The Life Sci blog played "King for a Day" and published a piece on changes that should be made to the Big Pharma R&D model in order for future drug development to be more productive. There were some interesting concepts put forth. I'm just going to relate some of these that I particularly liked.
Turn the centralized R&D campus into a biotech park, by letting the staff, say of 5000, form into smaller biotech companies -- so to speak -- with their own CEOs and 3-5 year business plans. The budget should match the plan. Each company could also have its own Board and external advisors. The idea is to break down the bureaucracy that is science and innovation stifling. We're trying to create a new culture here -- don't screw it up with lots of rules and control-based encumbrances.
Get the rest of the company out of the way. Let R&D run R&D. Pharma needs to be a science based endeavor to be successful. Don't let commercial teams se tthe agenda (this is down right heretical). Unleash risk takers amongst the scientific ranks to select impactful medicines that target unmet needs. Empower them to deliver. Bascially, trust your scientists to deliver the science. That doesn't mean that differentiation should be abandonned with commercial help, or that designing programs to ensure reimbursement aren't important. It does mean not selecting "safe portfolio" products that are 88th in class or represent modest (if any) medical improvement for patients.
Finally, establish a corporate governing body that is based on long term science-based approach to deliver value. That means, we need to reconfigure Boards so there are actually some scientists on them (in 2011 on 2% of Big Pharma Directors were former Biotech or Pharma people). Science is the lifeblood of future success -- if the goal is to make medicines that can make a difference and serve unmet medical needs. Note, the plan would be to have 60% of Board members be scientists from either pharma or biotech, with the remaining 40% being represented by people from other industries or academia for their persepective. The goal however remains to establish a dominant science based perspective on the Board. Check out the link above for the full commentary.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Aug 5th 2013.