Focus On The Right Skills More Relevant To The Pharmaceutical Business Development

Pharmaceutical Business Development Slills
Pharmaceutical Business Development Skills

The issue of pharmaceutical business development is too broad and diverse. This article is only an attempt to touch on a small portion of the various transaction structures and strategies that might be employed for pharmaceutical development business. It provides an overview of business development with a focus on the requirements of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. It will focus on the issues and skills deemed to be most relevant and pertinent to the pharmaceutical business.

Concept of pharmaceutical business development

Business development is any activity that positively affects the pharmaceutical company’s status quo. Planning, expansion, generating profits, and streamlining corporate procedures fall under this category. Planning is a crucial component of pharmaceutical business development. It takes a variety of skills and resources for a business development to put together a successful business plan and its implementation.

Pharmaceutical business development professionals must be well-organized, have a comprehensive understanding of the pharmaceutical industry. He should be able to use imagination, and be skilled at many types of analysis. He needs to have effective communication skills, notably listening and interpreting. It is imperative to have competent organizational skills in order to be able to collect, combine, assemble, and interpret knowledge efficiently.

While the pharmaceutical sector is at the forefront of technological and scientific innovation, putting this science into practise requires imagination and application. Business development professionals must look beyond current technology and toward the future. To build a business, forecasting is essential to see how different products, processes, or even different organisations might be combined to create additional value.

As a company grows and ages, it might occasionally separate products and split off operations that are consuming resources, reducing profit, or stunting growth. In order to boost profitability, they do this. Planning offers various options, including the option to grow the business by adding new products or businesses to the portfolio. You might wonder why companies sell off successful product lines. For the business to thrive, it needs to reevaluate. This is analogous to how gardeners cut off branches that yield less fruit than wood and leaves or that are growing in the wrong direction.

Pharmaceutical business development issues

This may mean liquidating an ageing, sluggish business to concentrate on launching, fast-growing products. As a result, the business will be able to boast quick growth and a decreased reliance on products that face knockoff competition. Eliminating lower-profit yielding lines of business will result in concentrating an organization’s focus on its core capabilities.

A detailed analysis of the business’s plans may also reveal operational issues. When looking for explanations for why growth last year was only a certain percent or why growth next year cannot surpass a certain percent, it may be because of limited manufacturing capacity or a sluggish supply chain.

It’s also possible that orders aren’t being created quickly enough, or that they can’t be processed or dispatched quickly enough. Each of these situations calls for the business development division to take the initiative in determining the issue and outlining potential fixes. Business development professionals play a crucial role in the strategy and direction of the company. This is because they have the abilities to gather and organise the data needed for analysis. Further, they can understand why the company is in the position that it is and how it can grow and improve.

The company’s ability to communicate effectively and keep an eye on the competition depends on business development. Threats and competitors, which can come from a variety of sources, are things that business developers need to be aware of. There are also inherent limitations such as the aging of products and inactivity toward improving them. The business developer is required to pay attention to this in the same way that he or she pays attention to external competition.

Understand competition

The business developer needs to understand competition both direct and indirect as market forces as well as in relation to particular product issues. It’s possible that various approaches, like those used to treat type II diabetes, can be used to address the market opportunity. Controlling diabetes symptoms can be accomplished by altering a person’s diet to help them lose weight. Similarly, a business development professional should employ different approaches and methods to address issues.

Three areas of skills

Business development needs to predict the future of the company based on past data in a diverse, multifunctional ecosystem.

Three different areas make up the skills base for business development.

Pharmaceutical Business Development  Skills
Pharmaceutical Business Development Skills

These skills are knowledge, analysis and communication.


The business development professional needs expertise in industry-specific five key areas. Among them are sales & marketing, supply chains, product development, research, and manufacturing.

Sales and Marketing

Business development is crucial in translating market needs into a design that can generate data to satisfy regulators, as well as knowing the language and constraints of development methodologies. Therefore, a thorough understanding of the market as a sales channel is a necessary component of the knowledge needed to design the product labelling.

There is a structured progression of activities that factor into medicine marketing and sales. To introduce a new product to each market participant, a structured sequence of activities is used. It is designed to demonstrate the product’s role in therapy, promote initial use, and then, based on the results, incorporate the product into regular therapy.

Customers have needs, and how to satisfy those needs is the goal of the clinical trial’s design. One of the most critical aspects of growing a business is providing the salesperson with the appropriate evidence. All other efforts will be in vain if the product and its message are not clear and well-designed. A pharmaceutical product cannot sell by itself.

Supply Chains

Another element that influences the value of a product is the supply chain, particularly logistics management, which is often neglected. Bottlenecks do have a considerable negative impact on the business which needs attention of business development.

Product Development

There are numerous distinct facets of product development, each with its own terminology for the associated norms and procedures. These regulations are in fact a broad topic in and of themselves. Because they need to define each phase, starting with the pre-clinical work of product development and moving on to optimization, formulation, and initial batch manufacture.

