more products to market. One way that to change the face of all industries, including
the corporate model could be challenged pharma, are you investigating how you can
is through the creation of loose networks get ahead of the game? If not, why not?
of specialist teams and individuals for Tomorrow’s deals are not going to wait for
specific projects, or to harness a unique joint you.
capability. In the future, the products to license are
With such experts having access to not going to be found in the same places
powerful technology infrastructure and as yesterday or today. The individuals and
a willingness to achieve more through countries that will create the products of
collaboration, licensing deals may be done tomorrow will be better integrated with
with individuals or specific business vehicles. technology and more accessible to those who
embrace the same.
The future There are already more innovative ways
The future integration and collaboration of to engage with new partners with new
development bodies could make deal making products; it just takes a little step out into the
a lot more complex. Such open platforms unknown, to depart from the old school and
could also mean that options and sponsorship adopt some new tools.
or other commercial tools could tie up the
best minds before the products reach the
Given the global spread of future
intellectual workers, personal contacts and
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