Life Science Leader Magazine Supplements

CRO Leadership Awards 2017

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with those individuals to see if the two sides would click. The discussions at each meeting became more technical and more operational. There were also more questions along the line of, "What would you do in this case?" Or "How would you handle this situa- tion?" Nabulsi notes that each discussion became more in-depth than the previous. During this entire vetting process, the CRO rankings maintained by Takeda changed dramatically. Nabulsi emphasizes again that these changes were not entirely due to technical elements. Those elements were cer- tainly important and were weighted accordingly. But equally important were the feelings of Takeda person- nel about how the two companies could work together as partners, and Nabulsi believes that factor, more than any other, helped make the decision easy. "Simply looking at measured deliverables might be sufficient when signing a two- or three-year deal," says Nabulsi. "But we were interested in a long-term rela- tionship. Therefore we needed to see if each partner had the ability to commit to and invest in that type of relationship. This is something we had never done before, so having an experienced partner beside us on the journey was paramount. We also needed them to work with us to create the model we wanted, as opposed to trying to force us into a model they wanted because they had done it before. They had to be open to saying, 'We have never done this before, but we think it is a great idea and are willing to discuss how we can do it together.'" THEY ARE NOT A CRO If you ask Nabulsi about outsourcing to a CRO, he will quickly correct you and describe the relationship as a part- nership. In fact, in internal discussions, Takeda does not even refer to PRA as a CRO. He notes it is part of the culture they are trying to build between the two companies. "I hear people say, 'My company has contracted with a CRO,'" says Nabulsi. "We do not consider this to be out- sourcing, and we do not see them as an external com- pany. They are a partner. With the recently announced creation of a Takeda-PRA joint venture in Japan, we have more than 400 employees moving from one loca- IF YOU'RE THE BEST, CONVINCE ME Nabulsi notes that he did not request any specific type of presentation. Companies were asked to send whoev- er they felt would be relevant to the relationship and explain their plan. The disparity in presentations was actually quite surprising. All of the potential partners showed up with senior executives. Some teams even included the company's CEO. While some of the pre- sentations were structured and had an engineered feel to them (including detailed slides with parameters, metrics, and promised deliverables), others brought in a team of high-level executives who just sat and talked about what they hoped to accomplish with the part- nership. Although more informal, these conversations were still very deep. Although the feel of the presentations varied, he notes that was expected because of the lack of formal guid- ance provided. "For the first engagement, we were far more interested in how we connected with each other," he says. "We wanted to know if they had an apprecia- tion for what we were trying to accomplish. This was not a bid process. It was an attempt to see if we had enough in common to form the basis of a successful trusting partnership." After that process was complete, Takeda moved on to the next step, which was asking the CROs to present a couple of key elements of their plan. There were gener- ally two or three of those meetings, and they were more in-depth than the initial meetings. More individuals were involved, and technical details were provided on out- sourcing and procurement. Takeda personnel asked a lot of specific questions, and the CROs were also permitted to ask questions in response. This allowed Takeda to gain additional insights into the plan being presented. TAKEDA IS COMING TO VISIT The next phase of the selection process involved visit- ing the CROs in their offices and meeting their people. Each CRO was asked, "If we move forward with this partnership, who are the people on your side who will be involved?" The company then had meetings "WE DID NOT WANT THEM [POTENTIAL CROS] TO THINK ABOUT TRIAL RESULTS AS SIMPLY A DELIVERABLE METRIC." Dr. Azmi Nabulsi Deputy CMSO, Head, Strategic & Professional Affairs BIG PHARMA Outsourcing By E. Miseta TAKEDA OUTSOURCING MODEL SEEKS THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS LIFESCIENCELEADER.COM THE CRO LEADERSHIP AWARDS 2017 14

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