1st Round Table Discussion

Partnership with big pharma

Biotech and small pharma organizations seek out partnerships with big pharma at various stages to help bridge gaps in their capabilities, infrastructure, and resources. Correctly executed partnerships with larger entities are a proven strategy to access capital, advance product development, scale toward commercialization, and venture into new markets.


However, if synergies are not achieved, a failed partnership tends to have a detrimental impact on commercial success and possibly even their survival. The Council members discussed various models including financial, commercial, and operational partnerships. 

Market access challenges and strategies

Evolving payer structures, consolidations, and uctuating government policies have increased the unpredictability in the payer landscape. While market access remains a key determinant for commercial success of products, smaller companies tend to struggle in navigating this complex environment of multiple payer groups and government regulations.

Historically, small pharma and biotech organizations have relegated attention to market access later in the product lifecycle, since their strategic focus lies entirely on discovery and development during the earlier stages. However, formulating a market access strategy during early stages of clinical development is a critical opportunity for these organizations to meet timelines. The council members explored a broad range of market access topics, based on their experiences with payers.  

Alternate commercialization models

The traditional pharma commercialization model, given the current environment of restricted rep access and changing physician preferences, is yielding diminishing returns on investment. Although sales reps are still a critical resource, building a commercial organization primarily dependent on field force neither guarantees maximum market share nor cost efficiency. A hybrid commercialization model, that increasingly leverages digital capabilities along with an optimized field force, might have the potential to replace traditional rep-heavy models.

These hybrid models are also highly flexible, as they can be easily scaled up or turned off based on returns. However, it requires advocacy, commitment, and risk appetite on the leader’s part to embrace these innovative commercial models.

Financing Opportunities

Access to capital at the right time (and at the right cost) ensures robust product development program and commercialization at scale. Owing to the top–line-driven nature of pharma business, there are ample sources of capital available for innovative organizations. Biotechs can acquire capital at different stages of development, launch, and commercialization by seeking funds from specialized investment firms, by partnering with big pharma, or by taking the IPO route.


However, biotechs competing in primary care areas often find limited channels for capital sourcing, especially if the product is largely undifferentiated.