CPC goes BIO - Approaching the Healthcare and Medical Biotechnology sector

Frankfurt, 19. December 2016 – As Change Management consultants, we are always eager to learn about the challenges and opportunities that key players in different industry sectors are facing, and thus contribute with our expertise to help them master their endeavours. The Healthcare and Medical Biotechnology sector has lately enjoyed a vertiginous development, and so with it many challenges have come up. We have identified four major areas that will shape the Healthcare and Medical Biotechnology sector of the future, and build the basement on which this sector will sustain its growth.


  • Integration of Big Data Analysis to Diagnostics and R&D projects. The exponentially growing amount of data to which pharmaceutical companies have access to, represents both a challenge and an opportunity. The successful integration of this information avalanche will indeed help them make strategic decisions and stay a step ahead, only if they are able to handle skilfully the amount of information they gather.
  • Update the Business Model. The combination of Big Data analysis, new discoveries in Genetics, advances in Bioinformatics, Immunology and related fields, have pushed the entire sector towards a new paradigm, personalized medicine. This paradigm change demands not only the integration of the above mentioned new technologies, but also requires to embrace the possibility of new business models. It is perhaps time to gear from the search for “Blockbuster” drugs towards personalized and tailor fit made treatments, promising higher effectivity but also requiring considerable initial investments. 

  • Find a new Collaboration Model.  Patents, Intellectual/Industrial property, Regulatory Framework, Licensing, etc., is where the healthcare and biotechnology industry puts most of its assets. In order to reduce the pressure and open up new collaboration possibilities, alternatives such as Open Source innovation, patent free collaborations and Public funded Industry-Academia collaborations have risen as new niches to boost scientific exchange and speed up the development of new treatments. Such models are still in early development stages, require continuous revision and, most of all, the commitment of all parties involved. From a Management perspective, this model claims an effective and efficient management strategy in order to endure and not perish as just another failed experiment.

  • Integration and Translation. Another path to bring in new technologies and knowledge to existing companies is to externalise or capture external assets, namely encourage projects spin-offs and build innovation labs/centres or acquire or fund Start-ups, respectively. Here the challenge is not represented by how companies grow those assets, but rather how is that they want to integrate back in the sponsor organisation these new technologies and knowledge generated, and at the same time capitalize them as new products or services. Besides knowledge and technology transfer management, personnel management and leadership are also significant issues. The spirit, speed and settings (“Triple S”) lived in fast paced environments - spinoffs, innovation labs or start-ups - is far different from what you find in long established large Pharmaceuticals, which is good in order to promote an innovative atmosphere and agility, but represents a major challenge when successful projects are chosen to be scaled up and integrated back into sponsor organisations. The differences in the “Triple S” in this case can be a major obstacle, and they can be mastered with a good Change Management strategy.

Besides future challenges, the Healthcare and Medical Biotechnology sector is already today having turbulent times. Despite the maturity of this sector, there is a voracious competence and a strong pressure to continually “change”. There is no secure position in the market and competitors appear, disappear and reappear in an almost regular basis. For companies wanting to remain competitive, they do not only need to optimize standard processes, like production, supply chain, delivery or marketing, they also need to optimize their internal technology transfer processes, stakeholder management, regulatory awareness, and so many more. On top of that, this sector is still searching for an effective and efficient management strategy for R&D projects. Managers openly assume this issue as a major challenge today. It is often recalled the fact that despite large budgets being spent in R&D and the efforts to increase success rate in those projects, there is still a suboptimal performance.

Author: Dr. Álvaro E. Bustos, Consultant bei CPC