Roche Partnering: The Role of Alliance Management in Successful Partnerships




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Video title: Roche Partnering: The Role of Alliance Management in Successful Partnerships
Released on: August 01, 2012. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, filmed at #BIO2012 Convention in Boston, Fintan Walton talks to Mark Noguchi, Global Head Alliance Management and Operations, Roche Partnering.
Alliance management and relationship with Genentech
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here at BIO in Boston, 2012. On this show I have Mark Noguchi, who is Global Head of Alliance Management at Roche Partnering, welcome.
Mark Noguchi:
Thank you very much Fintan.
Fintan Walton:
Mark, you're a very experienced executive within Roche because you are actually involved in part of the Asia operations on a partnering level, you're now in the area of alliance management and I suppose the first thing I want to ask you is within Roche how did alliance management actually evolve and how important is it?
Mark Noguchi:
Great, first thanks for the opportunity to chat today, 11-years ago 2001 we restructured the partnering function within Roche and including the introduction of alliance management, at that time we've had two groups one in the States and one in Europe so geographically separated the world to work with our partners in that way. Roche has really succeeded over the years through partnerships, the Genentech partnership perhaps the most well known and thus the importance of making our deals work creating value for both partners was of high importance to the company, thus we introduced alliance management back in 2001.
Fintan Walton:
Right, now just looking at the Genentech/Roche interaction obviously Roche had a stake in Genentech but even then you still had an alliance management obviously a relationship with Genentech, but Genentech at that stage didn't have any alliance management, so how do that resolve itself?
Mark Noguchi:
Right, so it's well known of course that the relationship between Roche and Genentech even though Roche was a majority owner was all arms length and the relationship between the two companies was like third parties, thus from a Roche Partnering standpoint we treated Genentech like a separate company and we had an alliance manager actually two alliance managers assigned to working with Genentech and managing the transactions, the activities between the two companies. This worked really well, extremely well to a point where Genentech realized actually we don't have an alliance management function so perhaps we should create one they did and now within Genentech Partnering there continues the alliance management function separate from the Roche Partnering alliance management function even post integration.
Functions of alliance management
Fintan Walton:
Okay. So lets go into alliance management, because obviously in a partnership relationship with another biotech company or another pharmaceutical company there has to be a dialogue, there has to be communication and so forth, so in someways alliance managements you could look at it as a form of control over an alliance between two parties, so how do you actually view that? How do you actually view alliance management, because in the end you know you may actually end up you know terminating the deal?
Mark Noguchi:
Correct, often times alliance management is described as a relationship management and that's not the way we see it, we see it as value management so our team is interested in building value, managing value between the two partners, between the two companies and this is quite different from managing a relationship thus we want to build value, we want to work with whatever asset or relationship that we do have and build value for both parties, the difference of course is that relationship is something that's quite of value we are trying to manage, identify and manage how we can improve, how we can maximize the partnership again for both parties in some cases of course we do terminate partnerships unfortunately, but that also is all part of drug discovery and development and that the risks that come about with development and the success rates or attrition rates as you may describe them also of course apply to partnerships.
Fintan Walton:
I suppose the healthy termination is one way just where the alliance managements actually worked?
Mark Noguchi:
Hopefully that is the case and of course.
Fintan Walton:
Is clear communication between parties?
Mark Noguchi:
Right, and hopefully data based terminations. I don't believe that we have any examples of situations where we have terminated a partnership because of poor relations between the companies and that of course is what alliance management is trying to avoid.
Metrics of alliance management
Fintan Walton:
Right, of course management is there is always metrics around management and I am sure within alliance management there are also metrics, so how do you measure those metrics? What are those metrics?
Mark Noguchi:
So when we initiate a partnership one metric we measure is how soon or how fast can we get say a clinical program into the Roche portfolio, so we execute a deal, sign a contract we now have a partnership around an asset lets say it's a clinical program within Roche we have the Roche portfolio which is all of our programs ongoing in the clinic with certain criteria for programs enter into that portfolio, what we measure is once we sign a deal how fast can that program does that program move into the Roche portfolio, how fast we sign a project leader or project manager and then of course either initiate or continue clinical studies for that partnership. Thus we are treating the program just like any internal Roche program and that's key to us that we want to of course consider the partnership but treat the program as if were our own program.
Fintan Walton:
So through the fact you have adopted the same sort of project management metrics that you would use in a typical clinical program internally?
Mark Noguchi:
Correct and it's funny when we talk with our project leaders, project managers they say working with the strictly internal program is easy, working with the partner program introduces a new challenge and it's fun. So a number of our project managers, project leaders say, yes if you really experience really good you get assigned to a partnered program and work with not only the internal team but also the partnered team to advance that program through the clinic.
Role of alliance management professional team in partnership programs
Fintan Walton:
And the other element of course is when do you use alliance management, because obviously there are lots of collaborations that Roche will enter into some of them are small collaborations relatively short, so what size does that project need to be before you start dedicating alliance management time to it?
Mark Noguchi:
Yes typically it's not size but more so stage, so any alliance on a program that is in the clinic we will assign what we call a global alliance directors, so our staff are all called global alliance directors they are highly experienced professionals with a very broad pharma background, pharma biotech background. So any program partnership that is in the clinic has a global alliance director assigned, anything preclinical we have a part of our business development group focuses on the research and technologies, tools and technologies if it's preclinical particularly in technologies we will have a BD&L person looking over that partnership, but once it advances to the clinic we have a global alliance director assigned.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so obviously within Roche then you've got your own great alliance management professional team, on the other side it could be a biotech company they may not have the same resources, may not have the same skills so how often are you teaching the other side how to do alliance management?
