How to Have a Successful International Partnership

The number of partnerships in life sciences continues to grow as organizations seek to expand their pipeline by collaborating with companies from around the world. With this trend of symbiotic collaboration becoming the industry norm, how can you ensure that your global partnership is successful?

Evaluate the Contract Structure Early On

When you are negotiating the initial licensing deal, it is crucial that all elements of the contract are examined in detail early on as well as continuously throughout the length of the partnership. The contract needs to be structured in a way where both parties mutually benefit but also where you are not sacrificing your company’s value in the process. This includes negotiating the ownership and use of IP that is created as a result of the deal as this can get increasingly complex as time goes on. If both parties are aligned with the conditions prescribed as part of the term sheet then this can make the transition from an initial non-binding offer to the much longer contract significantly easier – increasing the chances of partnership success.

Assign a Dedicated Alliance Manager

Challenges and roadblocks are inevitable in any partnership. To ensure smooth and efficient communication between both organizations, it is helpful for each party to have a dedicated alliance manager to handle the day-to-day tasks involved in the collaboration. This includes handling and giving any information or resources that the other party may require. Although it differs on a case-by-case basis, the alliance manager typically incorporates tasks such as:

  • Contract management: This involves fulfilling and monitoring the terms made out in the contract such as milestone payments, royalties, or renegotiating any terms made in the event of a conflict of opinion between both parties.
  • Process management: Ensuring an effective understanding of the ground rules of the partnership, along with establishing a protocol for team meetings, decision-making, and other interactions between the two organizations.
  • Monitoring progress: Tracking the progress made according to the goals of the partnership and previously defined KPIs, along with periodic health checks.
  • Relationship building: Fostering alignment between both parties, ensuring a mutual understanding between all members of the partnership, along with activities that can aid in having both parties on the same page.

This point-of-contact role can help your organization make the most of company collaborations and partnerships while also resolving any conflicts that may appear.

Nurture the Relationship

Nurturing is a fundamental activity in all business relationships, no less in any collaborations or deals. Otherwise, there is a strong possibility that the relationship will erode as a result of communication and collaboration issues. While science is the groundwork of the deal, the human factor cannot be neglected while the partnership is in progress. Ensuring a high-quality, strong relationship between both parties can help both parties fulfill their terms of the deal and deter any potential negative behavior that can affect the collaboration. Consistent, transparent communication is an important component of any partnership. This can be difficult in a global partnership where there can be geographic and time constraints, but it cannot be left neglected.