IDBS Blog | 17th March 2016

Data Deluge in the Age of R&D Mega-Mergers

At IDBS, we often speak about the significant competitive pressures that R&D organizations must tackle in today’s business environment. In this challenging global market, the established players must find new ways to deliver more innovation, cut costs, fend off competitors and get products to market faster.

Combined with record-low US interest rates and a looming patent cliff, this search for greater shareholder value has also fuelled an M&A ‘frenzy’ – particularly in the pharma and biotech sectors. Last year saw a staggering £298 billion worth of M&A deals announced in the pharma sector alone, and research suggests this will continue with pharma and biotech set to be among the most active industries for deals again in 2016. Brent Saunders, CEO and President of Actavis, went as far as to describe his company’s £46 billion takeover of Allergan as creating a leader in a new industry model: ‘Growth Pharma’.

Data, data, data

Throughout this consolidation, data still remains at the heart of every pharma and biotech operation – it is the core IP that drives innovation, new discoveries and, ultimately, the bottom line. But what happens when you merge two vast R&D organizations with different, fragmented technology infrastructures, different processes, products and working cultures?

In our experience, it creates a wave of data that companies can prepare for by having the right infrastructure in place before any deal. If you can’t unpick all the data, and sort it between business units, that’s a big problem. The data needs to be properly structured, tagged with the right metadata, this then makes it easier to assign to the right teams and projects in the ‘New Co’. This is equally important in the increasingly common cases where a firm divests one of its divisions, or, much like Sanofi’s recently announced deal with Boehringer Ingelheim, where large organizations enter into ‘asset swap’ agreements to share or exchange IP.

These data challenges are compounded when you consider the wholesale shift towards virtualized, collaborative research. Large firms must find new ways to share and work on data with external partners, while still keeping security tight and protecting their IP. Again, accuracy and structure is key for this data. We have seen this first hand, and recently launched E-WorkBook Connect that will allow customers to collaborate with other research stakeholders and share scientific research and development data in the cloud whilst meeting the rigorous security and re-integration requirements. If you want to find out more about E-WorkBook and the new Connect module, check out our free webinar here.

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