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Why Pharma Needs to Do Early-Stage Deals

Executive Summary

Though there are far more preclinical than late-stage compounds available, drug firms don't license these still-early projects frequently because they prefer to reduce their risk with later-stage compounds. But by increasing the number of preclinical deals, in effect creating a venture portfolio of a few winners among many losers, drug firms would do better economically--even if they increase preclinical deal prices by 50%. That may be necessary: biotechs have held back on preclinical deals because of poor deal terms; sweetened offers, particularly in the current financing desert, would induce them to change their wait-for-late-stage-deal mentalities. Meanwhile, to alter their dealmaking habits, Big Pharma companies will need to make significant changes--among them, redrawing their financial models, elevating the role of and increasing corporate resources for licensing, and restructuring licensing's relationship to internal R&D.

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