UIDP Contracting Forum Speaker Spotlight: Mark Ralph, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals
Mark Ralph is executive director and global head, contracts & alliance management, of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He will present on the panel, “Getting to Yes: What Leading Companies and Universities are doing to Reduce Negotiation Times” at the UIDP Contracting Forum.
UIDP: What is a common factor that slows down negotiating a U-I contract that is also within the locus of control for contracting professionals to change?
Ralph: A major contributor to slowing down the contracting process is a misunderstanding of the research being conducted and the potential outcomes. Everyone hopes that a collaboration results in a new therapeutic; however, most of the time U-I collaborations are more focused on the fundamental biology of a disease and less about new treatments. This isn’t to say that the partnership isn’t important, but both parties have to realize that this is just one piece of a much larger and complicated effort to bring a therapy to patients. Maybe the best outcome for everyone is a publication or greater understanding of how future therapeutics may impact a disease.
Another factor that slows down the process is a lack of understanding of the inherent contracting limitations due to university policies or laws. The best negotiators, from both universities and industry, understand these limitations in-depth and are knowledgeable about what creative options can be explored to arrive at a win-win outcome
UIDP: From your perspective, what is the number one reason for a contracting professional to attend UIDP’s Contracting Forum?
Ralph: There are actually a couple. The first is to learn more about what each party—industry or university—is looking for in a collaboration. I think everyone has the desire to advance science and make new discoveries, but other driving factors may be very different and conflicting. Timing of publications and access to intellectual properties always make for interesting discussions.
Second, new issues are popping up all the time within the negotiating paradigm between not-for-profit (academic) and for-profit (industry) institutions. I personally feel that the compliance landscape has become a lot more complicated over the past four to five years. Concerns around patient confidentiality, perceived bribery/corruption conflicts, pharmacovigilance, and general data protection all add further complexities. The UIDP Contracting Forum is a great medium to have concentrated discussions about these topics as they come up.