goal of meeting industry quantity requirements by the first quarter of 2010.
THE RIGHT FIT
The steady flow of problems and discussions could easily become frustrating with
the wrong team. That, of course, makes it
all the more important for both partners to
capitalize on shared strengths and find
ways to work in sync.
“Sanofi-Aventis understands the market.
They’ve worked in the developing world,
and they have experience on the not-for-profit side of the industry,” she explains.
“We all speak the same language.”
But it’s not simply a matter of picking the
company with the best product portfolio or
expertise in industrial-scale production. It’s
also about the cultural fit, says Ms. Monroe.
“When choosing partners, you can’t
negate that soft stuff,” she says. “The
Sanofi-Aventis team is a joy to work with
and that’s huge. Sometimes it’s not easy for
people who are new to this kind of project
to handle the stress, but Sanofi-Aventis has
done it enough times not to get frustrated.”
Ultimately, the process works because
both sides invest a great deal of time building
a true partnership.
“We manage the project hand in hand
with One World Health, and we are learning
a lot from each other,” adds Mr. Farret.
Those close ties can help expedite project
progress, a big plus when timelines are far
more compressed, he says.
“We often must overpass the existing
standard procedures in order to be as
efficient as possible and provide the project
output in the shortest time possible,” he says.
At Sanofi-Aventis, a standard project time-line to ramp up volume production is typically
seven to 10 years. But for the artemisinin project, the company expects to move from academic to industrial quantities in under five.
“To be on time, the decision-making
process must be simple and very rapid,” Mr.
That can be difficult, though. Along with
shorter timelines, partnership projects often
have more complicated financial management criteria.
And sometimes teams must also contend
with some cross-cultural issues. “Even though
the Sanofi team speaks English, French is their
first language,” Ms. Monroe says. “So it’s easy
for misunderstandings to arise.”
To prevent problems, she follows up
every discussion with a written summary.
The teams also make a point to spend time
together—outside the office—to strengthen
communication. “Because we’ve built a
relationship, the Sanofi project manager
isn’t uncomfortable calling me with a question or a concern,” she says.
All of this adds up to a healthy partnership.
“These projects can be difficult, but
they are also very fulfilling,” Ms. Monroe
says. “The expertise and experience our
partners bring to the table keeps us moving
forward.” —Sarah Fister Gale PM
and a preferential
pricing policy to
deliver a “no