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Nov 25, 2013
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

AstraZeneca BD 3.0

How AstraZeneca is further embedding BD into therapeutic areas

AstraZeneca plc's latest iteration of business development is pushing the center of gravity even further toward R&D. After a 2012 restructuring put search and evaluation for early stage assets into the hands of researchers, the pharma is now implanting business development teams into therapeutic areas at all stages of development.

A Global Portfolio and Product Strategy (GPPS) unit now provides strategic oversight for R&D, business development and commercial for each therapeutic area from discovery through market. While GPPS was announced in January, the company hasn't discussed its new business development structure publicly until now.

This is the second reorganization of business development in four years, with each step integrating BD further into R&D.

Four years ago, AZ's Strategic Partnering and Business Development team (SPBD) was a separate entity from the rest of the pharma's business. SPBD handled all small molecule partnering, from sourcing to developing relationships and executing transactions. The business development team at AZ's MedImmune LLC unit was responsible for deals involving biologics.

In 2010, then-President of R&D Martin MacKay and Shaun Grady, who was VP and head of SPBD, changed the model to put scientists in a central BD role (see BioCentury, Feb. 6, 2012).

The revamped model established strategy groups within each early stage R&D therapy area, which are known as Innovative Medicine and Early Development units. The iMEDs are responsible for small molecule R&D from discovery through Phase II. Similar groups were installed in the MedImmune biologics unit. The strategy groups were given responsibility for sourcing external assets.

SPBD took over potential deals once it was time to put together an investment case for an asset. SPBD also was responsible for finding opportunities in Phase III and beyond.

At the time, Grady said the...

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