Christoph Huwe has more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry in different roles at Bayer (Germany), Berlex Biosciences (USA) and Schering AG (Germany). He has been responsible for alliances and consortia in Europe, the US and China for more than 10 years, covering various therapeutic areas. He is also a founding member of Bayer's Alliance Community Excellence team focussing on alliance management capability development, and has served as member of the Pharma Industry Benchmarking Forum and the EFPIA Industry Liaison Group.

About the Speaker

Ahead of the 10th Annual Strategic Alliance Management for Pharma conference, we spoke with Christoph Huwe, Ph.D., CSAP, Director, Strategic Alliance Management at Bayer Pharmaceuticals

In this year's edition we will address the complex and changing interaction between Alliance Management (AM) and Business Development (BD): Can you explain how your personal perception has evolved regarding these two functions and their relationship over the past years? 

I think what we have seen in many organizations is that BD had started many partnerships and not all of them worked out well, because closing the deal is really only the start of the relationship. As a consequence, AM was formed to ensure that the partner organizations are getting the value out of the partnership that they have expected when entering it.
Accordingly, in the past, alliances were often handed over from BD to AM after the contract was signed, and typically there was not much interaction between the two functions afterwards, except in very special situations like a significant change of business terms. However, that interaction has changed over time and today I would argue that having AM involved much earlier is considered a best practice.
However, I personally believe that in the future we will see more and more that, within an existing alliance, there will be a need to bring in capabilities, projects or assets from additional parties, and also to divest projects which might not be most likely to succeed within a particular alliance set-up. This will require AM to act a bit more like BD, constantly looking for such opportunities.
At the same time, I would expect that many organizations will measure their BD functions based on the success of their deals, and that will include long-term success. Consequently, aiming at deal structures that work out in the long run will be an even stronger priority for BD. Therefore, in the future, I actually expect the job descriptions of BD and AM to get closer to each other, with both sides adopting some of the behaviors of the other.

What is the value of AM interacting with BD early on, already during the negotiation or due diligence phases, both for AM and BD?

I think that having AM involved early on gives an organization an opportunity to influence key alliance success factors already before starting the partnership. Let me mention just three examples.
A key task for AM in the alliance preparation phase is to evaluate the strategic, operational and cultural fit of the potential partners, as well as their partnering capability. While a less than perfect match in these areas certainly can be managed, this analysis can be an important factor during the partner selection phase.
Additionally, AM should ensure that the contract terms will help to achieve the alliance goals. For example, the interests of the partners should be adequately considered in the contract terms, in order to achieve full buy-in and to avoid issues later in the alliance working phase. Other areas to watch include the governance model, meeting structure, documentation and publication rules, all of which have to be practical.
Finally, the negotiation phase should be used by AM to start building trust, which helps to instill collaborative behavior within the alliance team more quickly.
While these points can certainly be considered beneficial for AM, as mentioned before it typically will be in the interest of a BD function to start alliances that ultimately meet the expectations of all partners. Therefore, I personally believe that having AM involved early on is in BD's best interest as well.

As AM and BD do differ in roles and mission, which skills should the AM function leverage in order to work closely with BD and positively impact the overall strategy?

Almost by definition AM is good at understanding the interests of another party and aiming at sustainable long-term relationships that meet the expectations of multiple stakeholders. This applies to external parties, but obviously also to internal ones.

It is often stated that the majority of effort of AM is actually directed at the own organization, dealing with alignment, coordination and generally making sure the internal functions are getting value out of the alliances they are participating in. I believe that AM, therefore, is very well positioned to facilitate close interaction with BD.

What do you expect to get out of the 10th Annual Strategic Alliance Management for Pharma?

I continue to consider the conference a premier European conference focused on biopharma alliances, which over the years has developed into a key event. The first steps to broaden the coverage of the topics discussed above further reinforces this impression. Participation is, therefore, an excellent opportunity to observe current developments, to obtain feedback, talk to potential future partners, and to generally learn from others in the AM community.

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Strategic Alliance Management 
for Pharma

7-9 October 2020
Amsterdam, Netherlands 

An interview with Christoph Huwe, Ph.D., CSAP, Director, Strategic Alliance Management at Bayer Pharmaceuticals

About the Conference

Alexia Mavronicola
Tel.: +357 22 849 404
Fax: +357 22 849 394

This 10th edition marcus evans conference on Strategic Alliance Management for Pharma will focus on demonstrating the value and role of alliance management, strengthening the skills of alliance function, aligning the right resources and projects, integrating into global portfolio strategy. Internally, we will have a closer look at business development functions, integration processes, and third party-procurement involvements; externally, we will focus on adapting quickly to a diversity of partners, new business models, fast processes and multiple challenges that may occur in the life of pharma agreements. Come and join us for the only dedicated Pharma Alliance conference in Europe!

For More Information:

Christoph Huwe,
Ph.D., CSAP, Director, SAM
Bayer Pharmaceuticals

10th Annual