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‘This crisis has not only brought into focus the urgency but also the sheer need of partnering’

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Gilles Toulemonde, CEO at Inova Software decodes how the life sciences industry can accelerate partnering against COVID-19 in a chat with Express Pharma

How is COVID-19 changing the way the life sciences industry is working?
Today’s COVID-19 crisis requires a previously unimaginable acceleration of output from the biopharmaceutical and life sciences industry. Researchers are working against the clock in order to understand how the novel coronavirus works and the symptoms it triggers in patients. But beyond getting the science right, there is another side of the equation that needs to be addressed. It is likely that billions of vaccines doses, treatments and tests will be needed to bring the pandemic to an end. This raises a series of questions about the ability to handle the massive scale-up and unprecedented manufacturing capacity needed to deliver urgent solutions to protect health workers in the front line and patients alike.

No single company will be able to answer these challenges alone. This crisis has not only brought into focus the urgency but also the sheer need of partnering.

What is partnering?
Partnering has become central to discovery and development of new therapies in the biopharma sector. Partnering meetings usually take place around large biotech or biopharmaceutical gatherings in convention centers. This is clearly not possible in today’s context, but that doesn’t mean innovation has to come to a standstill.

The solution is to #PartnerAtHome and this is why we mounted the #PartneringAgainstCOVID19 initiative until 6 May, supported by a consortium of biotech clusters. This is an easy way for companies to find the right partner to take their COVID-19 project across the finishing line.

How does the initiative work and what are the benefits of signing up?
#PartneringAgainstCOVID19 aims to connect big and small players in the life sciences industry. Many companies have COVID-19 taskforces and might already have an active partnership or asset on this topic, but they may be needing expertise in clinical trials, research tools, analytical tools, production process scale up, formulation or building strategic alliances on product portfolios.

By registering on virtual-partnering.com until 6 May 2020, companies have access to a comprehensive vetted directory of biotechs, CDMO, academia and suppliers with capabilities on COVID-19.

There are more than 2 500 registered delegates from over 75 countries, including from companies such as 20Med Therapeutics, Abbvie, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Gilead, Merck, Pfizer, Roche, Sanofi and Takeda.

Participation is free and open to any organization that provides products, knowledge, or technologies that can help in the effort to develop and produce testing, treatment and vaccine solutions. Delegates are able to target their search and drill down to the most desirable registered company profiles, products or services and only request the most relevant meetings to their own project.

Meetings take place from 4 May through 6 May using the online meeting system. Meetings only last 30 minutes. They are short but allow enough time for an introduction to the partner and their capabilities. Although the initial meeting is short, the relationship continues afterwards.

How does Inova Software assist companies to form digital alliances?
Inova Software accelerates partnering for the future of medicine. Over 130 life science companies, including 50 per cent of the top 50 pharmaceutical companies already use Inova’s cloud platform. They secure licensing and collaboration opportunities, accelerate deal making and successfully manage their alliances.

Inova Software also provides One-on-One Partnering, the market leading partnering and matchmaking platform that facilitates thousands of face-to-face meetings at dozens of biopharma conferences worldwide including the BIO International Convention and BIO Asia. For instance, in the weeks before the BIO International Convention, 4,000 biopharma companies connect online, list their technologies and capabilities, and request meetings with potential partners. By the time the Convention opens thousands of relevant meetings are scheduled – almost 50,000 at BIO Convention 2019 alone.

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