In Mastering the Merger, the authors describe four areas that must be mastered if companies are to perform successful mergers and acquisitions on a regular basis. One of the key areas is corporate strategy. Specifically, the authors note:
Making mergers work is inseparable from strategy…Your corporate strategy must begin to guide your acquisitions long before they fully take shape.
We believe that the need for strategy in BD&L is no different. Many companies simply do not have a BD&L strategy and framework that guides their downstream activities. Too many companies are focused on “the deal” without being able to answer key questions such as:
The final point in our bullet list regarding realism is especially important for companies who are not in-licensing or out-licensing product candidates. For example, drug delivery companies may struggle with balancing the claims that their technology can do everything, while simultaneously lacking the evidence to support these claims. Similarly, some CROs claim to provide soup-to-nuts capabilities, but then fall short and under-deliver.
Corporate BD&L strategies and frameworks must be developed realistically, supported by data (Preclinical, Clinical), customer testimonials and references, and other third-party, independent sources of evidence.
This is not to say that BD&L strategies have to be complex, but they do need to be defined, communicated, and implemented, and consistent with the overall corporate vision, mission, and objectives (strategic, financial, etc.).
External consultancies can help companies develop an overarching strategic plan which guides the business development process. Importantly, working with external firms can help bring independent, market-driven feedback to the process. Similarly, the end result of a strategy development exercise may result in a simple “checklist” of defined parameters…a checklist that can be easily remembered as BD&L scouts undertake their activities.