Best Practices

  • Standard BD Workflow

    The workflow is used to establish a common business process for all opportunities in the pipeline. It keeps business development and other team members aligned in how they evaluate and make decisions on opportunities and supports accurate reporting. Based on best practices gathered from working with  our clients over the years, Inova has developed the following standard BD workflow:


    Initial Screening: The S&E team picks up a new opportunity and reviews whatever information is available about the company and opportunity pre-CDA, e.g. company presentations, non-confidential package provided by the potential partner,  notes taken during meetings at conferences, publicly available information on the web such as press releases and journal publications. Along with all the rest of the new opportunities, the S&E team runs a triage meeting to decide if they will decline the opportunity or move ahead into a deeper evaluation. Key criteria for them to move forward: Is the opportunity a strategic fit? If S&E decides to move ahead, they sign a CDA with the other company and move to the next stage in the process. In companies with a dedicated S&E group, at this stage, S&E transfer the opportunity to the BD team for the confidential evaluation.

    Confidential Evaluation: With the CDA in hand, the BD team now has more information about the opportunity including test/clinical trials results, efficacy/drug safety data, market fit, and company financials. In this deep dive, the team checks whether the opportunity is feasible financially, market-wise, and competition-wise. Based on the results of the analysis, the team meets to decide whether to move the opportunity into Due Diligence. The team may also draft an initial version of the term sheet.         

    Due Diligence: This is an extensive effort in which the BD team--or a separate Due Diligence team--gets experts to investigate, do analysis, review documentation, and provide input about the opportunity in specific areas: Scientific expertise, investment / forecasting (finance), IP infringements / investigation (legal). The goal is to identify risks or red flags. Participating experts are primarily internal but can include people external to the company, such as consultants. These experts will share documents and respond to specific questions about the opportunity that are related to their area of expertise. At the end of the process, the team will meet to make a final decision and produce a report with their findings.

    Negotiation: Assuming the outcome of Due Diligence is positive and the decision on both sides is to move forward, the team will work on contract negotiations. This will involve the BD team as well as legal, finance, and the transaction team who will draft the agreement.  If the term sheet was created early in the process and the due diligence stage revealed some details that could impact those terms, then the agreement would include any changes or amendments to reflect this new information.

    Contracting: In the last stage of the process, the agreement will be finalized by both parties and signed. This is often also the point at which the BD team will begin transferring information about the opportunity to the alliance management team, who will take over once the final agreement is signed.

    If you have any questions or would like to implement this workflow on your platform to benefit your business development organization, contact your Inova Customer Success Manager. 

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  • Triage Meeting

    The triage meeting is a regularly-scheduled session in which the business development or S&E team decides on whether or not to move new opportunities in their pipeline from initial screening to a confidential review. As Inova users, you can take advantage of tools in the application to apply best practices in preparing for, running, and conducting follow-ups for this meeting. The results will be better sharing and tracking of information about these opportunities among your team members, more efficient and effective decision-making, and quicker follow-ups.

    The triage meeting use case is divided into three basic steps: Before, during, and after the meeting itself. The main tools used are the meetings module, the Opportunity One-Pager, lister features, email templates, and the document manager.

    Step 1: Before the meeting

    1. Create a meeting with a type of internal and name the meeting “Triage meeting – [DATE]”.
    2. Link the names of the meeting participants in the Attendees tab.
    3. From the Opportunities list, link the meeting to all the opportunities that will be discussed:
        1. Add the Meetings column to the Opportunities list.
        2. Use filtering and sorting to narrow the list down to the opportunities to be triaged in that meeting, e.g. active opportunities created within the last month under a specific therapeutic area.
        3. Use the Edit Page feature to link your triage meeting to each opportunity.
      Save time for future triage meetings by creating a Triage Meeting template view of these lister settings. Be sure to include the columns for status changes, comments and next steps (this will come in handy later, as you'll see in Step 3 below).
    4. Share the list of opportunities for everyone to review and prepare before the meeting begins:
        1. Export the list from step 3.2 to Excel OR filter the Opportunity One-Pager dashboard by this new triage meeting and export it to PowerPoint. 
        2. Upload the Excel or PPT file to the document manger of the triage meeting.
        3. On the attendees tab of the meeting record, use the Email All feature to send the file to everyone.
      To keep things clear for meeting attendees who are not users of the platform, use a designated email template, "Triage Meeting Prep."

    Step 2: During the meeting

    1. Designate one of the attendees as the note-taker or scribe and have them project Inova to the conference room screen. 
    2. In the Opportunities list, filter the list by the current triage meeting. 
    3. Right-click the name of each opportunity to open it in a separate browser tab for review. 
    4. As you discuss each opportunity, edit its status, comments, etc. as needed. 
      If the opportunity is configured with a Description and Next Steps field, cut and paste any previous text from Next Steps into the Description field, then enter comments from the triage meeting into Next Steps. 
      To avoid system timeouts, don’t use the Edit Page feature to make these kinds of changes. Update each opportunity one at a time. 
    5. If an opportunity passes triage, update the Initial Screening stage in the workflow to Completed.

    Step 3: After the meeting

    1. Export the list of updated opportunities to Excel. 
    2. Upload the file to the document manager of the triage meeting record.
    3. Use the Email All feature on the attendees list to send this updated list to the meeting participants.
      As mentioned in Step 1 above, you can use another designated email template, this time called “Post-triage Follow-ups.”

    If you have any questions or would like to implement these best practices with your business development team, contact your Inova Customer Success Manager. 

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