Designing and Implementing a Drug Strategy Approach

Applied Clinical Trials

This well-attended afternoon session focused on why strategy execution was important, and what it was, as well as the importance of innovation, strategy process, and various factors affecting strategy. The session also addressed how to approach creating a change in a strategy approach and gave an example of how to implement this change through the pharmaceutical company, Novartis.

Peter Harpum, Managing Director at Harpum Consulting Ltd., United Kingdom, kicked off the session. He noted that high quality project management was proven to be vital in delivering strategy, and effective translation of R&D strategy to project strategy is absolutely critical. Harpum joked that while many companies might be thrilled to follow SOP guidelines "to the letter," they often balked when it came to following the management process. He emphasized that a proper management process reduces the margin for error. Companies can accomplish this by using the project strategy process, which he broke down for the audience, and explained that each company needed to tailor the process to suit its individual environmental needs. Harpum additionally touched on the importance of involving the company’s stakeholders when creating a strategy.

According to Harpum, project managers need to focus on what resources they need, and then from there, either use the resources provided within their own company or find them through an outside CRO. The project manager is additionally faced with questions such as what major activities do we (the company) need to do? What specific capabilities do we need and don’t have? What is the team organization going to be?

Other important factors impacting strategy development include a chaotic and changing environment, corporate R&D strategy, the drive to outsource, and multiple partnering arrangement among others.

To end the session, Sandra R. Teixeira, PhD, Associate Director, Research Management, Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research, showcased Novartis’ experience with implementing the strategy approach. She began from when the company began to make changes in 2008 and ended with what they are doing now in 2011. Teixeira explained how the company broke down how they wanted to work to five key principles and then went on to seek insight from stakeholders before finalizing its strategy. Since 2008, Novartis has expanded to work with nine creative teams and 38 team workshops.