Paul Biondi

Why Competition in Deal Making is Good For Patients

June 18, 2017 | By Paul Biondi, Head of Business Development, Global Business Operations


little over a year ago, I came to BIO International for the first time in my role as head of Business Development for Bristol-Myers Squibb after spending 15 years in R&D. Now, working on the other end of the spectrum, leading the search for strategic partnerships and scientific innovation, I can more clearly see the intensity of competition that companies face in deal making to advance portfolios and bring medicines to patients.

While much of the public narrative often centers on the financial and business strategy of deal making, competition is pushing companies like Bristol-Myers Squibb to grow into better partners for biotech, academia and peers . . .and that is a good thing for patients. 

Here’s how competition is shaping better partnerships.

Increased levels of engagement

Deals don’t just happen on paper – they bring together talent, science and capabilities in tangible ways, and it’s debate, scientific dialogue and collaboration that adds value to the end result and helps accelerate innovation.

Creative flexibility

One size doesn’t fit all in making a deal, and companies are more often finding ways to create agreements that offer flexibility to allow novel ideas and smart science to flourish, whether it’s through an increased investment in VC-led initiatives, academic research agreements, spinouts or option agreements.  This increased flexibility encourages us all to look for creative ways to advance science.

Science-first mindset

The financials are critical, but it’s not all about the numbers. Sound science is essential to forming the foundation of a good partnership. That was true of our acquisition of Medarex that fueled our Immuno-Oncology portfolio as it was for strategic collaborations such as Adnexus, Ono or Five Prime  - each started with a trust in the science that has led to the development of pioneering medicines and new approaches to research.

While these elements are important, something else has become more clear with every agreement we sign.

Last year after we licensed a targeted therapy for advanced NASH, a disease with limited treatment options, our team immediately received a phone call asking how a family member could gain access to a clinical trial for this investigational medicine. It was an important reminder that every collaboration, research agreement, licensing deal or acquisition is a more than just a business deal. For patients and their loved ones, it’s a sign of hope.