Confidentiality is a Potential Pitfall
Dr. Magid Abou-Gharbia, FRSC, Director Moulder Center for Drug Discovery Research
Drug development/manufacturing projects between pharma companies and CDMOs are based on mutual trust and a focus on success. What do the outsourcing partners have to do in order to maintain their focus and guarantee confidentiality in their projects during a merger or the following integration phase?
Magid Abou-Gharbia: Mergers certainly bring the risk of lost focus and a chance for confidential information to become compromised. The temporary loss of job security that comes with any merger inevitably leads to a loss in productivity. To overcome this problem supervisors and project leaders must remember that they are professionals and are still bound by contractual obligations. They must take an even greater and more detailed day-to-day oversight role to insure that projects continue to progress. Confidentiality is another potential pitfall during a merger.
Acquiring or merging partners do not wish for any newly generated confidential information to be revealed to employees who are destined for outplacement and some currently engaged contractors may not wish for their projects or confidential information to be shared with the acquiring or merging partner. To combat both the loss in productivity and risk of sharing new confidential information with employees who will be outplaced the Merger Team must move quickly, making job decisions in a timely manner. In a perfect world these details would already be worked out before the merger is announced so that they can be acted upon quickly. To avoid the sharing of unwilling contractors' confidential information, many big Pharma companies have employed what is refer to as the ”Clean Teams". These teams are made up of external expert consultants who had extensive Pharma experience in their earlier career. These teams are "neutral" to the merger and are bound by strict confidentiality. Often they are used to objectively evaluate projects for two merging partners and make go/no go recommendations, but such teams can also be employed to act as a filter for evaluating and deciding what confidential information can be provided to an acquiring or merging partners