;   Medical Translation Insight: Notes from Orlando: what happens when a big fish swallows a smaller one? - ForeignExchange Translations

Notes from Orlando: what happens when a big fish swallows a smaller one?
It's day two at the Partnerships in Clinical Trials conference. This morning saw an interesting keynote session on the impact of a major acquisition in the pharmaceutical world.

In May of 2008, the Japanese pharma giant Takeda acquired American firm Millennium Pharma in a nine billion dollar deal. While it was a bold move for the company, Takeda had an ambitious plan to use the acquisition to push for leadership in cancer treatment. Two years on from the acquisition, we heard this morning from Nancy Simonian, Millennium's Chief Medical Officer and Senior VP of Clinical, Medical and Regulatory Affairs.

Ms. Simonian started out her talk with an overview of Millennium – a small, relatively young, company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Takeda's desire in acquiring Millennium was to make it an anchor company, with fully integrated R&D that was established in oncology. The challenge was to incorporate the company into Takeda while maintaining its small company culture and innovative, science-driven spirit.

Takeda set up Millennium as an autonomous business unit. Immediately after acquisition, Millennium went from having to handle four molecules to 14, a growth that would require a new way to do business. This new way meant smart outsourcing to introduce scalability in conducting clinical trials. It required Millennium to examine what it wanted to maintain in-house and what they wanted to commit to the CRO-partners – a re-mapping across the value chain. It was decided to shift internal focus to innovative activities and to outsource standardized work.

In the process of establishing a sourcing vision, the company used surveys to determine goals. They decided to use a small core team to drive competitive advantage while partnering with full-service CROs that could take the load off of internal Millennium staff. This shift was met with initial hesitation but was mitigated through training. Rather than lay off employees, Millennium trained staff to oversee processes rather than strictly doing the work, a smarter way to leverage the company's intellectual capital.

Meanwhile, an analysis of how many CROs were needed led to the conclusion to select three full-service CROs in addition to using some functional service providers. For the future, Millennium is working to refine processes, establish metrics and closely partner with its selected CROs to build long-term collaborations.

While it is still early days in the transformation, Ms. Simonian is confident that the steps they've taken and the road map they have laid out will lead to Takeda's goal of being a top oncology company by the year 2020.

ForeignExchange covers the Partnerships in Clinical Trials conference in detail. Check out our comprehensive coverage.]

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