The case for leaders with scientific acumen in pharma


Pharmafile | January 25, 2016

The Pharmafile article, "The case for leaders with scientific acumen in pharma," bylined by Russell Reynolds Associates' Dana Krueger, discusses the need for a new generation of innovative leaders in the pharmaceutical industry. The article is excerpted below.  

Pharmaceutical companies are currently undergoing fundamental, disruptive changes to conventional research and development models. This is in an attempt to address longer product development cycles, ever more stringent approval requirements, and greater scrutiny of pricing.

However, most pharmaceutical companies are struggling. Not with a lack of good science, but with how to deliver that science in the form of effective and affordable medicines. In order to overcome this challenge, we will need a new generation of confident, innovative, and adaptable leaders who will evolve business models, move away from a process culture, and put the delivery of science centre stage.

Looking sideways

The recent surge in product approvals has been welcome news for the pharma industry. However, the cost of bringing a product to market continues to rise: with the average price of developing a new medicine sitting at over US$1 billion, pressure on organisations and their R&D teams to develop medicines that will achieve blockbuster status is greater than ever before.

For decades, the traditional approach to improving productivity has been focused on mitigating the risk of clinical failure in the pipeline. Recently, we have seen more diversified tactics, such as targeted acquisition of external pipeline assets, partnerships with other companies, large reorganisations of in-house R&D units and footprints, and extreme focus on high-value specialty areas such as rare or orphan disease indications.

Despite these developments, it is difficult to predict what amount of tweaking the traditional R&D model will need to move the needle on innovation and productivity overall. There is an acute need to address the key operational issues of organisational complexity and top-level decision-making. Pharma company executives will need the courage and knowledge to make bold, strategic decisions to drive fundamental change through their teams in order to achieve the longer-term success rates they strive for.

To read the full article, click here.

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The case for leaders with scientific acumen in pharma