Pear Pugh ,GlaxoSmithKline: Alliance Management, the key to successful collaborations




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Video title: Pear Pugh ,GlaxoSmithKline: Alliance Management, the key to successful collaborations
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 Pearl Pugh, Director Of Alliance Management at GlaxoSmithKline
Functions of Alliance management
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here at BIO in Boston, 2012. On this show I have Pearl Pugh, who is a Director of Alliance Management at GSK, welcome to the show.
Pearl Pugh:
Hi, thank you very much.
Fintan Walton:
Pearl, your job is obviously as Director is involved in alliance management at GSK?
Pearl Pugh:
Yes Fintan, yes.
Fintan Walton:
Yes, so tell me how more many people are actually in the alliance management team?
Pearl Pugh:
We have approximately 10 or so alliance directors in our team, each one is responsible for managing a portfolio of strategic alliances for our organization.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so how does alliance management actually work then within your organization, for an example does alliance management get involved right in the very early stages of negotiating a deal or do they come in afterwards?
Pearl Pugh:
Sure, so I think I will take that question in two parts. The first point is that alliance management at GSK we have an Alliance Management Center of Excellence model and that really involves having a central dedicated team within our Worldwide Business Development group of which I am a part who manages kind of portfolio of strategic alliances. We also have a community of practitioners out there who have alliance management as part of the component of their job responsibility, so we know that there are many people out whether they are on project management roles or in commercial roles have a component of their job function as alliance management. So we make sure that we connect those folks who are out there in the community of GSK together with our central dedicated team.
Fintan Walton:
So Pearl, when then do you actually get involved, do you get involved before negotiation is completed or do you wait for the deal to be signed?
Pearl Pugh:
We usually get involved before the deal is signed. We get involved with our negotiators, our deal negotiators as well as our legal team to basically review the contract and ensure that the appropriate matrix and the parameters are in place to help facilitate the execution of the deal, so once we take the deal on board we really know what we are going into.
Types of projects and alliance management strategy
Fintan Walton:
And the types of projects that alliance management be brought into are they clinical development programs specifically or do you would you have an alliance manager for early stage collaborations as well?
Pearl Pugh:
Really it varies. We do have dedicated alliance management professionals for early stage through to late stage and commercial opportunities, so it really depends and historically we've used a minimum financial threshold as well as kind of the level of executive approval to determine whether or not we place some of the central dedicated resources for that particular alliance or collaboration. We are actually in the process of re-evaluating kind of the parameters for which we decide where we place the central dedicated resources on top of those collaborations, so it really varies.
Fintan Walton:
Right, and obviously because of the type of people you are collaborating with they on the other side may have alliance management professional but sometimes they may not, so how do you cope with that?
Pearl Pugh:
Well you know again I think we are a very flexible organization we recognize that all of our alliance partners have varying level of resources or know-how when it comes to alliance management. Often times our alliance partners are small organizations where people wear multiple hats and so they might assign somebody within their business development or corporate development team to also be the alliance management point of contact at that organization, it could be somebody who is leading the project, it could be a scientist, so it really varies depending on their level of resourcing and we just flex as we go along, I mean at the end of the day we are really working to collaborate together and to work through the collaboration together, so you know if we have similar levels of resourcing expertise that's great, if we don't that's fine, we'll learn together as we move forward.
Pearl Pugh's views: Skills required for a good alliance manager
Fintan Walton:
Okay, how would you distinguish alliance management from just normal management of projects, what skill sets do you think you need to be able to be a great alliance manager?
Pearl Pugh:
Well I think, you can be a great alliance manager regardless of your background, as an example our team is comprised of folks who have experience in marketing and project management, we have scientists, we have people come from procurement and irregardless of the background what really makes an effective and successful alliance manager is somebody who is really good at orchestrating, somebody who is adept to influencing without authority because at the end of the day what's different between alliance management type of role versus leading a project type of role is that we are really there to enable their function and the success but we are not directly responsible for the project or the program to progress. So it's a little bit of a difference because we are there to kind of you know help with stakeholder alignment make sure that things are progressing to ensure the governance and ensure the decisions are being made, that communications are flowing freely between ourselves and our alliance partner but we are not there on a day-to-day basis to ensure that the program or the project is progressing either at a scientific level, or at a clinical level, or at a commercial level, so that's the big difference.
