Year: 2007-08

Company: Theravance

Liaison(s): Kenneth Pitzer

Theravance is a pharmaceutical company located in San Francisco that specializes in discovery and commercialization of small molecule drugs for several conditions including respiratory disease, bacterial infections and gastrointestinal dysfunction. The objective of the Theravance Team Masters Project was to explore emerging global resources to speed drug discovery and early development. Globalization has presented a series of opportunities for U.S.-based pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in processes such as contract manufacturing and clinical trials. Cost savings has been an important factor that has promoted outsourcing of such scaledependent processes. This project, however, focused on how global resources can be used to reduce the time needed to discover candidate molecules meeting a specified preclinical profile. The implications of reduced time to market are longer market exclusivity and increased revenues. The assessment took the perspective of a mid-sized firm such as Theravance which currently has one location in the United States. After gaining an understanding of the current Theravance approach to drug discovery and early development, the project team identified several alternative opportunities to use global resources to speed the R&D process. Through interviewing key opinion leaders and senior members at Theravance, the team quantified the potential benefits and risks associated with pursuing these opportunities. Using a structured decision analysis process, the team evaluated and ranked these options. The top three alternatives were developed into detailed strategic plans including key actions, timelines and budgets. These detailed strategic plans also highlighted the important success factors and associated risks (regulatory, operational, cultural, etc.). The results of the project and the detailed strategic plans were presented to the Theravance senior management.