How to find new products to license (plg journal july 2010)

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  • 1. Issue 12 | June 2010 www.plg-uk.com Business Development & Licensing Journal For the Pharmaceutical Licensing Groups Follow-on biologics Co-marketing: a successful model Trends in dealmaking Finding new products to license ADVERT Plan B: when negotiations fail
  • 2. Finding new products to license 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 B 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: asa.cox@genericlicensing.com 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
  • 3. 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 differentiation and 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
  • 4. 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
  • 5. 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 licensing space. Given the global spread of future intellectual workers, personal contacts and www.plg-uk.com Issue 12 | June 2010 23