Biopharmaceutical Partnerships in Context: Joining Forces to Combat COVID-19 Stakeholders around the world are working tirelessly to research, develop and manufacture safe and effective COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. Such an urgent and substantial undertaking requires robust collaboration across the research and development ecosystem and now more than ever it is critical that both public and private assets be brought to bear in addressing COVID-19. Armed with experience garnered from previous outbreaks and decades of knowledge about infectious diseases, America’s biopharmaceutical companies have joined forces to fight COVID-19. Companies are leading by collaborating with each other and key health stakeholders on efforts to address the global health crisis through developing diagnostics, treatments and vaccines to help save lives and restore the rhythms of daily life for billions of people. Partnerships that typically take months to plan and formalize are now coming together on an abbreviated timeline, pulling on the process and infrastructure that the industry and ecosystem has been developing over decades. A selection of illustrative examples of collaborations designed to address the COVID-19 pandemic appear throughout the report.
The growing trend toward strategic intra- and crosssector collaboration to address critical biomedical and public health challenges takes many forms ranging from joint ventures, informal and formal affiliations, to research consortia, and formal publicprivate partnerships facilitated by federal agency partners.1 A Deloitte study analyzing the ways in which partnerships have impacted biomedical progress found a significant increase in collaborative models like joint ventures and consortia in recent years, noting that between 2005-2014, 334 new research and development (R&D) consortia formed—approximately nine times the number of consortiums formed during the previous decade. 2 This movement towards increased strategic partnership is perhaps unsurprising considering the benefits. Partnerships across the health care ecosystem have the capacity to extend and streamline the continuum of care, drive innovation and advance information sharing, facilitate innovative contracting arrangements, improve communication and feedback mechanisms and generate value—all of which ultimately contribute to better health outcomes for patients. Recently there has been an increased focus on the role and importance of broad public-private partnerships in light of the global coronavirus pandemic, as we have seen an unprecedented level of collaboration around solutions to address and combat COVID-19. That said, it is important to recognize that collaborative initiatives and strategic partnerships are occurring across the health system to address a broad range of today’s most pressing health challenges. It is critical that we acknowledge the essential role these collaborations play to all kinds of patients and to society at large and that a supportive policy and regulatory environment is in place to ensure that we can continue to build on the successes to date. This report seeks to provide a snapshot of the diverse array of collaborative efforts currently being pursued across the biopharmaceutical space to advance medical progress, improve patient outcomes and contribute to a stronger, more productive and healthier society.