Life science companies are always on the lookout for promising opportunities such as new technology, new molecules or new partnerships. Staying ahead of the competition requires that companies quickly, but thoroughly, evaluate thousands of proposals every year. In the hunt for new opportunities, a catchall email address is typically provided, enabling unknown, external solvers to submit their innovation or proposal. However, this type of unstructured collection process is not only time-consuming, but risks IP poisoning. These problems can be intelligently avoided by launching a branded portal that structures the collection process, transforming unsolicited submissions into real opportunities aligned with strategy. Read on to learn more.

The opportunity catchall

Global business development teams and technology scouts are constantly on the move, attending partnering events, conferences and exhibitions all over the globe. As a catchall for any opportunities they don’t find, companies provide general information regarding their therapeutic areas of interest and a (sometimes hard to find) generic partnering email address. This inbox for unsolicited emails is managed by a single user at the company, who must quickly sort through the junk and forward the mail to the appropriate person. Beyond being merely inefficient and time-consuming, this method also brings with it considerable risks.

The danger of unsolicited emails

Simply transferring the email proposal provides no traceability, which heightens IP contamination risks. The email could easily be transferred throughout the organization, eventually landing in the inbox of a researcher working on a similar internal project.  Even if it doesn’t happen, can the organization provide proof against accusations of IP theft?

Less threatening, but still important, is the risk that the information will simply be lost in the shuffle, never receiving a response. This is the type of behavior that causes pharma companies to be labeled as bad partners. As we’ve said before, being a good partner pays off.

Ultimately, this unstructured collection process wastes time, is prone to errors, risks IP integrity and damages partnering reputation. However, by launching a portal for partnering, organizations are both able to handle unsolicited proposals in a secure, efficient manner and to develop these unknown solvers into an ecosystem of partners.

Taking the mystery out of the unknown

Through a partnering portal, everyone is able to publicly view the company’s generic needs and to submit their proposals. Using information from the submission form, proposals are automatically sent to the appropriate evaluator and are easy to triage by key information, such as IP status. Because the proposals are kept in a central database, there is a high level of traceability, ensuring that all submissions get a timely response and don’t fall into the wrong hands. Evaluators are even able to collaborate with their colleagues, for example by requesting reviews.

Regardless of whether the opportunity is pursued or not, the submitter’s information is retained. This allows the enterprise to reexamine proposals if they become of interest later and to get to know their unknown solvers. Overtime, the organization will find their best partners, developing a network of trusted collaborators. As the diagram shows, organizations maximize the value creation and efficiency of their partnering activities by advancing from a passive process (where they collect unsolicited submissions from unknown solvers) all the way to a fully integrated process (where they’ve gotten to know their unknown solvers and found the best to actively work with).

Portals for Partnering

Want to learn more about how to transform a network of unknown solvers into a profitable network of partners?  Check out the new Inova Software white paper, The Key to Open Innovation Success: An Ecosystem of Partners.