Following a series of stages and clinical outcomes, product development continues. These comprise the preliminary trial design, toxicity, research on carcinogenicity, proof-of-concept animal and human testing, clinical trial styling, statistics for research resourcing, regulatory approval of trial design, and process approval for the market.

The business development professional should be familiar with the basic and standard procedures of product development for marketing.


The business development professional does not necessarily need to be a scientist or have experience in this field in order to have knowledge of the research process. For evaluating or pricing a product for sale or for licensing, it is essential to have a basic understanding of the biological principles underlying a drug’s action. This helps to understand the relative strengths and drawbacks of marketed products.


The limitations and procedures of manufacturing play a significant role in a product’s value. If the know-how unique to a method is secret or is patentable, the complex nature of a production process can serve as a defence. However, these difficulties could represent restrictions and obstruct the product’s licensing. The business developer must take into account a product’s manufacturing efficiency while evaluating it.

Analytical skills

There are three different types of analytical abilities that the business development executive needs. Process analysis skills, mathematical analysis abilities, and heuristic skills make up this list.

Process analysis

Process analysis examines the logical flow of a model, such as one in which a product’s forecast can generate from a set of sufficient real data. Examples include data from epidemiologic studies, which may show disease incidence, frequency, or mortality rates.

Mathematical Analysis

Statistics and numbers can penetrate basic data and persuade or discourage if used wisely in the business development function.

Heuristic Analysis

A heuristic is a method frequently used to streamline issues and prevent information overload. Heuristics enable people to quickly arrive at sound judgments or answers to challenging situations. Investors and financial experts employ a heuristic technique to expedite analysis and investment decisions. Heuristics help people make quick decisions. To solve problems or determine a plan of action, people frequently use this kind of informed guesswork, trial and error, process of exclusion, and prior experience.


Business development professionals need more sophisticated communication skills than other professionals. They need communication skills in the linguistic, behavioural, cultural, and legal fields.


An individual’s linguistic proficiency is crucial since it will serve as the foundation for their reasoning. Where there are linguistic gaps between the parties, poor language skills are especially problematic. Even speaking British English to someone who speaks American English can lead to miscommunication.

Therefore, it might be difficult to think in complex terms while communicating in a straightforward and understandable manner when developing a business. The financial ramifications of pharmaceutical industry growth are so significant that you must be careful to communicate as clearly as you can. You must also ensure that the other party understands the information you meant to convey.


Human inclinations trump common sense in behavioural communication. One sometimes wonders what happened to the carefully planned deal. It is here that you find the fundamental issue of conceit, rivalry, seeking revenge for past defeats, or the leader’s ambition to dominate. At times business development may have to deal with such issues as well.


Another challenge in the field of business development is communication across multiple cultures. Cultural diversity may reflect national cultures or the cultures of other groups, such as academics, scientists, or the cultures of manufacturing, marketing, finance, etc.

Even though these groups speak the same language, their usage of words and phrases can convey totally distinct meanings. There is no requirement that business development belong to one of these groups. But business developers should be able to understand and interpret communications between cultures both within and outside of their own firm. This is especially true in situations where a specific cultural bias may be prevalent. For instance, a biotech company may place greater emphasis on scientific principles than on business interests, for instance.

Similarly, public firms and privately held, typically family-owned businesses have quite different cultures. Respecting and understanding other cultures is as difficult as attending to the needs of your own organization.


Another risk in business development for the unwary is legal terminology. Using wrong wording or wrong construction might cost you money when negotiating and preparing agreements. The avoidance of omissions and false claims is equally crucial. Using a checklist for each transaction and for each component of each transaction is one technique to reduce the risk. Even if you do not have any legal background, you should be aware of legal expressions and terminology. You must also know the structure of the many types of transactions commonly used.

Contracts are typically the fundamentals for building business development agreements. The complexity of the contract depends on the number of components and the parties involved. Other legal structures that the business developer needs to understand are partnerships and joint ventures. Intellectual property law, which underpins the majority of the value of products in the pharmaceutical industry, is another area of the law with which the business developer should be knowledgeable.

Last but not least

A successful business development professional should be the focal point of the organisation and have an overall understanding of the influences and interactions that make up the firm. To do this, he must be at the hub of an information network, facilitate communication among co-workers, and propose and act on issues proactively. He needs to research and foresee the competitive environment, and plan and update the company on carefully considered options. He needs to be in charge of the organisational change processes. All of these things require accountability, authority, and flexibility.


  • Ram

    Ram, the author of "Business Development: Perspectives" on Amazon Kindle, has a wealth of experience in business development across multiple industries. He has over 30 years of experience in commodities, FMCG, and software industries, and has held various leadership positions in these sectors. In the commodities and FMCG industries, Ram served as GM of Business Development for southern India, where he successfully established new businesses and expanded existing ones. In the software industry, he was Regional Director of Business Development for Asia, where he was responsible for expanding the company's presence in the region. Ram has a proven track record of turning around loss-making ventures and establishing successful businesses. Ram has also served as the Director of Industry Partnerships and IT Blog editor at a software company, showcasing his expertise in technology and industry partnerships.

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