Alacrita, which aims to change the face of consulting in the life science sector, has published a thought-piece on the effective management of outsourced relationships. The trend for many pharma and biotech companies to virtualise an ever increasing portion of their development activities makes management of outsourcing a critical success factor.

The paper is available at and a presentation of the key findings will be made by Anthony Walker, a founding partner of Alacrita, at the Genesis 2010 conference in London (9th December 2010).

A number of factors are driving the increased use of external development resources. These centre on capital efficiency and risk management, as outsourcing leverages a company’s own infrastructure and allows for the more efficient use of internal resources. However, for this virtual approach to succeed the management of the company’s interface with its external providers needs first-class project management skills and experience.

An ideal solution is to embed an employee in the contractor’s operations, to provide maximum visibility on project progress and emerging issues. Unfortunately this is rarely an option given cross-client confidentiality concerns and resourcing constraints. This means that many companies manage their relationships with service providers at arms-length, giving them little early warning of emerging project roadblocks.

The Alacrita thought-piece explores how a consultant with significant industry experience can act as a neutral interface. This has many benefits for companies carrying out virtual drug development including greater insight into project progress without confidentiality conflicts as well as best-in-class project management at an appropriate cost.

”Efficient outsourcing is crucial to the success of many companies in the biotech sector given the challenging capital markets,” said Dr Walker. “Alacrita’s experienced team of consultants has demonstrated its ability to work with clients to support efficient virtual drug development programmes across many therapeutic areas and, equally importantly, to have a hands-on role in their execution. Experience has shown that virtual drug development is one of the key areas of risk for biopharma companies, and is an example of where Alacrita’s team and approach adds real value.”

Sue Foden, a member of the Alacrita advisory board, and non-executive director of Vectura, CellCentric and Source BioScience, said: “My experience of working with the Alacrita team clearly shows that they can turn theory into real benefits. The ability to bring first-class project management skills to any virtual drug development project is something that all life science companies should look at given the major value and cost implications of getting it wrong.”

Alacrita has not only delivered value to its clients in the field of virtual drug development. The firm’s clients, which span a broad spectrum of the life sector including investors, government bodies and charities, have benefited by accessing Alacrita’s expertise in areas such as technology assessment, business and strategic planning, business development support and infrastructure development.

Rob Johnson, Partner at Alacrita, said, “Alacrita provides clients in the life science sector with a unique offering. With access to a team of over 40 experienced consultants we can address most business areas critical for success in the life science industry. Our track record shows that we can deliver what our clients need efficiently and at an appropriate cost.”

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