Concepts like asset management, capital efficiency, value creation, and virtual development seem to dominate the planning and execution of drug development programs today. Given the challenging financial environment, containing costs and maximizing the value of each development dollar is critical to assuring that the industry continues to pursue promising new technologies and therapies.
Executives and project teams are constantly pushed to create value in each therapy or product. Despite our best efforts, however, as an industry the cost of discovering drugs, developing new therapies, and conducting clinical trials continues to soar.
Where does that leave us? Perhaps the time has come to re-examine the concept of virtual development and what that really means. Despite the industry’s grounding in science and its need for precision, we are loose with our business terms. For example, if an executive says, “We are running this program on a virtual model,” there might be several sets of criteria that define exactly what constitutes virtual.
Typically in a virtual model, a company hires a select number of internal staff and then contracts the rest of the work to vendors. Most pharmaceutical and biotech companies operate under some level of outsourcing, though, so there needs to be some specifics for where to draw the line between a virtual model and a lean yet traditional outsourcing model.