It is well known that the days of Pharma thriving on blockbuster drugs are long gone. The drug development process is lengthy – currently spanning 15 years. And drugs on the market are coming off patent with few drugs to replace the significant revenue loss.
As a result, measures to cut costs or just control costs have become the new way of life. Companies must exercise prudence regarding which drug development programs they choose to invest in. This entails a portfolio assessment of compounds currently in their pipeline. This portfolio assessment results in decisions that determine the fate of the compound in development.
For example, a company may make a decision to discontinue development of a compound, place it on hold, or increase or decrease resource allocation towards development. They may decide to license a new technology or promising compound in development, or even acquire another company. To make these decisions, executives need to be in a position to have a complete view of their pipelines.
There are cases where some companies utilize varying tools for planning and managing drug development programs resulting in complications for pipeline decision-making. It is not unheard of for them to have a pocket of Project Managers leveraging MS Project as their tool of choice, another pocket using MS Excel, and still another pocket using…believe it or not, MS PowerPoint to plan and manage their drug development programs. As you can imagine problems with visibility into the project plan by key stakeholders becomes an issue. This is particularly true when official versions are saved to desktops.
Effective Portfolio Assessment
Ineffective scenario planning by Project Managers, as well as the inability to create a full portfolio view for management may exist as well. Management is unable to prioritize projects, discern if compounds in the pipeline fit the current strategy, or even assess whether there is a risk to the current portfolio. Leveraging an enterprise solution can solve the ills mentioned above and many others as well. To get there, here are 5 suggested actions to take:
- Select consistent tools and processes for project planning of drug development projects
- Deploy tools and processes, and provide appropriate training for Project Managers
- Create reports and dashboards that address portfolio decision-making questions
- Communicate and make accessible the availability of project-level and portfolio views, as well as reports and dashboards to key stakeholders
- Monitor the enterprise solution to ensure adjustments (e.g. changes in reports) are made if needed
There are multiple enterprise solutions from which a company can select. For example, one might select MS Project Server which is an enterprise solution that utilizes MS SharePoint for portfolio management by storing project information on a secure, central server. Whichever the solution, take the actionable steps outlined above to lay the foundation for pharma pipeline decisions. And began to reap the benefits of enterprise portfolio planning.