Partner Selection for Early Stage Drug Discovery and Development Processes

Client Challenge

The company, a top performer (among the top 10 global players) within the pharmaceutical industry was interested in collaborating with a contract research organisation (CRO) in India for early stage drug discovery and development processes to support their fast follower molecule strategy. The client was open to various opportunities ranging from outsourcing to strategic alliances or risk sharing partnerships.

Our Approach

UC Strategy went about this process of suggesting a suitable partner in the following manner:

  • Provided a perspective on India as a hub for the outsourcing of drug discovery processes and to screen potential partners, based on predefined criteria such as area of focus (chemistry or biology), expertise in specific chemistries like peptide chemistry, and credentials in pre-clinical phases of development, including target validation, ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion) and toxicology studies
  • Developed detailed profiles of potential CROs backed up by discussions with the heads of research in these CROs. Discussions included not only an understanding of capabilities, but also specific arrangements like confidentiality practices, sharing of IP and risks, business models, talent pool i.e. the ratio of PhDs to Non-PhDs etc. Based on discussions and pre-defined criteria, 13 players were shortlisted from a long list of 153 players
  • The 13 shortlisted players were categorised on two key pivots i.e. areas of expertise, and whether they were independent CROs or CRO arms of Indian pharma companies
  • Of the 13 players shortlisted, we identified the top three players who could support the client with their fast follower strategies

Our Impact

The client tied up with one of the top three shortlisted players and expressed satisfaction of working with the shortlisted player on its fast follower strategy.