Although the pharmaceutical industry has been quick to embrace the value of partnerships and the subsequent improved access to new business opportunities, initially many companies did not fully understand what it really takes to be successful at alliance partnering. In the past five years, as partnering has become the new normal, Bayer and many other biopharma companies have sought to remedy this by building their corporate partnering capability. As this continues, all pharmaceutical companies will benefit from operating in an industry that is increasingly capable at partnering.
Navigating the pros and cons of partnering in the pharmaceutical industry has been a journey for many companies, and results from strategic alliances are not always positive in business terms. Alliances that have failed have frequently done so not because the product lacked commercial potential, but because the companies failed to manage their partnerships effectively. Vantage Partners’ alliance management maturity model illustrates how differently—and less successfully—companies partner when they lack a mature alliance management capability across dimensions such as strategy, culture, and execution. This often boils down to the inability of even very smart, experienced people to conduct business when challenged by the inherent differences and complexity that come into play in a two-company system.