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Outsourcing: Are You a Speedboat or Ferry?

Is your company a speedboat when it comes to drug discovery?

Outsourcing has proven to reduce costs while dramatically improving productivity of the drug discovery process. Primary benefits to outsourcing drug discovery include higher quality services, direct cost savings, reduced time to clinic, and enhanced innovation.1

Case in point: Anika Therapeutics recently won FDA Pre-Market Approval for the new osteoarthritis treatment, Monovisc. One of the key raw materials used in this drug, as well as in all other Anika products, is hyaluronic acid. They made the decision to outsource the product instead of spending time and money making it internally. “If we really wanted to grow, we couldn’t keep producing it on our own,” said Charles Sherwood, Anika’s President and Chief Executive. The company spent a lot of time on the science to determine they could outsource an equivalent product to what they had in-house from rooster combs. The outsourced hyaluronic acid is produced through bacterial fermentation. “We couldn’t have gotten to where we are today without that decision,” Sherwood says.2

By outsourcing a key raw material, Anika was able to focus their efforts on other areas of the business. They have a concerted effort to focus on safety and quality, which has made a significant impact on the number of complaints filed, ultimately leading to higher patient satisfaction. The Anika team is now able to focus on new product development rather than getting bogged down with complaints, which has been an excellent business strategy! “We’re a speedboat while a lot of our competitors are big ferries. We’re more nimble,” Sherwood concludes.2

How do drug companies find best-in-class outsourcing partners? One route is through Scientist’s Research Exchange program. This unique online service allows one to rapidly drill down through thousands of global vendors to find the handful the can provide the exact service needed. It also features the ability to list company-supplied and external services side-by-side so research and sourcing managers have on-demand data to a comprehensive collection of services, along with performing many other tasks important to various research stakeholders.3

  1. Lustig, K and Petersen C. “The Future of Pharmaceutical Outsourcing.” Pharmaceutical Outsourcing, 2011 (eds. Wilby, R. and Stevens, W.)
  2. Stettner M. “Outsourcing Helps Anika Therapeutics Ramp Up Growth.” (April 2014).
  3. A New Research Engine for the Pharmaceutical Industry?