Mark Noguchi:
Yes, so our partners are varying size from one or two person biotech's to large pharma companies, when we work with the large pharma company of course they typically no something about alliance management and then different styles, different approaches, different attitudes but we are working with a large company in often times the alliance management relationship is well established within the context of a partnership. A smaller company and then the continuum through very different relationships and often times we are working with the alliance manager of a small company being the CEO, the President because the partnership typically for a small company partnership with Roche is extremely important to that entity thus the CEO becomes the alliance manager, not only the alliance manager but typically the project leader and many other roles that CEO for a biotech often plays, the changing hats all along. So yes we do talk and do a fair amount of training for the small companies, for the CEO's of these companies regarding managing the alliance, managing value there of course some building value for their company through the partnered asset and that's typically a high importance topic for the CEO and one then that they value working with us.
Benefits of membership of Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals(ASAP)
Fintan Walton:
And of course you are members of the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals?
Mark Noguchi:
Yes.
Fintan Walton:
How important is that organization in making sure that there is a recognized homogeneity amongst alliance managers?
Mark Noguchi:
Yes ASAP is a very good organization it provides a sound basis for alliance management skills a certification program and one that we value a lot, it also provides a professional organization with a good network opportunity so that we can identify new trends or challenges in the alliance management area as well as of course the training programs that I've mentioned. So ASAP is a one that all of our alliance, alliance directors belong to ASAP and we always have a good contingent participating in many of the ASAP programs.
Future plans
Fintan Walton:
Just one final question really Mark is often you know you have an alliance obviously a partnership with a biotech company that may actually build into either more alliances on different programs or may even ultimately end up in an acquisition, so how important has alliance management been to the success for the outcome of future relationships or even possibly an acquisition?
Mark Noguchi:
Yes, so within Roche Partnering we have a BD&L Group, Business Development & Licensing Group responsible for looking for new opportunities, however for existing partners the alliance director actually is responsible for identifying new opportunities, new partnering opportunities with that existing partner company and their portfolio, so we are always interested in working with the partners we already know, we already have a good relationship hopefully and then discussing possibilities of new partnership programs be at any stage of development and that responsibility lies with the alliance director, so we like to leverage to capitalize our existing relationship with the partner.
Fintan Walton:
Well Mark, thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
Mark Noguchi:
Thank you very much Fintan.
Fintan Walton
Dr Fintan Walton is the Founder and CEO of PharmaVentures . After completing his doctoral research on the genetics of cell proliferation at the University of Michigan(US)and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), Dr Walton gained broad commercial experience in biotechnology in management positions at Bass and Celltech plc (1982-1992).
Mark Noguchi
Global Head
At the time of recording this PTV interview Mark Noguchi serves as the Global Head, Alliance Management for Roche Partnering. In this role, he oversees the Roche staff of Global Alliance Directors, managing partnerships with Pharma companies, biotechnology firms, universities, and other healthcare entities. Alliances include early stage discovery collaborations through major commercial product partnerships. From 2004 to 2009, Mr. Noguchi was Asia Regional Head for Roche Partnering, as well as Japan Representative and General Manager for Roche Pharma Japan. Mr. Noguchi's responsibilities focused on partnering across the Asian region. Mr. Noguchi also headed interactions with the Roche Group company, Chugai Pharmaceuticals. He actively participates with pharma industry organizations, most recently as Chairman of Pharma Delegates, a leading industry association in Japan. Prior to overseeing operations in Asia, Mr. Noguchi served as Roche Pharmaceuticals's Vice President, Strategic Portfolio Management where he headed global research portfolio management activities. His recent commercial experience includes a position as Vice President, Strategic Marketing and Business Development, Neurobiology Unit, for Roche Bioscience in Palo Alto, CA. His career with Syntex Corporation, prior to Roche, included management positions in pharmaceutical marketing, regulatory affairs, and information systems areas. Educated as a zoologist at the University of California, Davis, Mr. Noguchi received his MBA from UCLA's Graduate School of Management.
PharmaVentures
PharmaVentures is a corporate finance and transactions advisory firm that has served hundreds of clients worldwide in relation to their strategic deal making in the pharmaceutical, life science and healthcare sectors. Our key offerings include: Transactions / deal negotiations; Product / technology valuations; Deal term advice; Due diligence & expert reports; Strategy formulation; Alliance management; and Expert opinion for litigation/arbitration cases. PharmaVentures provides the global expertise to ensure our clients generate the highest possible return on investment from all their deal making activities. We have experience of all therapeutic areas and can offer advice on both product and technology commercialisation.
Roche Partnering
Roche Partnering is dedicated to finding the best advances in modern medicine that strengthen the R&D portfolio. Together with external partners, Roche aims to bring new medicines to patients as quickly as possible. Partnering is the doorway to every part of the Roche organization from scientists to life cycle teams to the highest levels of management. Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche Partnering offers creative deal structures tailored to the needs and ambitions of partners and always put the interests of the patient and the product first as well as offering a seat at the table when it comes to important development decisions.