Fintan Walton:
Right, so it's really to help to communicate, help to facilitate, help to influence?
Pearl Pugh:
Yes.
Fintan Walton:
And so that ultimately the right decisions are gonna be made?
Pearl Pugh:
Exactly.
Fintan Walton:
Now obviously in an alliance, things don't always go well and you have to provide bad news to the other side, how do you handle that?
Pearl Pugh:
Well you know obviously we are always striving towards a win win situation inevitably sometimes disagreements will arise between GSK and our alliance partners, for the most part we try to handle that through the existing governance structure that is outlined in the contract and the vast majority most of the issues and disagreements can be resolved in that way there is clearly defined escalation pause. I think when it gets a little bit beyond that which unfortunately sometimes that it happens then we try to continue to focus on the alliance and the collaboration to keep up progressing while the disagreements are being resolved.
Importance of Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals(ASAP)
Fintan Walton:
Right, you are also a member of the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals which is obviously a broader organization, it covers not just pharmaceutical companies but other companies as well, how important is an organization like that to a professional like you working within GlaxoSmithKline?
Pearl Pugh:
Well I think ASAP or the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals is a great resource for our industry and for other industries in terms of really providing tools, resources, networking opportunities, case studies and conferences to really support alliance management as a discipline. I think alliance management has come a long way over the last couple of years, in particular, and as the business world gets increasingly more collaborative alliance management as a discipline becomes increasingly important for not only the biopharma industry but also across many other industries. So it's really there as a great resource. We are a corporate member and we really like to take advantage and leverage some of the offerings that they have to kind of keep our standards up from an alliance management standpoint.
Fintan Walton:
Right, then what things can you learn from other industries?
Pearl Pugh:
Well you know it's interesting because other industries also have alliances, they may be different types of alliances in terms of their size and the structure. Some of the objectives may be different but there may be some processes or tools that they use to really achieve their objective and perhaps we haven't yet adopted in our industry and so we can learn from them in terms of how best to do that, and sometimes you get into a mind set where you are doing things the way that you are kind of used to doing or use to seeing it done in your industry and often times there are prose of wisdom or little nuggets that you can take from other industries and apply to your own industry.
Measurements of success
Fintan Walton:
And how do you measure success in the end as an alliance manager?
Pearl Pugh:
Well success can be measured in a number of ways. You can measure the success in terms of the financial aspects, or the risk mitigation aspects, or the deal execution aspects but really kind of at a simple level success is you are on track to meet your objectives overall in terms of what were the original stated objectives for the collaboration, the communications are flowing freely, the decisions are being made, the governance structure is really there progressing critical initiates and at the end of the day if you are meeting the objectives, decisions are being made all the parties are engaged, those are measures of success for us.
Fintan Walton:
Pearl Pugh, thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
Pearl Pugh:
Thank you, it's been a pleasure.
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).
Pearl Pugh
Director of Alliance Management
At the time of recording this PTV interview Pearl Pugh serves as Director of Alliance Management at GlaxoSmithKline plc . Her previous experiences include Acting Chief of Staff, US Vaccines Business at GlaxoSmithKline, Executive Director, Cervarix at GlaxoSmithKline and Senior Director, Altabax / Bactroban Franchise at GlaxoSmithKline.
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.
GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK)
GlaxoSmithKline plc is global healthcare group, which is engaged in the creation and discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceutical products, including vaccines, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and health-related consumer products. GSK's principal pharmaceutical products include medicines in the following therapeutic areas: respiratory, anti-virals, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), central nervous system, cardiovascular and urogenital, metabolic, anti-bacterials, oncology and emesis, vaccinesand dermatologicals. The Company operates in three primary areas of business: Pharmaceuticals, Vaccines and Consumer Healthcare. It has global manufacturing and research and development presence. On February 1, 2011, GSK disposed of its entire 18% interest in Quest Diagnostics Inc. On January 31, 2012, the Company completed the divestment of brands in the United States and Canada to Prestige Brands Holdings.